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  #51  
Old 02-03-2020, 02:23 PM
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According to Yang Welfare and Food Stamps would be reduced as UBI is an Either/Or proposition, a person may not receive both. Details are under the "How would we pay for it" section.

I'd also suggest that, technically, you can't "cheat" with cash, as the government does not presume to tell anyone what to do with their cash. Might someone spend foolishly? Yes, but I'm also not paying for an army of administrators to catch them.
  #52  
Old 02-03-2020, 04:22 PM
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septimus, the universality of UBI is a feature not a bug.

I have personally soured on the entire concept of means tested benefits. Why? Because a certain political party (who shall R emain nameless) decided to claim that people who have legally benefited from these programs are not worthy of earning American citizenship. They weaponized it, so I figure we no longer deserve the luxury of separating out those who need help from those who don't.

UBI, UHC, Living Minimum Wage, Universal Tax Credits or Deductions. You can't call up a list of UBI recipients, to declare them a drain on our economy, because the list is "everyone".
While I'm very far from a UBI enthusiast, this is a good point.
  #53  
Old 02-03-2020, 04:26 PM
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I would hope so. At least until next month. A poster here proposed increasing the frequency of payments so that it was every two weeks or weekly so help eliminate this problem but then there are other budgeting problems.
What if you have kids and you pissed away the money this month? Do the kids get provided for under a welfare program and left with the parents? Provided for and then taken away? Or do you get One More Chance? Does it turn into ten more chances?
  #54  
Old 02-03-2020, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
According to Yang Welfare and Food Stamps would be reduced as UBI is an Either/Or proposition, a person may not receive both. Details are under the "How would we pay for it" section.

I'd also suggest that, technically, you can't "cheat" with cash, as the government does not presume to tell anyone what to do with their cash. Might someone spend foolishly? Yes, but I'm also not paying for an army of administrators to catch them.
1) What do you mean "reduced" food stamps? If everyone gets UBI why is there a need for any food stamps? Further, what do you mean "either/or"? I thought the proposal was UBI for all and all other programs are gone.

2) I stated it inartfully. Yes, I understand that the proposal means that the $1k/month (or whatever different amount) is paid to a person and that person can do what he chooses with the money. However, what if the rent is still due or food needs to be bought or a doctor visit is needed? I meant "cheat" in the sense that the program was supposed to make my last sentence unnecessary as the payment would provide for those things. What if it does not? Tough shit on the person who wasted the money? I am JAQ, but in the good way.
  #55  
Old 02-03-2020, 05:13 PM
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What if you have kids and you pissed away the money this month? Do the kids get provided for under a welfare program and left with the parents? Provided for and then taken away? Or do you get One More Chance? Does it turn into ten more chances?
I don't see how this is substantially different from the status quo.
  #56  
Old 02-03-2020, 05:22 PM
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1) What do you mean "reduced" food stamps? If everyone gets UBI why is there a need for any food stamps? Further, what do you mean "either/or"? I thought the proposal was UBI for all and all other programs are gone.
You even quoted the link that answers this.

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2) I stated it inartfully. Yes, I understand that the proposal means that the $1k/month (or whatever different amount) is paid to a person and that person can do what he chooses with the money. However, what if the rent is still due or food needs to be bought or a doctor visit is needed? I meant "cheat" in the sense that the program was supposed to make my last sentence unnecessary as the payment would provide for those things. What if it does not? Tough shit on the person who wasted the money? I am JAQ, but in the good way.
There is no good way; maybe try making your own arguments instead of asking others to make them for you.
  #57  
Old 02-03-2020, 05:30 PM
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I don't see how this is substantially different from the status quo.
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You even quoted the link that answers this.

There is no good way; maybe try making your own arguments instead of asking others to make them for you.
1) This is supposed to save money by eliminating welfare programs and providing UBI. If we are going to still have these programs like the "status quo" then what have we solved?

2) I'm not reading Yang's entire campaign website to get a fluff answer. If we are just going to create another program and keep the other ones at a "reduced" rate, then count me out.

3) I guess you didn't read that I was asking questions and not making an argument. That seemed to me to be a hole in the "UBI will eliminate welfare and save money" concept. Do you have an answer to this seemingly obvious problem with UBI?

In short, obvious problem that needs addressed by proponents: People will piss the money away. We will not allow them to die in the streets. Therefore we will still have these welfare programs, but now be in the hole $1k month (or whatever other amount) not only to needy people, but to Bill Gates as well.

How will this not happen?

Last edited by UltraVires; 02-03-2020 at 05:30 PM.
  #58  
Old 02-03-2020, 05:41 PM
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Longer thought: The idea makes sense conceptually.

Every person needs food, housing, and health care (to keep it simple). Why have a massive program filled with bureaucrats with a top manager making $500k per year to skim off the top when you could just give the money to people to buy food? Same with housing. Why have another inflated program with more middle managers and coordinators and HR departments and secretaries in air conditioned office buildings to provide poor people with housing? I mean, we are paying the salaries of thousands of people, from which they buy their housing, food, and health care, in order to provide poor people money for housing. Just give poor people money for housing.

Same with health care.

You've convinced me on that point, and I agree. The way the government distributes benefits is horribly inefficient, so why not just give people who need it the money and problem solved? And to cut out this bureaucratic monstrosity, let's not hire people to see who needs it. Everyone gets enough to provide for their basic food, housing, and health insurance. Boom. Done.

I think the first question that should come to anyone's mind in this exercise is my prior question. What happens if despite handing people money for this, they fail to provide for themselves anyways. If we are going to have "reduced" food stamps or housing or health care, then we have to re-hire those same people above to start parceling out the benefits to those who meet the new criteria whether they are children, need drug addiction treatment, other life issues, etc.

Then we are back to square one only now we have the UBI on top of it. What is the way out of that scenario?
  #59  
Old 02-03-2020, 05:46 PM
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I am in favor of UBI, but have two concerns:


1. People who fraudulently register multiple identities, or commit some form of fraud, so as to collect multiple UBI checks - now, for sure, the government would be checking for fraud, but you know this is going to happen;

2. People who purposefully hold the government "hostage" with their lives - say, someone who always deposits his entire monthly UBI check into a 401k (which legally cannot be cashed out until he hits age 59) and then holds out his hands saying, "Hey, I have no money left, you gotta give me some more or else I'll starve."
  #60  
Old 02-03-2020, 07:16 PM
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As to people pissing UBI away: either 1. Why not let them? or 2. You also have the same problem with someone with dementia collecting Social Security--you appoint a guardian to handle the money.

As to people committing identity fraud it's exactly the same problem now and you use the same type methods to combat it. (or even worse now because fraudsters collect benefits from different counties and states).

As to other programs there is a strong case for disability supplements--because there are things they can't do for themselves. With regard to Social Security, no one wants to increase UBI to match top existing benefits or to substantially cut those highest benefits down to a UBI level. I don't believe in housing supplements--if you live in a high priced housing area you can either move or cram together with others. Health care should be universal health insurance--not paid for via UBI.
  #61  
Old 02-03-2020, 07:33 PM
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As to people pissing UBI away: either 1. Why not let them? or 2. You also have the same problem with someone with dementia collecting Social Security--you appoint a guardian to handle the money.
There are several non-sequiturs there to unpack.

1) Why not let them? If that means that they live with the choices they make, then sure. If that means that we will have expensive welfare on top of the super expensive UBI, then that is a good reason not to support UBI. Again, what about the children who are negatively affected by these poor choices?

2) A guardian? Nobody who is, for example, an alcoholic or drug addict or a compulsive gambler would ever be appointed a guardian. It is just not appropriate in those circumstances as this is a free country and unless you are an imminent danger to yourself or others, you can live as destructive of a lifestyle as you want. That puts off the question of what do we do when the money is pissed away? Do we keep the welfare system? If we do, then UBI has not solved anything. If we don't, then what do we do about the news and internet stories of compulsive gamblers and their children dying from starvation? Nothing?

And if the answer is that we keep a "reduced" welfare system around for these people, and assuming that it will defy the track record of every other government program and stay reduced, why can't that system weed out the Bill Gates and Warren Buffetts to save some money?
  #62  
Old 02-03-2020, 11:51 PM
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septimus, the universality of UBI is a feature not a bug.
I did a poor job of explaining my position, because I do understand and agree with this principle.

It's the details that get troublesome. And any "unfairness" will be amplified by the huge size of the program.

Just for starters, it seems the program may actually HURT America's neediest. Is that part of the "beauty" of the idea?

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According to Yang Welfare and Food Stamps would be reduced as UBI is an Either/Or proposition, a person may not receive both. Details are under the "How would we pay for it" section.
Ouch! I didn't study Yang's program in detail(*) but if Food Stamps are gone then, Yes, Yang's program may HURT, not HELP, America's neediest. (* - But the details of Yang's plan are irrelevant. It ain't being enacted any time soon. If/when it is enacted, zillions of man-hours will be spent reviewing the details.)

What about Unemployment Insurance payments? What about Workman's Comp? These aren't "welfare" programs; they're insurances. Will these be eliminated?

Color me Marxist, but "Each should receive according to his needs." Handicapped people need more than others.

Why does an 18-year old get $1000 and a 17-year old get Zero? Does a widow/widower with 3 children really need no more money than one who is childless?

In my system, some of these inequities disappear automatically! Free childcare! Proponents of Yang's plan call it "beautiful" that the single mother has to pay for childcare out of her $1000, but the person with no children gets just as much. Agreed? Is that "beautiful"?

What I find beautiful is the self-regulation in my approach. Wealthy people will have access to the subsidized childcare, but are unlikely to use it.
  #63  
Old 02-04-2020, 06:43 AM
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1) This is supposed to save money by eliminating welfare programs and providing UBI. If we are going to still have these programs like the "status quo" then what have we solved?

2) I'm not reading Yang's entire campaign website to get a fluff answer. If we are just going to create another program and keep the other ones at a "reduced" rate, then count me out.

3) I guess you didn't read that I was asking questions and not making an argument. That seemed to me to be a hole in the "UBI will eliminate welfare and save money" concept. Do you have an answer to this seemingly obvious problem with UBI?

In short, obvious problem that needs addressed by proponents: People will piss the money away. We will not allow them to die in the streets. Therefore we will still have these welfare programs, but now be in the hole $1k month (or whatever other amount) not only to needy people, but to Bill Gates as well.

How will this not happen?
It's an FAQ, not an "entire website." If you don't even know what the plan is, then that makes it mighty hard for you to make a non-zero contribution to a discussion about it. You've spent more time asking to be spoon-fed than it would have taken to fight your own ignorance.

I don't like the plan, but at least I have actual reasons that I'm capable of articulating.
  #64  
Old 02-04-2020, 06:46 AM
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Just for starters, it seems the program may actually HURT America's neediest. Is that part of the "beauty" of the idea?



Ouch! I didn't study Yang's program in detail(*) but if Food Stamps are gone then, Yes, Yang's program may HURT, not HELP, America's neediest. (* - But the details of Yang's plan are irrelevant. It ain't being enacted any time soon. If/when it is enacted, zillions of man-hours will be spent reviewing the details.)
This is incorrect. No study required. Just ctrl-f "stamps".
  #65  
Old 02-04-2020, 07:12 AM
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1) What do you mean "reduced" food stamps? If everyone gets UBI why is there a need for any food stamps? Further, what do you mean "either/or"? I thought the proposal was UBI for all and all other programs are gone.
Clearly you thought wrong. I'll also point out that this isn't my plan, it's Yang's, and his plan suggests a choice be given to people on public assistance (and everyone else I suppose) , either continue in their current welfare program, or receive UBI.

It appears this is to cover the hole in the UBI program mentioned before, where kids don't get anything. A single parent may get more than $1,000 of assistance through means-tested programs, due to the scope of their needs. Giving a choice means this person doesn't get screwed by a switch to UBI. I kind of like this better than the idea of adding kids to UBI, since it limits the perverse incentive of having a kid for the purpose of getting another check each month.
Quote:
2) I stated it inartfully. Yes, I understand that the proposal means that the $1k/month (or whatever different amount) is paid to a person and that person can do what he chooses with the money. However, what if the rent is still due or food needs to be bought or a doctor visit is needed? I meant "cheat" in the sense that the program was supposed to make my last sentence unnecessary as the payment would provide for those things. What if it does not? Tough shit on the person who wasted the money? I am JAQ, but in the good way.
What would a person do if they pissed away their UBI and had their hand out for more? The same thing a person does if they piss away their food stamps. It's tough shit, buddy, you have to wait for your next check. They may get help from someone else, but it's not coming from a Federal Government program, if only because the rules forbid it.
  #66  
Old 02-04-2020, 07:12 AM
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This is incorrect. No study required. Just ctrl-f "stamps".
"stamps" shows up 11 times on this page, so no clue what you are referring to. Cheesesteak and septimus seem to be correct as it does appear to be an either/or proposition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Yang
Current spending: We currently spend between $500 and $600 billion a year on welfare programs, food stamps, disability and the like. This reduces the cost of the Freedom Dividend because people already receiving benefits would have a choice between keeping their current benefits and the $1,000, and would not receive both.
As septimus said:
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Originally Posted by septimus
Ouch!
  #67  
Old 02-04-2020, 07:28 AM
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What about Unemployment Insurance payments? What about Workman's Comp? These aren't "welfare" programs; they're insurances. Will these be eliminated?
I would assume no because they are insurances and are paid into by employers and employees, rather than directly funded by tax dollars.
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Color me Marxist, but "Each should receive according to his needs." Handicapped people need more than others.

Why does an 18-year old get $1000 and a 17-year old get Zero? Does a widow/widower with 3 children really need no more money than one who is childless?
I believe this is why Yang is offering a choice to recipients to remain on the current program or switch to UBI. Your widow with 3 children would see no reduction in her benefits.
Quote:

In my system, some of these inequities disappear automatically! Free childcare! Proponents of Yang's plan call it "beautiful" that the single mother has to pay for childcare out of her $1000, but the person with no children gets just as much. Agreed? Is that "beautiful"?

What I find beautiful is the self-regulation in my approach. Wealthy people will have access to the subsidized childcare, but are unlikely to use it.
I don't see this as a replacement for universal health care or childcare. It's a broader initiative to just take some of the pressure off of the less wealthy.
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Old 02-04-2020, 07:37 AM
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Your widow with 3 children would see no reduction in her benefits. I don't see this as a replacement for universal health care or childcare. It's a broader initiative to just take some of the pressure off of the less wealthy.
Ah, this might be the point that Ruken was making. If so, then it's true that Yang's site claims no reduction in benefits, but I'm not seeing that as lasting. I've always understood one of the arguments for UBI to be the reduction in government bureaucracy surrounding welfare and the like. If people can remain on their current programs, then the bureaucracy would also have to remain.
  #69  
Old 02-04-2020, 07:42 AM
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Nm

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  #70  
Old 02-04-2020, 07:47 AM
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"stamps" shows up 11 times on this page, so no clue what you are referring to. Cheesesteak and septimus seem to be correct as it does appear to be an either/or proposition.
You seem to have sorted it out, but what were you were you even thinking with this post. septimus writes that he hasn't carefully studied the plan. I write that you don't have to study it, just ctrl-f. You somehow think that refers to searching this thread. And then quote the part of the plan that shows I was correct.

Last edited by Ruken; 02-04-2020 at 07:48 AM.
  #71  
Old 02-04-2020, 08:02 AM
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We have highlighted a key problem with the proposed plan. The only way to not make some individuals worse off is to keep existing programs intact OR to make the payment ludicrously large. There is no maximum income to receive SNAP, assuming clowncar vagina scenarios.

So subtracting the current under-$1k benefits from the total will still reduce the overall cost of the program to something less than $260B/mo. But I don't see his math where it shows by how much.
  #72  
Old 02-04-2020, 09:42 AM
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Can somebody answer this real quick for me? If everyone is making $1000 a month, who's paying for the $1000 a month? Mexico?

Last edited by Ashtura; 02-04-2020 at 09:43 AM.
  #73  
Old 02-04-2020, 10:40 AM
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Can somebody answer this real quick for me? If everyone is making $1000 a month, who's paying for the $1000 a month? Mexico?
Yang proposes a Value Added Tax, so everyone is paying for it.
  #74  
Old 02-04-2020, 10:50 AM
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... I believe this is why Yang is offering a choice to recipients to remain on the current program or switch to UBI. Your widow with 3 children would see no reduction in her benefits....
Yang plans a 10% value-added tax to help pay for his plan. The $1 diaper now costs $1.10. In addition, some expect an inflation hiccup when TrillionS (note the T. And the S) in new spending is injected annually.

So the widow with three children will get to keep the dollars she gets now, but her spending power will be reduced.

Meanwhile the happy childless couple will be able to fly first class on their frequent vacations instead of economy class.

You can call this "fair" and "beautiful" if you like! But calling a pig a unicorn doesn't make it a unicorn.
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Old 02-04-2020, 10:51 AM
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Can somebody answer this real quick for me? If everyone is making $1000 a month, who's paying for the $1000 a month? Mexico?
Everyone's paying for it. So for many people, their true benefit is going to be less than $1,000 a month. You'd have to deduct their Value Added Tax from that thousand-dollar check.


Mainly, it is redistribution from the wealthy to the non-wealthy.
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Old 02-04-2020, 10:53 AM
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So the widow with three children will get to keep the dollars she gets now, but her spending power will be reduced.

Meanwhile the happy childless couple will be able to fly first class on their frequent vacations instead of economy class.
But that's their decision - to be childless. Being childless has its pros and cons. This is just one of the pros.
  #77  
Old 02-04-2020, 11:11 AM
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But that's their decision - to be childless. Being childless has its pros and cons. This is just one of the pros.
For once the time-worn cliché is apt: "Think of the children."

And when you reply, remember to mention that my example demonstrates this ...
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Mainly, it is redistribution from the wealthy to the non-wealthy.
... to be only a half-truth.
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Old 02-04-2020, 11:22 AM
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Yang plans a 10% value-added tax to help pay for his plan. The $1 diaper now costs $1.10.

So the widow with three children will get to keep the dollars she gets now, but her spending power will be reduced.
Except staples like groceries and clothing are exempt from the tax. The $1 diaper costs $1. The $3 gallon of milk costs $3 The $5 bag of potatoes costs $5. The $30 pair of shoes costs..... $30. You get the idea.
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Meanwhile the happy childless couple will be able to fly first class on their frequent vacations instead of economy class.

You can call this "fair" and "beautiful" if you like! But calling a pig a unicorn doesn't make it a unicorn.
This is why I hate the Republican take on so many issues. It focuses on whether or not a certain someone (whom they already dislike) deserves something.

Does a low income single parent deserve money for the kids she can't afford? Does this drug dealer deserve compassion and an opportunity to re-enter society? Does a dysfunctional parent deserve to have their child fed a "free" breakfast and lunch at the expense of everyone else?

You're asking if this childless couple deserves to fly first class. Like Bill Munny said "Deserves ain't got nothing to do with it." Does society work better, do we have a society with fewer people in crisis if we implement UBI? That's what I'm interested in, not being the arbiter of who deserves what.
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Old 02-04-2020, 12:12 PM
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Except staples like groceries and clothing are exempt from the tax. The $1 diaper costs $1. The $3 gallon of milk costs $3 The $5 bag of potatoes costs $5. The $30 pair of shoes costs..... $30. You get the idea.
The problem is that those exemptions make his revenue expectations from the tax wildly unrealistic. We went over this in his campaign thread. The numbers he gives suggest a rather universal application.
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:49 PM
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Does a low income single parent deserve money for the kids she can't afford? Does this drug dealer deserve compassion and an opportunity to re-enter society? Does a dysfunctional parent deserve to have their child fed a "free" breakfast and lunch at the expense of everyone else?

You're asking if this childless couple deserves to fly first class. Like Bill Munny said "Deserves ain't got nothing to do with it." Does society work better, do we have a society with fewer people in crisis if we implement UBI? That's what I'm interested in, not being the arbiter of who deserves what.
I totally agree with the principle you espouse here. "Deserve" has nothing to do with it.

I don't want to transfer part of the extra $2000 from the childless couple to the single mother because she "deserves" it more. I think she needs it more. More importantly, her kids need it.

In particular, note that, if she's already getting $1000 in food stamps and other welfare benefits, she gets nothing extra from Yang's plan, while the childless couple get an extra $2000. Does that really seem right?

Yes, if I fiddled Yang's plan, e.g. perhaps giving $X to each Y-year old (for same (x,y) table) I might address my objections ... while making the plan unfair in other ways. That's why my solution involves government-subsidized childcare, government-subsidized job training, etc. rather than relying on purely cash payments.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:06 PM
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Any UBI worth talking about needs to pay kids too. Maybe a lesser amount, $500/month maybe, under their parent's control, sure (unless the child can demonstrate to a judge or bureaucrat that their parent will mismanage the money and the kid won't). But kids are people and citizens too, and ignoring them is only going to cause problems. 99% of our current welfare system was originally justified by "what about the children", so any replacement or significant adjustment of that system needs to address those children.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:09 PM
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Can somebody answer this real quick for me? If everyone is making $1000 a month, who's paying for the $1000 a month? Mexico?
Rich people. Or above average earners, at least. Even though everyone gets $1000, some people will be net losers in the deal.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:45 AM
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But I don't see his math where it shows by how much.
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Yang proposes a Value Added Tax, so everyone is paying for it.
I was having trouble making the math add up, and apparently I'm not the only one. These two analyses are informative, but I haven't vetted them yet. If correct, it's looking like the $1000k/person.month ($2.8T/y) is covered by:

34% from the VAT
5% from between current benefits and the UBI (so this whole aid simplification angle seems bogus)
5% from removing the cap on SS payroll tax
4% from a carbon tax
3% from financial transactions tax
<1% from taxing capital gains at ordinary income rates


The rest? It will be paid for by increased tax revenue by massive economic growth. I am skeptical of this claim. Oh, and some deficit spending.

https://medium.com/ubicenter/distrib...d-d8dab818bf1b
https://taxfoundation.org/andrew-yan...-basic-income/

--------------

One test I have with any tax proposal is to ask whether my net rate goes up or down. That includes all taxes and transfers, and I consider this "dividend" to be a transfer. As much as I like more money in my pocket, I don't think putting more money in my pocket is good policy. I don't make seven and change an hour anymore. I didn't need the last tax cut. And I don't need a Freedom Dividend. I realize giving it to everyone is the whole point, but it's possible to do that and still favor those who need it more.

Let's construct a fake household:

Meet Ms. and Mr. Doper. The Dopers each gross $100k in wages. They rent, have no kids or investments, and live in a state with no income tax. They take the standard deduction for a couple filing jointly. I do not support a plan that, after taxes and transfers, leaves the Dopers contributing less to the running of our country than they currently are. In fact, maybe they should be paying more. They're in the top 10% by household income, after all.

They make $200k before taxes. Yang's plan gives them an extra $24k. I had assumed this was taxable income but from poking around online it looks like it's not. There's no way the VAT, carbon tax, etc. are going to make the Dopers break even on this plan. They're getting a net positive transfer. I don't think they need a net positive transfer.

If the dividend were taxable, they still come out ahead. They're in the 24% bracket. I believe that, even without a VAT, there is still a way to fiddle the tax brackets so that the Dopers come out with zero net change, or even pay more. But that's a belief, not the result of any actual math. Fiddling tax brackets is tricky because they're so chunky. People at the edges always end up coming out better or worse than intended. Never mind that everyone's specific situation is different.

But it seems like increasing income taxes would be a more progressive way to pay for this than a VAT. Let me know if I'm missing anything, tilting at straw, flubbing arithmetic, etc.
  #84  
Old 02-05-2020, 10:50 AM
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Rich people. Or above average earners, at least. Even though everyone gets $1000, some people will be net losers in the deal.
Per the first of my two links above, it's not even most above-average earners. Because about half the money is borrowed or assumed to be from taxes on increased growth. Even for households in the $200-500k/y range, more than half see their disposable income go up.

But if the growth doesn't happen, then it's just because we borrowed money to give to everyone.
  #85  
Old 02-05-2020, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Yang proposes a Value Added Tax, so everyone is paying for it.
Oh, a VAT tax. Awesome. The literal ONLY thing I DIDN'T like about my European vacation.
  #86  
Old 02-05-2020, 07:15 PM
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Oh, a VAT tax. Awesome. The literal ONLY thing I DIDN'T like about my European vacation.
A super high, super regressive sales tax. Literally the worst kind. How do otherwise progressive politicians support this crap? I guess the money rolling in must be persuasive.
  #87  
Old 02-05-2020, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
They make $200k before taxes. Yang's plan gives them an extra $24k. I had assumed this was taxable income but from poking around online it looks like it's not. There's no way the VAT, carbon tax, etc. are going to make the Dopers break even on this plan. They're getting a net positive transfer. I don't think they need a net positive transfer.
Expenses would need to top $120k/annum/adult for a 10% VAT to hurt more than a $12k UBI helps. It is possible that a couple with $224k gross spends over $240k, and past that point they come out worse with Mr. Yang's plan than without.

The more you spend, the more the VAT hurts. Someone who would spend $1m without Mr. Yang's UBI would stand to lose an extra $888k buying the same goods, but note that this only applies to individual expenses - business expenses would be passed down to consumers, and there is a good chance that high-earners raise their salaries by 10% to pass even this down to consumers.

Then, as mentioned up-thread, the ultra-rich don't really have to worry about any of this. The appraisal of all their assets simply goes up 10%, dividends go up 10%, everything is passed down to lower classes. Those who hoard liquid funds will get hurt, but you tend not to be ultra-rich by hoarding cash in a mattress.

The concern at the higher income levels is more about things like, every U.S. manufacturer will see expenses go up 10%, how are we going to deal with that and remain competitive internationally?

~Max
  #88  
Old 02-05-2020, 09:24 PM
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So we still have the same welfare programs (possibly reduced by 5%), plus a 10% VAT, plus the UBI? Now I don't see a single positive aspect of the plan. Can some dissaude that thought?
  #89  
Old 02-06-2020, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Expenses would need to top $120k/annum/adult for a 10% VAT to hurt more than a $12k UBI helps. It is possible that a couple with $224k gross spends over $240k, and past that point they come out worse with Mr. Yang's plan than without.
Only if they spend far more than they make. Remember, even though the UBI isn't taxed, they're still paying normal federal income and payroll taxes on $200k, maybe ~$44k if I'm adding that up right?
And he's exempting "staples". He specifically calls out food/clothing. I couldn't find out if that includes rent, health insurance, or anything else.

So the Dopers now have an after-tax (income/payroll) income of $180k. They'd need to regularly spend $60k more than that on non-essentials for this to be neutral for them. Which seems technically possible but unlikely. Hell my take-home paycheck is already less than half of my gross income, and half of that goes to housing.
  #90  
Old 02-06-2020, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
... But it seems like increasing income taxes would be a more progressive way to pay for this than a VAT. Let me know if I'm missing anything, tilting at straw, flubbing arithmetic, etc.
Yes, higher tax on high incomes; taxing dividends and capital gains; restoring estate taxes; and higher corporate income taxes are all better ways to raise revenue than a VAT. Close loopholes: Amazon's corporate tax averaged over the last three years is negative.

In countries with a very high VAT, is there much gaming of the system? Treating restaurant food as non-taxable food, hotel bills as non-taxable rent, etc.?

I think entirely new taxes should be explored. It's foolish not to start with a big carbon tax. (Any policy planner who doesn't start with a carbon tax isn't serious.) How about a 30% tax on advertising? 30% of $250 billion yields $75 billion annually. And charge double for political advertising! A few well-chosen taxes like these examples might eliminate the need for a complicated across-the-board VAT.
  #91  
Old 02-06-2020, 09:06 AM
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And charge double for political advertising!
Yeah, good luck with that. These are the folks who exempted campaign calls from the unsolicited robocalls ban.
  #92  
Old 02-06-2020, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
They make $200k before taxes. Yang's plan gives them an extra $24k. I had assumed this was taxable income but from poking around online it looks like it's not. There's no way the VAT, carbon tax, etc. are going to make the Dopers break even on this plan. They're getting a net positive transfer. I don't think they need a net positive transfer.

But it seems like increasing income taxes would be a more progressive way to pay for this than a VAT. Let me know if I'm missing anything, tilting at straw, flubbing arithmetic, etc.
I agree. When we have massive debt and a massive deficit, Democrats and Republicans can argue over whether we need higher taxes, less spending or both. We can disagree but at least we realize that each side is approaching the problem in good faith but we are just coming from different directions.

However, when someone is talking about giving a couple making $200k/yr an additional $24k/yr simply for existing, that seems like insanity to me. We are now increasing taxes and spending in order to help a married couple who is doing pretty well and does not need any assistance.

Then, if we then increase taxes on this couple to offset the benefit that they get, then that seems horribly inefficient, taking money out of their right pocket to put more in their left.

And even if we do that so that all but the poor are taking a net loss on the program, at the end of the day, all we are doing is disguising higher taxes on the rich and increased social spending on the poor.

So the UBI then becomes, not a new and novel idea, but traditional Democratic priorities. The cynic in me seems to believe that is the whole point of this exercise: to disguise and deceive people into supporting an idea that has not yet won at the ballot box.
  #93  
Old 02-06-2020, 02:49 PM
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You can cheat a little bit on food stamps, but not completely. You can't realistically cheat on Section 8 housing or Medicaid or WIC or a host of other things. You can cheat on cash big time.

I want to understand the proposal. Does this amount, whether is is $1k or some other amount, mean the total abolition of the above programs and any other welfare programs? You get the cash, but if you screw up, you are on your own or at the mercy of charities?
I don't think Yang is putting Medicaid and section 8 housing on the table.

"The benefits that individuals would need to give up are Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needed Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and SNAP for Women, Infants, and Child Program (WIC)."

But this seems to be mostly to placate the folks who think that the poor have it too good. He mostly pays for it with:

"To cover the additional cost of the Freedom Dividend, Yang would raise revenue in five ways:
•A 10 percent VAT
•A tax on financial transactions
•Taxing capital gains and carried interest at ordinary income rates
•Remove the wage cap on the Social Security payroll tax
•A $40 per metric ton carbon tax"
  #94  
Old 02-06-2020, 03:00 PM
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septimus, the universality of UBI is a feature not a bug.

I have personally soured on the entire concept of means tested benefits. Why? Because a certain political party (who shall R emain nameless) decided to claim that people who have legally benefited from these programs are not worthy of earning American citizenship. They weaponized it, so I figure we no longer deserve the luxury of separating out those who need help from those who don't.

UBI, UHC, Living Minimum Wage, Universal Tax Credits or Deductions. You can't call up a list of UBI recipients, to declare them a drain on our economy, because the list is "everyone". As an added bonus, you don't have to spend as much money to administer it.
I think the UBI is only for citizens. With UBI, means tested benefits will wither.

I am afraid an insufficient safety net would dissuade the best and brightest of the huddled masses from coming to our shores.
  #95  
Old 02-06-2020, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
1) What do you mean "reduced" food stamps? If everyone gets UBI why is there a need for any food stamps? Further, what do you mean "either/or"? I thought the proposal was UBI for all and all other programs are gone.

2) I stated it inartfully. Yes, I understand that the proposal means that the $1k/month (or whatever different amount) is paid to a person and that person can do what he chooses with the money. However, what if the rent is still due or food needs to be bought or a doctor visit is needed? I meant "cheat" in the sense that the program was supposed to make my last sentence unnecessary as the payment would provide for those things. What if it does not? Tough shit on the person who wasted the money? I am JAQ, but in the good way.
UBI does not displace Section 8 etc. Just food stamps and cash welfare.
  #96  
Old 02-06-2020, 03:11 PM
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I am in favor of UBI, but have two concerns:


1. People who fraudulently register multiple identities, or commit some form of fraud, so as to collect multiple UBI checks - now, for sure, the government would be checking for fraud, but you know this is going to happen;
There is nothing you can do about it. Medicare loses billions a year to fraud, and to some extent so does VISA, Citibank, amazon, facebook, etc.

Quote:
"2. People who purposefully hold the government "hostage" with their lives - say, someone who always deposits his entire monthly UBI check into a 401k (which legally cannot be cashed out until he hits age 59) and then holds out his hands saying, "Hey, I have no money left, you gotta give me some more or else I'll starve."
They have soup kitchens. They won't starve. Hunger will make them spend their money on food the next month. If they have kids and they put their kids through that, then we should take away their kids for a few months.
  #97  
Old 02-06-2020, 03:13 PM
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Why have a massive program filled with bureaucrats with a top manager making $500k per year to skim off the top when you could just give the money to people to buy food?
Which bureaucrats make 500K/year?

Cabinet secretaries make $210K

https://www.thoughtco.com/top-us-gov...laries-3321465
  #98  
Old 02-06-2020, 03:47 PM
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Many native american tribal governments in the US give an UBI to their tribal members (funding comes from tribe-owned businesses, not the US government). The dollar amount is based on each individual's "blood purity" and much of the housing is owned by the tribe rather than the individual.

From what I've seen it's much worse than our current welfare/public assistance system. A small town 30 minutes from my home looks similar to the poor areas in Tijuana, Mexico. Not everyone abuses it of course but those who do have even less incentive to try to improve their current situation.

Last edited by Dark Sponge; 02-06-2020 at 03:51 PM.
  #99  
Old 02-06-2020, 04:10 PM
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I don't think Yang is putting Medicaid and section 8 housing on the table.

"The benefits that individuals would need to give up are Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needed Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and SNAP for Women, Infants, and Child Program (WIC)."

But this seems to be mostly to placate the folks who think that the poor have it too good. He mostly pays for it with:

"To cover the additional cost of the Freedom Dividend, Yang would raise revenue in five ways:
•A 10 percent VAT
•A tax on financial transactions
•Taxing capital gains and carried interest at ordinary income rates
•Remove the wage cap on the Social Security payroll tax
•A $40 per metric ton carbon tax"
So, in all honesty, this is simply a tax increase on the rich, but the effects are blunted by this "everyone gets $1k" sleight of hand on the back side? If a normal Dem proposal would be to tax the rich X% and give the poor $Y, then this proposal is to tax the rich X%+$Y, give them $Y, and give the poor $Y?

This "removing the cap on SS" is completely a non-starter. It would amount to approximately a 15% tax increase on high earners. We fight pitched battles over 3%. I am all for realistic discussions of future policy, but this is not one of them.

A 10% VAT would be devastating to the economy and competition with overseas corporations.

Taxing capital gains at wage rates would create disincentives. Why risk my own money and be taxed at the same rate as if I risk no money and work for a living? The reason why capital gains taxes are lower is to account for that risk.

This just seems like a Dem wish list for tax increases. Not a new thing.


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Originally Posted by Damuri Ajashi View Post
Which bureaucrats make 500K/year?

Cabinet secretaries make $210K

https://www.thoughtco.com/top-us-gov...laries-3321465
Fair enough and you are right. But how many above $100k salaries are in every welfare distributing organization? Maybe instead of UBI we could consolidate all of the separate programs that provide to the poor and just call it the "Department of Welfare" (or whatever cutesy sounding name you want; we can compromise on that).

It seems inefficient to have several departments doing basically the same thing. Perhaps instead of UBI, we can have "Welfare Bucks" which can be used for food, housing, clothing, health care, WIC, and all of the other programs we have. Why can't one individual evaluate eligibility for all of the needs of the poor instead of separate departments?
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:33 PM
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The problem is that those exemptions make his revenue expectations from the tax wildly unrealistic. We went over this in his campaign thread. The numbers he gives suggest a rather universal application.
The post in that thread used a 2016 report when a 2018 report was available at the time, showing a larger number. It also doesn't take into account the increase of VAT to luxury items.

btw, the $1T discrepancy claimed in that thread was just using the wrong population base to calculate the headline cost.

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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
I'm really liking this article although obviously I disagree with some parts. There are some good graphics about how the wealth redistribution works. I looked up the author on twitter. His twitter shows him to be a Pete Buttigieg fan.

Quote:
Max Ghenis
@MaxGhenis
Economist studying @MITecon
, focused on poverty, housing, etc. Founded @TheUBICenter
. Co-founded @VCYimby
. Formerly @Google and @YouTube
Quote:
Households in the bottom nine deciles see their disposable income rise about $10,000 on average, while households in the top decile lose an average of $8,000.
This represents a highly progressive outcome, more than doubling the average disposable income of households in the bottom decile and reducing top-decile incomes by about 4 percent.
. . .
Overall, 86 percent of people would come out ahead, though 10 to 15 percent of each income group up to $200,000 would come out behind (these are mostly non-citizens). Almost all households earning more than $500,000 would pay more in taxes than they’d receive from the Freedom Dividend.
. . .
Across all measures, the Freedom Dividend would reduce poverty and income inequality.

One (unofficial) measure of poverty is the share of people in households with disposable income less than the federal poverty line. The Yang plan reduces this share by 74 percent, from 7.3 percent to 1.9 percent. Child poverty falls 54 percent, from 7.9 percent to 3.6 percent.

A common measure of inequality is the Gini index, which ranges from 0 (perfect equality) to 1 (a single household has all of society’s income). The Yang plan reduces the Gini index of disposable income by 15 percent, from 0.46 to 0.39.

Other measures of income inequality also fall under the Yang plan: the share of disposable income held by the top 1 percent falls by 24 percent, and the share held by the top 0.1 percent falls 29 percent.
This is the desired outcome, the reduction of poverty including the reduction of child poverty and the redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom. It makes sense that the non-citizens might be worse off since they're not getting the UBI, but that's an incentive for people to become citizens.

The part of the article I don't completely agree with is the complete dismissal of economic growth. He notes that there are some economic offsets but then just notes that the projected growth is unlikely and then makes assumptions on that basis.

Quote:
Neither Roosevelt nor Wharton model the revenue measures Yang proposes: reducing benefits, increasing tax rates, and levying new taxes. Some of these will reduce labor supply, such as new taxes (through the substitution effect). Others will increase labor supply, such as moving people out of benefit programs with high marginal tax rates (also through the substitution effect), and the income effect of new taxes (which reduce after-tax income). The net effect of these changes is probably lower labor supply — likely due to workers reducing their work hours rather than dropping out of the labor market — but a full study would be warranted to estimate the magnitude.

Overall, Yang’s projection that his plan would raise between $800 and $900 billion in government revenue through economic growth is unlikely.
It doesn't take into account some of Yang's other policies that could for instance, bring the prison population down. and some other cost saving policies that could offset the cost. He only took into account taxes.

I haven't seen any UBI studies where people decrease work hours except for moms who stay at home with their children and teens who stay in school longer. But even if they do, there is a study out of Japan that shows a decrease in work hours there that increased productivity.

There's also reason to believe that UBI would increase productivity if more people started businesses as they have done in many UBI studies. According to Yang, people starting businesses is at a decades low.

Microsoft Japan’s four-day working week trial led to productivity improvements

Particularly with AI improvements, productivity could rise even with declines in labor hours. The Microsoft study wasn't a case study for that, but the overall idea is that AI will be taking jobs but not reducing GDP at the same level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
Let's construct a fake household:

Meet Ms. and Mr. Doper. The Dopers each gross $100k in wages.
From the graphs, it looks like the taxes don't start to create a net negative until about $500K on average. Between your case and the average person making $500K, you can make a specific case for people not getting hit with more taxes. But I think the $200K level is pretty low. People in that range are likely living in a place with a high cost of living on the bottom end of the scale. If not, they're fortunate.

Since you've been reading on Yang's plan, there are more resources at https://freedom-dividend.com/ and Scott Santens is a font of knowledge on the subject and can be found here at the Basic Income subreddit https://www.reddit.com/r/BasicIncome/ and on twitter https://twitter.com/scottsantens. He's a huge Yang supporter, but he's more pro-UBI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
But it seems like increasing income taxes would be a more progressive way to pay for this than a VAT. Let me know if I'm missing anything, tilting at straw, flubbing arithmetic, etc.
One of the arguments against increasing taxes for income instead of consumption is that it disincentivizes work. A VAT disincentivizes consumption. The argument is that society should encourage work but not encourage over-consumption.

Also, Raising the top marginal tax rate would not do much to reduce overall income inequality – additional observations

The reason for that is that people at the top levels don't pay themselves salaries. Their money comes from stock primarily. Increasing the financial tax rate might get some of that. But taxing their businesses through a VAT and taxing their consumption would likely have a bigger effect.

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