Momentum is growing for guaranteed income
March 30, 2024 10:06 PM   Subscribe

A legislator in Illinois, USA, has proposed giving certain categories of people $1,000 monthly on a continuing basis. That is the boldest plan for guaranteed income in the U.S. since 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s idea to give everyone $1K each month.

Guaranteed income could take any of a number of forms, including universal basic income, aka UBI; negative income tax; or various state or federal tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit.

The idea has a long history. It was even supported by President Nixon. Now, more mayors and counties are getting aboard.

More than 60 percent of poll respondents support the federal government “providing monthly cash payments of $500 or $1000 to all adult citizens who make below their community’s median income.”

There are more and more test programs, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, even focused on the homeless.

A couple of longer-running programs are the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and GiveDirectly’s experiment in Kenya.

There’s even a research center. And a movie!

Previously (1, 2).
posted by NotLost (53 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Every dollar of UBI will end up in higher rents in the end.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=1jjA1

to fix the economy, we've got to fix housing. Our cousins in Canada and Australia no doubt are in increasing agreement on this point now.
posted by torokunai at 11:10 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


I suspect the only way this will ever pass is if other benefits (SNAP, etc.) are reduced by an equal or larger amount, especially in Red states. And rents will go up anyway. I'm a pessimist at the moment, so I think it will be a net loss for the poor and we'll still have the housing crisis.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 3:20 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


@torokunai, I think you are misreading the graph that you posted. It indicates that an approximately constant percentage of income goes to rent*, not that every dollar earned goes to rent.

* caveat, caveat, caveat
posted by Balna Watya at 4:55 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Buehler said there could be unintended consequences, like reducing work productivity and more.

“For regardless of immigration status, I think an unintended consequence could be a flood of migrants coming to Illinois looking for benefits and not having to work for it,” he said.

Giving corporations tax breaks, sports stadiums, and PPP "loans" is different because "It's classy when the rich do it."
posted by AlSweigart at 5:07 AM on March 31 [31 favorites]


Exciting news! As for concerns about migrants seeking the gravy train. My IL city has a hole punched out of its city limits so that a certain giant macaroni corporation didn't have to pay any taxes at all when it showed up like a beggar on our streets.

If they'd pay half the taxes they rightfully owe, we'd have enough to move lots of people up over the poverty line. And that's another point these idiot conservatives miss: they are terrified by crime yet unwilling to reduce it by reducing the main driver, no matter how easy that may be. It's getting harder to avoid ascribing to evil that which can be explained by stupidity.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:19 AM on March 31 [30 favorites]


This is a great idea and I'm excited Illinois is pursuing it. I'm already tired of the naysaying. What the hell is wrong with trying it? People are hurting out there.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:46 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Momentum is growing for guaranteed income

When you're just above zero, you can really only go up.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:48 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Chicago used some of our Federal covid money to run a $500/month pilot program between 2022-2023.

$500 a month let people do things like pay off bills, fix their credit, go from working 3 jobs to 2 jobs. It didn't fix anyone's life, but it made a lot of lives better.

I haven't read every single item to come out from the pilot, but I was super excited when it was announced in 2021 and I've been following the story since. The only negative things I have heard have been hand wringing from people who don't pay their fair share of tax about how this will cost the taxpayers millions.

Real Estate Transfer Tax measure failed to be voted in March 2024; Progressive Income Tax failed to be voted in November 2020

I don't have a lot of hope for a guaranteed income measure to actually pass here, but it would sure be nice.
posted by phunniemee at 5:53 AM on March 31 [18 favorites]


I'm betting it didn't fix anyone's life because $500 is too low.

The best way to fix poverty is to give people money.

The covid fed handouts were INCREDIBLE for me. When that officially was over, I felt so sad. Those and the unemployment money my husband received were the only help offered during the pandemic and it made a HUGE difference and I am not super hard on my luck and have a good (if somewhat low paying for my industry) job.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:06 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


torokunai Well, obviously fixing housing would be a great thing, but I have the feeling you'd get even more pushback on that than on a UBI.

To actually fix housing we'd need to

1 - Prohibit corporate entities from owning any single family dwellings at all

2 - Prohibit individuals from owning more than, at absolute most, one house per city

3 - Convert existing corporate ownership of apartments into resident owned non-profits

4 - Nuke all the NIMBY shit from orbit and have Federal laws overriding local zoning for things like allowing build up around transit nexi, allowing multi-family dwellings, etc

Just giving people some extra money is going to be a LOT easier to do and that's not going to be easy at all.
posted by sotonohito at 6:24 AM on March 31 [18 favorites]


How many studies can we have where there were positive outcomes and yet UBI is not introduced permanently? I am tired of these studies. UBI works for those who need it and it shouldn't fucking matter if everyone gets UBI. I am so sick of the rhetoric about how we can't let anyone have nice things because someone might abuse the system. Like, at this point UBI studies are cruel because it is so temporary and they change nothing.

I posted about the civil action lawsuit against the Ontario government when they cut short a UBI study that was proving successful in helping people live lives of dignity. I hope they win and hold the provinicial government to task. For politicians, this is a joke, and for those in the study, it's a matter of life and well, maybe not death, but preventable negative outcomes.
posted by Kitteh at 6:34 AM on March 31 [27 favorites]


I suspect the only way this will ever pass is if other benefits (SNAP, etc.) are reduced by an equal or larger amount, especially in Red states.

I don't know what it's like where you live, but here the food stamp benefits are shamefully low. I have a family member who is disabled and has no income source other than their various benefits. Without food banks (and support from family members), they would starve -- their monthly food stamp amount doesn't even cover a week of food for one person. (During the pandemic it was much higher, but of course that was discontinued.) So unless the UBI was a really tiny amount, it's going to be an improvement on what people are getting currently.

Personally I'd be in favor of some form of UBI that simply gives it to everyone (like the Alaska Permanent Fund does) rather than being means-tested, just because I think that would build broad support for the idea rather than the "my hard-earned tax dollars are being taken to fund some lazy low-life" criticism that cash payments just to the poor inevitably bring.

The Alaska fund is disbursed in a single payment shortly before Christmas (about $1300 last year), so it directly generates a lot of immediate economic activity. It's maybe not quite so directly comparable to the idea of large monthly payments that are intended to support people throughout the year. But it certainly proves that it can be done within the US system.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:00 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


I suspect the only way this will ever pass is if other benefits (SNAP, etc.) are reduced by an equal or larger amount, especially in Red states.

I'm sorry, it would have to be federal because red states just aren't going to do this.
posted by Selena777 at 7:12 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


From a street level perspective (heh) this is about what my very handicapped girlfriend was getting in disability, and we both considered her extremely lucky to receive that much.

12k is more than enough for someone like me to live off of, and having it guaranteed would be a huge burden lifted from my life.


And yeah, any means testing or requirements are going to be so cruel and punishing that Republicans are going to be able to deny everything but the absolute most obvious cases that successfully jump through the flaming hoops of razor wire. It's insane how cruel they are, but it is of course the point. Can't actually help people, that's against God's will or some other bigotry bullshit.
posted by Jacen at 7:20 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


The gap between executive pay increase %s and worker pay raise %s is a serious problem, massively increased taxation on incomes over 500,000 (or an appropriate number) and UBI would help. Or just blanket fix it.

We currently have the highest proportion of people each year dying from despair related issues.. That graph is a) probably missing things like dubiously labeled "deaths by misadventure" and b) ends before 2020 . This is the increase after 2020, but leaving out pre-2000 rates.

We solve despair with money, Reagan era and neoliberal policies must be destroyed to save lives and start to turn the country around.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:43 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Slackermagee, I think a case would need to be built for the public that direct payments to at risk people would "solve" suicide and substance abuse related deaths.
posted by Selena777 at 7:50 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The gap between executive pay increase %s and worker pay raise %s is a serious problem, massively increased taxation on incomes over 500,000 (or an appropriate number) and UBI would help. Or just blanket fix it.

I'd like to see a return towards mid-twentieth century personal and corporate tax rates. Then we could use all that revenue to fund research and development programs, fund anti-poverty programs, fund education from preschool up through university, fund the arts....

I recognize that this is a total fantasy and won't be happening in the foreseeable future, but it would have so many benefits.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:54 AM on March 31 [15 favorites]


“For regardless of immigration status, I think an unintended consequence could be a flood of migrants coming to Illinois looking for benefits and not having to work for it,” he said.

Those immigrants, so lazy, so stealing all our jobs....
posted by trig at 8:01 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Strange how giving everyone $1000 monthly is a consideration but not putting that amount of money into funding education and schools.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:16 AM on March 31


This is a great idea and I'm excited Illinois is pursuing it. I'm already tired of the naysaying. What the hell is wrong with trying it?

This is a WONDERFUL idea, and there's nothing wrong with trying it, and THEN tweeking it to make it even better! If you make less than $100k you should absolutely have this benefit. And I think $100k is so absolutely risible to use as a cutoff. A thousand to them is 1% of their income, not inconsiderable, but certainly not more than a small percentage of a coffee habit. A thousand to me would be a life changer. A thousand to someone in poverty would be a life saver. Why give it to those with a $100k? Because otherwise the bleating, puling and whining would be overwhelming.

But we all know that even if it does work, and it beenabsolutely proven to work, the next iteration of asshat white republicans will cut it. How many places and times has that happened already? I don't see so much naysaying here as discouragement and despair that nothing, nothing will be allowed to change in this society that hates anyone other than white conservatives and worships capitalism, corporations and the rich.

People are hurting out there.
YES. The rich don't give a shit. The middle half are indifferent, or mostly just trying to keep their heads down and get along* and the poor can do nothing.

*I'm in this group, and alternate being ashamed, overwhelmed, afraid, and in despair that nothing will ever change.

Poverty, homelessness, the mega rich, the lack of social concern for our people--including poor education, no or shitty health care, the lack of food and shelter, is a blight on our society and makes our 'humanity' suspect.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:45 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


> It indicates that an approximately constant percentage of income goes to rent*, not that every dollar earned goes to rent.

true of course. Just demonstrates the longstanding pricing power landlords enjoy since we use rents as a sorting mechanism in this country.

Whether $x month of truly UBI would push up rents a•$x is an interesting theoretical discussion. It has been argued that this extra income would also enable people to move away from areas with more demand that supply and over time this income flow would aid in developing these marginal areas.

Arbys and Taco Bell have raised their prices on my usual order to over $20 so I've stopped going there now. People can't limit or withhold patronage like that from their LL, other than by taking on more roommates I guess.

Top 10% is going to continue beating money out of the lower quintiles with or without UBI:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=1jkmR

posted by torokunai at 8:51 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I find it strange how UBI should be so politically controversial and yet utterly accepted in the worlds of Monopoly and Pocket Money.
posted by rongorongo at 8:56 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Bluehorse - is that $100k monthly income? I think the proposal here is $1k/month, or 8.3% of the person making $100k a year's monthly income. Certainly still a substantial boost that would be welcome for nearly everyone in the bracket I imagine.

I'm torn on UBI. The studies seem to show it helps. Without modifying the rest of the system however I'm with the people who think it means rent will go up to match.
posted by jellywerker at 9:12 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


As one point of empirical observation: rents in Canada went up after the pandemic CERB benefit ended, not (any more than usual inflation in housing) while people were still getting monthly payments. My personal observation is that this seemed to be in part a backlash by landlords against the tenant organizing and increase in tenants' political power that occurred earlier in the pandemic. Landlords absolutely value maintaining power over tenants more than specific at least short-term financial considerations, in my 20 years of observing the major landlord lobby group in my province. It's definitely an issue that wouldn't magically be solved by a UBI, but also the link between UBI and rental inflation is a little more complex and indirect, if what I've read from the numerous pilot projects is accurate. In particular, a UBI doesn't necessarily increase or impact tenant political power, so would not necessarily generate the same sort of backlash from landlords.

(The relatively apolitical nature of most UBI projects and their lack of building working class power is the thing that, if anything, gives me pause about the idea. But that's neither here nor there, and the data seem to be pretty clear that UBI helps people.)
posted by eviemath at 9:25 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Has it ever been implemented on a large enough scale where a response from landlords would be expected to take place?
posted by Selena777 at 9:29 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Well, Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay together include a fair chunk of people (579,200 + 102,159 + 110,172 + 20,713 = 812,244), though not all were part of the Ontario Basic Income pilot project. Here's a list of other basic income pilot projects with number of people receiving the income for some cases. Here's another map and list.

Keep in mind that the current financialization or concentration of rental housing in the hands of national-scale corporations is fairly recent. Maybe as recently as five years ago, for example, the majority of rental housing in my province was held by a handful of corporations that operated at the provincial scale - similar concentration of ownership, but if we had had a UBI pilot in our major city or in a handful of our secondary population centres at the same time, that would have impacted enough of the renters to make a difference in purchasing power. I'm less familiar with other provinces, but my understanding is that they had similar situations where UBI pilot projects were tried. In the US, the switch to less local corporate landlords happened a bit sooner, but some of the older pilot projects would have occurred when ownership of especially affordable housing stock was a bit more local (though still concentrated among a relatively small number of locally-big landlords - that was baked into North America from European colonization onward). However, having a cutoff for who receives the basic income while giving recipients enough to put them into competition with middle earners for non-slum housing does seem like a potentially useful strategy - albeit investing more in public and co-op housing simultaneously would be even better.
posted by eviemath at 9:59 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


There's plenty of research on the impact of minimum wage increases on rent, and general sense I've got over the years is "Yes, but probably not more than a quarter on the dollar." But the portability of UBI is huge. The vast majority of min-wage jobs are on-site, but your UBI moves with you. Seasonal work, caregiving for a family member, freelancing, living in the house you inherited in a rural town without jobs - there are a TON of economic strategies that instantly get much more feasible.

(Ditto universal healthcare, obviously)
posted by McBearclaw at 10:03 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


It would probably be useful to look at historical impacts on rents of minimum wage legislation, or major strikes that led to wage increases for workers. Especially earlier in the industrial era, when there would have been a limited number of both major employers and major landlords in a given town. Though historically (as with some current organizing such as Parkdale Organize), working class people didn't differentiate as much between labour organizing at their workplace versus tenant organizing in their neighborhoods. There was a clear connection when their employer and their landlord were one and the same, of course, but even when that was not the case, working class folks have always noted the connection between wage and rent exploitation.

On previous: also what McBearclaw said.
posted by eviemath at 10:06 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I'll add: means-testing is like building in the dial that subsequent governments will use to ratchet down the benefit. Much better to just recoup it from high earners with tweaks to income tax brackets. Once it hits seniors' accounts, the AARP will make sure it sticks.
posted by McBearclaw at 10:11 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


I suspect the only way this will ever pass is if other benefits (SNAP, etc.) are reduced by an equal or larger amount, especially in Red states.

...by making participation contingent on political approval at the individual state level you might be able to kneecap an entire generation of GOP scum. A bunch of them would loudly decline to participate, obviously, but if you made a big enough stink about it (I dunno, forcibly reminding everyone at every chance -- like maybe even put a checkbox on their taxes saying "Did your State approve participation in UBI, Yes/No?") you might be able to motivate sufficient fury over a couple of years to enact change.

Force them to confront their cognitive dissonance, on a regular basis. This has been done in the past, but IMO not nearly enough effort was expended on constantly hassling people about the stupid choice their Governor made. Kinda like how you can still find people grumbling about "goddamn socialized medicine" while simultaneously demanding nobody touch their Medicaid benefits. Shoulda put a requirement on Medicaid forms saying "Do you realize this is a form of socialized healthcare, Yes/No?" then make them file a statement saying "I agree to receive socialized healthcare benefits" every single goddamn year unless they're in a state that approved Medicaid expansion.
posted by aramaic at 10:12 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


(* It hasn't come up here yet, but to clarify, since this usually comes up in discussions I've had in other forums: the majority of landlords are still small landlords where I live. But the small landlords rent out a second apartment in their home or own one extra income property, while the big landlords own lots and lots and lots. So the significant majority of rental units are owned by a small number of big landlords, and thus they are able to drive the economics of the rental housing market in a fairly oligopolistic way. There are small towns in my province where the major corporations haven't bothered to buy up properties yet, but a similar concentration of ownership is preserved among more local landlords in most of these cases - eg. quite a few homeowners have an extra rental suite in their home in my town, but the majority of rental units are still owned by a handful of larger local landlords. My impression from other places I've lived and from what I've read is that similar dynamics occur across North America?)
posted by eviemath at 10:14 AM on March 31


> but it will be eaten up by landlords and increased cost of living and no one can ever fix anything because fixing anything requires fixing everything

index it to inflation.

> but that would cause hyperinflation

yes.

> but that's bad right

no, it's a jubilee.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 10:15 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Every dollar of UBI will end up in higher rents in the end.

Absolutely not a problem as long as those bottom feeders in the deepest depths of the economic sump that the money naturally drains into have their assets - not their income - subjected to progressive rates of taxation, so that the rents they charge can keep on being re-injected into the top of the economy as UBI payments instead of being hoarded or used to buy up more assets.

With a properly designed progressive assets tax in place, beyond a certain accumulation level it would simply become impossible to make money by buying more assets, because the marginal rate of assets tax accrued on the new assets would soak up all the return on investment they generate.

Just building houses isn't enough. In order to stop every country in the world devolving into a small collection of huge slums surrounding the walled estates where rich families live, wealth needs to be distributed more equitably. Those who control the lion's share of the assets need to be paying the lion's share of taxes, and a big part of what those taxes pay for should be a non-means-tested and therefore administratively trivial UBI.

Truly wealthy families have many many ways to reclassify increases in their wealth as Not Income, which is why they pay so little on what they gain every year compared to everybody who actually works for a living, but hiding real estate can't be done! It's right there where everybody can see it, and anybody can also easily tell who owns it because that's who is calling the cops on the squatters.
posted by flabdablet at 10:29 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


> but that would cause hyperinflation

The cause of hyperinflation is governments trying to fund their ongoing expenditures by issuing additional money while also doing nothing to redress egregious misallocation of productive assets.

If the wealthiest families in the land are not getting adequately taxed, then it's their hands in which all that additional money is going to end up, regardless of its face value, because they own the productive assets.

Money is not a resource, unlike land or buildings or machinery or skills; it's a pseudo-resource that's used to determine how control of actual resources is allocated. If a government does anything that increases the wealth of the rich faster than that of the poor, then the effect is to allocate real resources even more preferentially to the rich, which makes everybody else actually poorer regardless of the face value of the currency they now hold.

Margaret Thatcher once opined, in cut-glass tones that brooked no argument, that you can't make a poor person richer by making a rich one poorer. Gives me the absolute shits that almost everybody who heard her say that just nodded along, going "yeah, that makes sense." Because it absolutely doesn't, and you absolutely can.
posted by flabdablet at 11:10 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


It’s possible that UBI can be _a part_ of a wholesale rethink on how we collectively care for people universally. I fear that there are stealth proponents of this who will absolutely use it as an excuse to defund other kinds of government welfare. “Why fund expensive public health care or food access programs when we can just give people money to buy what they need?” That’s just another name for privatizing welfare. That sounds like nightmare.

Rather than hearing about policies, we’ve gotten to a point where I really want to see where leaders stand fundamentally on what rights a human being has by virtue of being alive. Do we deserve to be fed, clothed and healed? Start by defining your ideal safety structures that catch all people, or tell me up front that you don’t care about folks who are poor or unwell.
posted by neuracnu at 11:41 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


“For regardless of immigration status, I think an unintended consequence could be a flood of migrants coming to Illinois looking for benefits and not having to work for it,” he said.

Tell me you've never tried to live on $1000 a month without telling me you've never tried to live on $1000 a month.

I mean, yes, there are places where one can plausibly eat frugally and rent cheaply for that much (there are many other places where you'd have to eat frugally and live in your car/on the street), but nowhere does that kind of income buy leisure or comfort. If you want even the smallest of personal luxuries, you're going to want to supplement that income. I very much doubt there are a lot of people looking to go to Illinois to not work for that kind of money.
posted by jackbishop at 11:53 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


>that almost everybody who heard her say that just nodded along

Throw another one on the thought-terminating cliché pile
posted by torokunai at 12:14 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Hi! I'm going to talk about universal basic income in the context of veterans benefits. It's going to be both inspiring and depressing. Enjoy the ride.

I receive the veteran's equivalent of universal basic income: that is to say, I receive veterans disability benefits which are determined to be "permanent", ie, not expected to improve or change overall over time. That means I don't have to worry about getting re-evaluated, and getting my disability benefits getting taken away, and I get a monthly check every month that I can count on receiving every month until I die.

Many of my peers receive a disability check that is not marked permanent, in that, they live in fear every day of suddenly receiving a letter that says the VA has decided they are no longer disabled and the stable monthly income they have been counting on will disappear or change.

Upon receiving my rating, I began a process that many of you have been along for the ride on, of going to law school. Upon going to law school, I was able to choose to go into law for the public interest, because I don't have to worry about what my salary is going to look like, or if I'm going to have a salary at all. I am currently an active public defender, working as a part time extern for 0$ a month, which I can afford to do, because yep, you guessed it, permanent income. This summer I will be a full time public defender intern for 0$ dollars a month. When I graduate, I will either be hired as a public defender, or go into solo practice doing indigent defense for barely over 0$ a month. The world is greatly improved by this, and it's, again, because of this monthly basic income. And I'm not alone! Many of my permanently disabled peers who do not "work" traditionally spend a lot of their time volunteering their time taking care of other people, or with nonprofits.

My peers of similar disability ratings, but who are not marked "permanent", spend a lot of their time inside their houses, in fear. And tragically, many of them wind up spiraling downwards. Some of them kill themselves when their benefits are taken away or look like they might be. They are afraid to help others or even to plan for the future because they think they might lose what little they have and don't know when it will be taken away.

Which is to say: UBI programs are wonderful, but their utility cannot be fully studied until they are permanent programs, not just 'you get this for a couple years' programs.
posted by corb at 12:52 PM on March 31 [48 favorites]


I believe the real benefit would only be seen with some time. I'm thinking about youth who can consider lots of options, and try different things. With no fear of being flat broke. I suspect the benefits of this may well go beyond simple relief.
posted by Goofyy at 3:51 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


About options, it could also greatly benefit people fleeing bad domestic situations.
posted by NotLost at 4:35 PM on March 31 [11 favorites]


we’ve gotten to a point where I really want to see where leaders stand fundamentally on what rights a human being has by virtue of being alive. Do we deserve to be fed, clothed and healed?

If we have collectively decided that we don't, then I reserve a certain amount of stink eye for the people who chose to put us here.

Choosing to create a human being whom one can confidently predict will be offered less opportunity to live a satisfactory life than one has had oneself is the single most selfish and irresponsible act I can imagine.
posted by flabdablet at 6:16 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


The 'flood of migrants coming in' idea, dogwhistling aside, would probably be a good thing in the long run anyway. People just by existing need goods and services, and will pay for them.
posted by coolname at 8:21 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


They will pay for them if they can find the wherewithal to do so. Under late-stage capitalism / early-stage neofeudalism, that's getting increasingly difficult to do, and not only for immigrants.
posted by flabdablet at 11:48 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


They didn't allow comments on this WaPo article about a DC area program, but they did allow this op-ed that appears to be a response.
posted by Selena777 at 7:41 AM on April 1


Choosing to create a human being whom one can confidently predict will be offered less opportunity to live a satisfactory life than one has had oneself is the single most selfish and irresponsible act I can imagine.

yesterday I ran into a kid I mentored around 8 years ago, now they're 18 and helping to raise the two kids their older brother left behind when he died. I wonder how many kids are completely unplanned and with a start I think of my nephew: unplanned. cripes, I am pretty sure I was unplanned. my parents were sufficient 'planners' that they very deliberately adopted, so I guess my point is: a lot of kids are coming into this world and choice is not the chief factor, necessarily

not speaking to all the other parts of your comment, which: maybe so? but I feel like we are trying to pin this on someone, someone surely is to blame, and it worries me that we're singling out generations ("it's the boomers' fault") etc. and it's just people. hopefully enough of us will collectively make good choices with the information we have
posted by elkevelvet at 12:52 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


There is another problem with UBI, although it's not really with UBI was with our economic system, and that is that there is a lot of monopolization and effective collusion in the US. This is all the way I see it, I haven't gotten it from anyone, but:

It's a variation of the problem with landlords and their power to unilaterally raise people's rent. If there is a visible increase in many people's income, from whatever reason, a lot of companies will decide to raises prices. That's (I would say) why soft drinks, a product that costs very little to produce, have risen in price tremendously since the pandemic, even though there's little reason for it. Store brand soft drink prices at one local grocery chain have doubled in price over the last few years.

Ideally competition between like products in a category would keep prices down, and in highly competitive areas that happens. Soap, I notice, has not risen greatly in price. But the leaders of companies are of a certain mindset, and tend to listen to each other and use the same data sources, and it doesn't help when many large companies have the same people on their boards. I think that their actions and beliefs, even if based on flawed reasoning, play a greater role in inflation than the actual money supply in the US.

I am happy to be corrected on this, if someone can.
posted by JHarris at 1:03 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


The 'flood of migrants coming in' idea, dogwhistling aside, would probably be a good thing in the long run anyway

Illinois the state has lost about 300,000 people in the past 3 years. I'm pretty sure they lost a member of Congress in the last count. A flood of immigrants would be a very good thing.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:38 PM on April 2


It's a variation of the problem with landlords and their power to unilaterally raise people's rent.

IMO, I think the 'raise rent' thing with UBI is a bit overrated, considering that only 35% of the people in the US even rent. But with the extreme credit limitations on those on the lower income scale for a path to ownership, therefore sort of creating a permanent renter class, and the fact that the majority of people in almost every major US city rents (meaning most people don't live in a major US city since again only 36% overall rent), it could have some severe ramifications and has the potential to create lots of pricing power for landlords, eating up UBI for a subset of people.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:44 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Arizona has outlawed UBI.
posted by NotLost at 4:54 PM on April 3


a lot of kids are coming into this world and choice is not the chief factor, necessarily

Exactly! And one of the unfortunate consequences of that very lack of choice is that there will never be a shortage of already existing kids in desperate need of loving, stable parenting. Many people do somehow manage to get it together and make it work, but at least as many don't.

And yet, rather than collectively embracing takes-a-village-to-raise-a-child we end up with an atomized and crushingly narrowly defined notion of family alongside overloaded, underfunded and therefore utterly dysfunctional child "protection" bureaucracies, and foster-care systems rife with perverse incentives and abuse.

In a world of eight billion plus, deliberately choosing to make more people should carry the same whiff of opprobrium as operating a backyard puppy mill instead of patronizing the local no-kill shelter. It won't, though, for as long as human supremacism remains not only acceptable but respectable.

Also, the UBI should be cradle to grave. Nobody should have to wait for their eighteenth birthday before it kicks in. Obviously it's completely impractical for a kid to manage their own income until they're educated enough to do so, which would make some form of parent-operated trust fund the normal way to handle these things, but that shouldn't change the fundamental fact that it is theirs, as of right, from day 1.
posted by flabdablet at 2:19 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


there will never be a shortage of already existing kids in desperate need of loving, stable parenting.

Look. I’m a great parent. I say this not from ego but because my kids keep seeking out other kids and bringing them to me to pseudo adopt, which is to say help give advice and sometimes support when they’re in bad situations which is often.

But there is literally no mechanism for me to take these kids in and actually provide said full time parenting that doesn’t involve the cops beating down my door. Even if the kids want it and I am willing. So like, yes? But also, there’s no way to actually get those kids so if you want to raise kids yes you still have to make/partner into your own.
posted by corb at 5:12 AM on April 4


Ms flabdablet and I have raised three without making any, but I have no reason to doubt that conditions are worse where you live. Which sucks. It shouldn't be like this.
posted by flabdablet at 6:45 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


A statewide pilot has been proposed in Minnesota.
posted by NotLost at 9:03 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


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