Universal Basic Income: Some of what you need to know.
I’ve been asked a couple of times about my thoughts concerning UBI, or Universal Basic Income.
This will be a short version of a video I am working on currently. (Release date currently unknown.) So to get started, UBI as I will approach it will be based solely on the premise that everyone will get an equal base income to cover the cost of basic living expenses.
I will not get into the various ways this can be funded. Sometimes UBI is invoked through government funding directly ranging from direct deposit payments under traditional tax laws to a Fair Tax Style system of collections and payments to specialty taxes on specific large businesses to holding every business accountable in a similar manner done with the implementation of minimum wage laws. These are filled with unnecessary details and will not help in the present understanding of UBI cons and why UBI doesn’t actually address the problem it is meant to solve.
Universal Basic Income is a system where everyone is paid at least some kind of flat living expense to offset the natural state of poverty. This sounds fantastic! However, one must understand a few things first.
-What is wealth?
-What is poverty?
-What prevents people today from getting out of poverty?
These three questions alone require study before the average individual begins to recognize the devastating cons of UBI. So to move onto one, wealth is any good, service or idea which is capable of satisfying one or more of the four basics of life; sustenance, shelter security and happiness. Wealth has value because of what it does for the human condition. It allows the continuance of human life and its improvement of such continuance.
Wealth can be divided up into two separate categories; real and artificial. Real wealth of course is that which can directly through consumption or use satisfy the needs for sustenance, shelter, security, and happiness. Food to consume and fuel your body is one kind of wealth. A table and chair, to sit at while eating making such a task more comfortable, is a different kind of wealth. A house with weather proofing and good strong walls is another kind of wealth which serves the purpose of a cave but with greater comforts.
Then there is artificial wealth. This kind of wealth is typically useful in the exchange of real wealth because it is accepted in general knowledge of a society to be good for future trades. All artificial wealth is money, currency, and credits of some kind. All real wealth has the potential to be used as artificial wealth; but no artificial wealth such as fiat currency can be real wealth. This is why gold is considered to be real money, real wealth.
Gold has value other than for exchange. In the beginning of its usage, it was rare, impossible to duplicate, finite (more or less), and held value for at least one other purpose, esthetics. Today gold is useful in many more things ranging from machinery, to electronics, healthcare, and fashion.
Wealth is what we strive to acquire in order to maintain and improve the quality of our lives. We are born in a natural state of poverty. We have nothing. Our parents or guardians have something; but we have nothing but what they allot us. So the struggle for life begins on the charity or desire to improve the lives of our parents or guardians through happiness or achieving a life goal of sorts, such as a legacy or family tree because of pride or whatever the heart fancies.
All morality from religious purposes and others than to exclusively maintain and improve the lives of the parent at hand aside, there are no other reasons to bring a child into the world currently. Those are it. We procreate and children happen sometimes. And yes, I am not taking into account the ingrained genetic need to reproduce, only the conscious self aware side which can be reasoned with.
Given that wealth is a construct of Humanity to show to others a reason of claim over something else desired by others to maintain and or improve the quality of human life, if everyone has the ability to be granted a portion of wealth, be it real or artificial, to survive, who creates this wealth that makes everyone equal?
If everyone doesn’t produce a portion of wealth that is equal in value to what others produce and render unto the communal stockpile and are given back a portion equal to what everyone else is given, how is that fair?
Not counting the sick or physical or mentally incapable, just the lazy who will inevitably slip through the cracks of enforcement, how is UBI fair?
Sure a similar case can be made against the current system, yet we should look at that too. Under the current ‘system’ is a government for every single reasonable living space on Earth. With these governments are taxes. And with taxes are the unintended consequences of economic restrictions. These restrictions come in the form of mandatory refinement of one’s time, intellect, and labor to produce or acquire the wealth necessary to satisfy imposed tax debts.
Regardless of whether these tax debts are in the form of whiskey, gold, or fiat currency makes little difference. The fact of the matter is that economically speaking all eventually gets funneled through a single tube vetted by government. This act often takes a portion of the real wealth converted presently in the form of artificial and lowering the ability of the wealth creator / earner to provide for himself.
Take the tax issues of the 1840s, 50s, and 60s for example in the United States. The tariffs imposed upon importers affect only those, right? No really.
If the federal government wants gold coins exclusively then the importers must trade enough of their goods for gold and or exchange what wealth they do get into gold to satisfy their tax debts or have their ability to move goods halted with deadly force potentially. This means that if enough goods are not traded for gold that the importers will need to exchange what wealth they did acquire in trade for gold. That is an extra step.
The time, intellect, and labor spent doing that could have been used doing other things. Additionally, if they are savvy they will not take the hit on their imports. They will pass that along to the consumer. They may not pass all of it along in order to stay competitive with local producers, but they will at least pass some of it on.
This means that now either the consumers or the both now have less wealth in to maintain and improve the quality of their lives. And now comes the point where someone chimes in and states that government taxes provide benefits to all in the jurisdiction it provides. True; but it has an unrecognized wasteful side to it.
In the case of government expenditures, a road can be created and not used very much but maintained. This kind of waste does not benefit people who do not use it. Therefore, whatever justifications of expenditures are induced typically serve to consume wealth more than to refine it as a means of providing services and goods.
All of the taxmen must be paid. All of the legislatures must be paid. All of the middle men must be paid. And then there is the fickle and irresponsible notion clinging to the nonchalant spending attitude of everyone disconnected with the creation of the wealth being collected as taxes. None ever truly spend the collected taxes with the same sentiment as the soul which produced the wealth from nothing in the first place.
In a series of exchanges where goods and services are provided to exchanges or make possible the exchange of different goods and services, only that which is necessary to make things transpire is employed. And when things become obsolete or wasteful, in time the participating members of such transactions make adjustments which do not require the wasteful expenditures.
This means that people living two thousand miles away are not paying for a bridge or road they don’t use. EVER!
Now consider the talk about the federal government’s military spending? How much for missiles? Thousands, if not millions of dollars is what each costs. What about all the spying and communications taps with data collected and sitting there? That’s wasteful. It’s also an act of aggression that would not otherwise be tolerated by people in making trades without something in exchange, like ‘free’ social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
These organizations collect our data in exchange and sell it per various user agreements we accept. We do this willingly because the benefit typically outweighs the negative. At least that we can see and understand in some cases.
But in the case of government, there is no opting out. It is mandatory. We must feed it or sacrifice specific living conditions. We can chose to live off the grid and not pay taxes, if we can find an area that doesn’t levy land property taxes. But no matter what, even if the taxes are levied against importers and the total tax collected is barely a percent of the income generated by the importers, the waste is there.
People’s lives are still being put at risk. Instead of one in five it may be one in twenty thousand. But no matter it is still a life that should not have to be put at risk so something inefficient can be maintained.
These destructive acts amplified 100 fold and again and again are what create the unequal opportunity to maintain and improve the quality of live for so many today. Regulations after regulations make it seemingly impossible for those whom do not understand legal speak in order to maneuver around the systems of government red tape.
This waste and denial of being able to own a plot of land without paying rent in the form of taxes, build a shelter without paying permit fees and legally required inspections, and growing your own crops to sell without further regulation compliance and costs, and having to pay taxes on top of equipment already owned to continue using it at all is what makes possible the notion of UBI seem to appealing.
The problem is not the nature of people being stingy and greedy and horribly selfish. The barrier to economic freedom is people being forced into corners to comply with economically inefficient means to maintain and improve the quality of their own lives. This has nothing to do with the shortfalls of ‘capitalism’. This has everything to do with the introduction and maintenance of violence and coercion into otherwise peaceful exchanges.
No matter the noble intent of taxation, the threat of violence is there for noncompliance. This is the scourge of Humanity. The introduction of violence and coercion is the culprit. This has nothing to do with people freely and peacefully and voluntarily exchanging goods, services, and ideas. So the notion that Universal Basic Income is something positive for Humanity is actual just the advocacy of a centralized planning system.
In fact, UBI will require a centralized system in place similar to government. The only difference is that everyone will be required to be equally looked down upon. UBI is not necessary. What is necessary is the recognition of how much economic freedom is destroyed by the continuance of practicing taxation.
Under government there is no guarantee that everyone will be okay. Without government there is no guarantee that everyone will be okay. However, without government people will be able to take care of themselves without the worry of a centralized system threatening them with loss of freedom for not complying with measures that are touted as being for their own good.
So naturally the comeback will be about how people will be at the mercy of gangs and local thugs. Well, without government people will also be able to defend themselves in the moment without fear of retribution from government claiming they didn’t need to murder anyone refusing to listen to reason in the moment. This will also free up so much wealth and time, intellect, and labor for all involved in the court proceedings to exonerate the accused murdered for improper self defense.
The point is that people will be held responsible for their own actions in a culture or society that does not monopolize the use of violence to solve problems or disputes. People will learn to be naturally careful of what they say and do when the result could be the loss of their life. Certainly accidents will still happen. People will just be that much more careful.
So what is my take on Universal Basic Income?
Unnecessary when we remove the violence, that is government and taxation, from our lives and choose to recognize the purpose of peace; which is to grant security in knowledge that others are willing to respect the value we place on our lives as we are reciprocating to encourage their production of real wealth for their benefit and ours through non-combative trade.
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