I’ve been met with a firestorm of rabid criticism by everyone that I have ever suggested this idea to: it apparently deeply offends the psyche of many, or possibly wounds them at the DNA level. To wit:
Premise: That being a citizen of an immensely wealthy and productive nation such as the United States should in and of itself entitle any such person to a basic level of food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.
I took the US GDP for 2010 and divided it by the number of citizens per the census taken in that year. I then compared the resultant number with what I call the “basic maintenance amount”: the poverty-level income for an individual, plus the $5000 that the Obama administration states is the average per capita amount spent on health care. The result was that everyone in the US can be maintained at the poverty level, plus health care, for 19% of GDP.
I then opined that if we were as one family, we would certainly pay for our basic needs first. Therefore, the body politic should set aside that 19% for everyone. First and foremost. The money could be collected by a simple value added tax. Of course, not everyone would need Basic Maintenance. Surpluses could be invested or stockpiled.
What I was surprised by is that if you added up the savings from the elimination of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other transfer programs, there was an actual savings of about 8% of the federal budget. In other words, simply providing everyone with a safety net and the guarantee of health care rather than the patchwork of existing federal programs saved a considerable amount.
I am somewhat digressing in that I don’t really care about the numbers other than that they showed this was a practical proposal. What I want to know is how everyone feels about the simple statement that being a US citizen should automatically entitle you to a basic standard of living, even if you can’t or don’t lift a finger. Everyone gets food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. period. Does this sound like Utopia or Dystopia to you?