Should everyone be entitled to a basic income? | The Tylt

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Automation will destroy a huge number of jobs as robots and A.I. become ubiquitous across industries. Some leaders of the tech community worry automation will effectively render work obsolete for many. A basic income is needed to address the fact that thousands will be unemployed and without opportunities to find employment. Others think a basic income is a bad way to fight poverty and new kinds of jobs will be created to make up for the loss. What do you think?

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Tech leaders say automation will affect a huge number of industries, many of them ones we would not expect. The normal tools typically used to address economic change, like welfare and retraining, are not enough to address what automation will do to the economy.

But advancements in artificial intelligence are intensifying this debate. In Silicon Valley, there are lots of experiments in automation. There's the robot at Lowe's home improvement store in Sunnyvale, Calif., that checks inventory. There's the "robot butler" working at a hotel in Cupertino. And then there's Uber, which is experimenting with driverless taxis and trucks.
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"And that would affect 3.5 million truck drivers, another 5 million people who support the truck-driving industry," Chellam says. "And that's just one example of automation." Chellam says software is eating white-collar jobs, too, and everyone from bookkeepers to doctors and lawyers will be affected.
Supporters of a universal basic income believe automation will be a fundamental shift in how humans work and use their time. 
Chellam believes as technology replaces more workers, the traditional 40-hour-a-week job could become a thing of the past. If that happens, how will families get health insurance or save for retirement? Some experts say the only answer is a government-guaranteed paycheck that would allow people to buy food and housing. That would not only help the individuals but would help keep economic wheels spinning and generate tax revenues.
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The biggest problem with universal basic income is cost. U.S. history shows Americans have little appetite for the levels of taxation necessary to make basic income possible.

Its first hurdle is arithmetic. As Robert Greenstein of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put it, a check of $10,000 to each of 300 million Americans would cost more than $3 trillion a year.Where would that money come from? It amounts to nearly all the tax revenue collected by the federal government. Nothing in the history of this country suggests Americans are ready to add that kind of burden to their current taxes. Cut it by half to $5,000? That wouldn’t even clear the poverty line. And it would still cost as much as the entire federal budget except for Social Security, Medicare, defense and interest payments.

Worse yet, basic income would circumvent the personalization that current forms of welfare give. If everything works as it should, the neediest get more, and those who are better off get less. The social safety net must be fixed, but a basic income is not a magic bullet. 

A universal income divorces assistance from need. Aid is fixed, regardless of whatever else is going on. If our experience with block grants serves as precedent, it is most likely to become less generous over time.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
To libertarians this will sound more like a feature than a flaw, but replacing everything in the safety net with a check would limit the scope of government assistance in damaging ways. Say we know the choice of neighborhood makes a difference to the development of poor children. Housing vouchers might lead them to move into a better one. A monthly check would probably not.
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FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should everyone be entitled to a basic income?
A festive crown for the winner
#BasicIncomeNow
#MustWorkForIncome