Without conditions attached, poverty-related phenomenon such as addiction, truancy, and lack of family planning could get worse.
The easiest and most direct solution is for the government to guarantee that everyone who wants to contribute productively to society is able to earn a decent living in the public sector.
Kevin Hassett, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute who was one of Mitt Romney's lead advisors during his 2012 run, has proposed that the government directly hire the long-term unemployed. This could be implemented by simply paying businesses to bring on more workers, and then phasing the subsidy out over time.
We have considered the political reasons for the opposition to the policy of creating employment by government spending. But even if this opposition were overcome -- as it may well be under the pressure of the masses -- the maintenance of full employment would cause social and political changes which would give a new impetus to the opposition of the business leaders. Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the 'sack' would cease to play its role as a 'disciplinary measure. The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire, and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests. But 'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability' are more appreciated than profits by business leaders. Their class instinct tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the 'normal' capitalist system.Michal Kalecki, "Political Aspects of Full Employment
At Pieria, my study of the Speenhamland system of poor relief, which was actually an experiment in basic income. It was vilified for depressing wages, creating labour shortages, encouraging unsustainable population growth and requiring ever-higher taxes to support it. But as I show in the post, none of these is true. It actually worked well, and the things it was blamed for were largely caused by other factors. But when it was abolished, it was replaced with the cruellest form of welfare ever devised - and it looks ominously as though we may be heading down that same path again.
At Forbes, my discussion of why we need a minimum wage. If we are going to have in-work and out-of-work benefits, and governments are going to try to compel people to work, then a minimum wage is essential to protect taxpayers from rising benefit bills as employers bid down wages. But a basic income that didn't compel people to work would be much better.
At Coppola Comment, my technical discussion of uncertainty and safety in labour markets. The labour market is bifurcated into high-skill workers with safe jobs, and lower-skill (or rather, less marketable) workers with insecure jobs. But high-skill workers don't want or need safe jobs - it is their employers that need them to stay. It is lower-skill workers that need safe jobs, but their employers want to be able to replace them whenever they want. How do we resolve the asymmetric needs of workers and employers? If the relationship of this post to basic income isn't obvious, read the comments. Cig gets it.
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