Basic income

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I thought it was an idea that died with the 60's, with people like Major Clifford Hugh Douglas who had developped his social credit theory and Caouette who applied these ideas with his political party the créditistes to win 26 deputies on 75 in the province of Québec and 26 p. 100 of popular vote, during that time Robert Theobald had the idea of a "guaranteed annual income" etc but recently I heard about the basic income european network who is very much active.

This is a thread to talk about basic income and similar ideas like negative income tax floor, tax credit etc

Sébastien Chikara (Sébastien Chikara), Monday, 9 February 2004 19:31 (sixteen years ago) link

My friends says Seb, you are such a bore
I say, Yo! Negative Income Tax Floor

MikeyG (MikeyG), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 14:43 (sixteen years ago) link

Funnily enough, at least in here basic income is mainly proposed by right-wing writers, I guess because it would allow for unlimited capital accumulation, unlike progressive taxation. And Scandinavian countries, as you might know, have the highest progressive tax rates in the world. Here in Finland, even speeding tickets are rated according to your wealth.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 14:58 (sixteen years ago) link

Tuomas, I don't know if the rules are different in Scandinavia, but over here we rap when talking about basic income.

MikeyG (MikeyG), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 15:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Tuomas, you made me remember I've heard these ideas, like not taxing ppl earning less than 30k, are bringing together right wingxor and left wingxor. That should be a good indication that it'll (soonish)be implemented in many places.

Sébastien Chikara (Sébastien Chikara), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:13 (sixteen years ago) link

"MikeyG". Dud you appeal to friends to pull an ad numeram (oooh haha) and...who are you?
All you did was reveal yourself a bitchy so the G must stand for Guidoune:
ki sé tutt puto, I’ll carve you a grin with a couteau Sooooooo
sporty, you need excitement in your life?
That’s the only conclusion all can have seeing you get out of your way to dis me:
poor chap I wouldn’t want to be at your place G
talk about it or don't, basic income is part of everything : politics duh
While I'm livin' my life, don't mess with me
Life is too short, would you agree?

Sébastien Chikara (Sébastien Chikara), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 21:34 (sixteen years ago) link

we tend to talk about "a living wage" in the U.S.

Orbit (Orbit), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 02:25 (sixteen years ago) link

i think that this is indeed an interesting idea. i don't know the specifics about the folks that sebastien is citing, nor do i know anything about canada. here in the USA, the standard deduction kinda works like that (though it is, of course, woefully inadequate).

Eisbär (llamasfur), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 03:23 (sixteen years ago) link

"haig-simons"

Eisbär, LL.M. (llamasfur), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 03:27 (sixteen years ago) link

There is a lot of discussion about the living wage by labor unions. See www.afl-cio.org

Orbit (Orbit), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 03:31 (sixteen years ago) link

five years pass...
four years pass...

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/02/labour-markets-0

genuinely interested in whether or not a guaranteed minimum income can be more than an idle policy daydream

Lamp, Wednesday, 19 February 2014 16:15 (six years ago) link

https://decorrespondent.nl/541/why-we-should-give-free-money-to-everyone/20798745-cb9fbb39?utm_content=buffere7efe

Then came that fatal discovery: the number of divorces in Seattle had gone up by more than 50%. This percentage made the other, positive results seem utterly uninteresting. It gave rise to the fear that a basic income would make women much too independent. For months, the law proposal was sent back and forth between the Senate and the White House, eventually ending in the dustbin of history.

Later analysis would show that the researchers had made a mistake – in reality the number of divorces had not changed.

the ghosts of dead pom-bears (a passing spacecadet), Saturday, 1 March 2014 20:05 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

http://www.basicincome.org/news/2015/10/swiss-parliament-opposes-popular-initiative/

The "potential epidemic laziness" quoted in the article is the big lie at the center of our economy imho, and disproving it would be the biggest deal since the Reformation. Go Switzerland.

Also watching "Bridge on the River Kwai" helps understand where many unionists' problems with a basic income stem from.

Wes Brodicus, Thursday, 12 November 2015 13:55 (four years ago) link

Can anyone point me to good economic writing on the idea, e.g. addressing how it would be calculated, what its economic effects would be, whether it would cause inflation or why not, etc.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Thursday, 12 November 2015 14:41 (four years ago) link

ill post some links when im not on my phone hurting

this is a pretty terrible idea imo. why not just have a negative income tax? why waste money sending checks to middle class & above? also i don't think a lot of proponents of ubi realize you would have to cut other spending to afford it (if it's a basic income that gives someone w no market income a decent living); it's like a (left) libertarian policy (Milton Friedman advocated it!) which isn't nec a bad thing, but a lot of casual proponents these days just add it on top of their pile of govt spending

the laziness thing isn't a lie, it would reduce labor supply. but that's the point? and any proponent of ubi should account for some supply response, you can't just confidently say people won't react to unconditionally not having to work to make a living

flopson, Thursday, 12 November 2015 23:33 (four years ago) link

yeah flopson i would love some good args

j., Thursday, 12 November 2015 23:36 (four years ago) link

I frequently explain my support for UBI by just asking "aren't there some people you'd rather pay to stay home?"

El Tomboto, Friday, 13 November 2015 00:12 (four years ago) link

This is remarkably effective

El Tomboto, Friday, 13 November 2015 00:13 (four years ago) link

lol

flopson, Friday, 13 November 2015 00:32 (four years ago) link

basic, income

dead (Lamp), Friday, 13 November 2015 00:34 (four years ago) link

Just watch bridge over kwai its all in there

I still think there's something about being industrious that people need. Or at least a unit does. I'm not sure if the family can fulfill that role anymore for a society. If enough money is circulating of course who knows how industrious people might end up being, or how different the definition of the word industrious might end up being.

rap is dad (it's a boy!), Friday, 13 November 2015 00:41 (four years ago) link

In my estimation - somebody should do the research, but it's probably impossible for more than one reason:
1. there are a frightening number of white collar salaried employees who do basically nothing more than commute, badge in, make meetings, badge out, and commute.
2. there are a frightening number of creative, talented people who waste colossal slices of their lives just scraping to make rent in the service industry.

I'd like to send them both home with UBI - it's hard to see how they would end up being less productive that they are today.

El Tomboto, Friday, 13 November 2015 00:56 (four years ago) link

Srs ring of truth there

I think a lot of people in group 1 probably don't want to admit to themselves that they are in group 1

iatee, Friday, 13 November 2015 01:06 (four years ago) link

cross-reference with boss thread

k3vin k., Friday, 13 November 2015 01:13 (four years ago) link

group 1 would be...interesting...it's probably easier to accept that you're not a productive white collar worker than that you're not creative or talented

rap is dad (it's a boy!), Friday, 13 November 2015 01:14 (four years ago) link

There's a lot more ppl imagine themselves in group 2 I'd reckon. Also cross ref to management thread.

you can only accept 1 w/ the help of the facade that the 1-life lets you hide in

j., Friday, 13 November 2015 02:00 (four years ago) link

White collar privilege

the pre-condition of a facade is something i've read about

rap is dad (it's a boy!), Friday, 13 November 2015 02:09 (four years ago) link

Well yeah you wanna make sure it lasts through the tough winters around here

i could be so industrious at things where i would never be paid

i already was for 7 years, it's called ONLINE FILM CRITICISM.

also whoring

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Friday, 13 November 2015 02:13 (four years ago) link

three weeks pass...

interview with the guy who designed the finland natural experiment. seems to have been widely misreported (it is not a universal basic income, they're testing it out on ~100,000 people) so read this if you read anything about it. super interesting & exciting

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3052595/how-finlands-exciting-basic-income-experiment-will-work-and-what-we-can-learn-from-it

flopson, Monday, 7 December 2015 22:27 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

From the Capitalism C/D thread

http://blog.ycombinator.com/basic-income

50 years from now, I think it will seem ridiculous that we used fear of not being able to eat as a way to motivate people. I also think that it’s impossible to truly have equality of opportunity without some version of guaranteed income. And I think that, combined with innovation driving down the cost of having a great life, by doing something like this we could eventually make real progress towards eliminating poverty.

Hallelujah

service desk hardman (El Tomboto), Thursday, 28 January 2016 02:52 (four years ago) link

this is certainly an unexpected development

lag∞n, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:34 (four years ago) link

kudos to them

lag∞n, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:34 (four years ago) link

i think basic income is a fantastic idea whose time has come and i agree that we might see it in our lifetimes but i'm not sure why i should be excited about Y Combinator trying to fund a study of it?

Mordy, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:36 (four years ago) link

So it would be good to answer some of the theoretical questions now. Do people sit around and play video games, or do they create new things? Are people happy and fulfilled? Do people, without the fear of not being able to eat, accomplish far more and benefit society far more? And do recipients, on the whole, create more economic value than they receive? (Questions about how a program like this would affect overall cost of living are beyond our scope, but obviously important.)

this is still some extremely inhumane captain of industry ass thinking tho tbf

lag∞n, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:36 (four years ago) link

50 years from now, I think it will seem ridiculous that we used fear of not being able to eat as a way to motivate people. I also think that it’s impossible to truly have equality of opportunity without some version of guaranteed income. And I think that, combined with innovation driving down the cost of having a great life, by doing something like this we could eventually make real progress towards eliminating poverty.

this is good tho

lag∞n, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:37 (four years ago) link

i think basic income is a fantastic idea whose time has come and i agree that we might see it in our lifetimes but i'm not sure why i should be excited about Y Combinator trying to fund a study of it?

― Mordy, Thursday, January 28, 2016 11:36 AM (58 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

you can be excited by like whatever you want i guess

lag∞n, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:38 (four years ago) link

i disagree. first if basic income is going to work politically we're going to need to demolish the randian idea that communism makes ppl lazy and the only way to do that is disprove it. second even w advanced technology society is still going to require a certain level of productivity from its citizens. if food + shelter eg are extremely cheap than the reciprocal productivity from citizens will be much smaller to balance, but you can't give out more than your society produces? xxp

Mordy, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:38 (four years ago) link

why are you excited by it?

Mordy, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:39 (four years ago) link

i disagree. first if basic income is going to work politically we're going to need to demolish the randian idea that communism makes ppl lazy and the only way to do that is disprove it.

that's what they're gonna study, smarty pants

a (waterface), Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:40 (four years ago) link

yes correct.

Mordy, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:41 (four years ago) link

(that post was a response to "this is still some extremely inhumane captain of industry ass thinking tho tbf")

Mordy, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:41 (four years ago) link

something can be necessary politically and also be inhumane in fact they often go hand in hand

lag∞n, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:42 (four years ago) link

it's not inhumane to set out to disprove a toxic idea

Mordy, Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:43 (four years ago) link

well-compensated, enabling-the-good-life manufacturing jobs have virtually ceased to exist between automation on the one hand and exploitation of worldwide low-wage labor pools on the other. you see this as a cyclical change likely to be reversed, or imagine that those low-wage labor markets will eventually fight their way into an american postwar grand bargain w capital? which would be viable despite the need for far fewer workers for the same productivity? or.... what? just trying to pin down our universes here.

lol dis stance dunk (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 22 March 2018 20:26 (two years ago) link

if they're underemployed and undercompensated why is that interesting? are we discussing basic income with the goal of catching a small number of people and bringing them up to... starvation wages? what ethic would motivate such a discussion?

lol dis stance dunk (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 22 March 2018 20:27 (two years ago) link

well-compensated, enabling-the-good-life manufacturing jobs have virtually ceased to exist between automation on the one hand and exploitation of worldwide low-wage labor pools on the other. you see this as a cyclical change likely to be reversed, or imagine that those low-wage labor markets will eventually fight their way into an american postwar grand bargain w capital?

this will never be reversed and is sort of the great problem with any grand far-left scheme. take power in a single country and you are left with the whole system of production, distribution, logistics that is based entirely on exploiting low costs from world-wide markets.

having said that we are far away from the utopian idea of automation replacing labour whole-sale. most people, even in advanced countries which "don't make anything", still work, and will continue to do so. they might be working less, and they're fighting for scraps of a diminishing pie, but they're still working. UBI to me seems like a libertarians dream of providing just enough income for the increasingly immigrated workers of the future gig/0 hour contract economy to get by on so they don't explode

Louis Jägermeister (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 22 March 2018 20:37 (two years ago) link

immiserated not immigrated

Louis Jägermeister (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 22 March 2018 20:37 (two years ago) link

Here’s where my thinking on this took a turn. People generally have a fucked up, heavily abstracted and simplified idea of work imo. Work is moving stuff from one place to another, often delicately, frequently under dynamic conditions, while accepting and adapting to new information and prioritizing it based on lived experience and training sessions of varying vintage, and really trying not to damage yourself or others.

This is what a barista or a hack cabdriver or a warehouse worker does for hours; but if you stare at a screen all day you forget how much of the body and the mind are involved, you just think of it as dumb machines following instructions, and distill the complexity away.

El Tomboto, Friday, 23 March 2018 00:50 (two years ago) link

all work really is is finding a way to get money from humans

Rabbit Control (Latham Green), Friday, 23 March 2018 15:10 (two years ago) link

“I love the president,” Mr. Dowd said in a telephone interview. “I wish him the best of luck. I think he has a really good case.”

hahahahahaha

Rabbit Control (Latham Green), Friday, 23 March 2018 15:18 (two years ago) link

shit wron gthread

Rabbit Control (Latham Green), Friday, 23 March 2018 15:23 (two years ago) link

one month passes...
two months pass...
two weeks pass...
two months pass...

Rushkoff has an interesting take:

https://medium.com/s/powertrip/universal-basic-income-is-silicon-valleys-latest-scam-fd3e130b69a0

I like it, to some degree. Giving low-level workers an ownership stake (in the form of stock options/RSUs, I guess?) in their companies is better than just asking the government to cut a check. However, this doesn't get us out of the cycle of having to work, which I think is a big piece of UBI. Also, why not just pay the workers a better salary? Tying worker pay to company performance is great when companies are growing, but if we want to create a sustainable future, we should be trying to wind down economic systems that require ever-accelerating growth.

DJI, Wednesday, 10 October 2018 17:50 (two years ago) link

we had a seminar on the pre-analysis plan for ycombinator's UBI project by one of the ppl working on it the other week, v cool

flopson, Wednesday, 10 October 2018 20:47 (two years ago) link

Yeah? Tell me more...

DJI, Wednesday, 10 October 2018 20:56 (two years ago) link

uhh it's been a couple weeks and i didn't take notes so this is all off memory, but they're doing it in 2 states (but they couldn't tell us which) targeting people all across the income distribution although focusing on lower-income (for power purposes), rural and urban areas, a pretty huge control group (with some clever compensation schemes to keep everyone answering their surveys). seemed very well designed. they've already done a pilot in oakland to dry run a lot of the logistical stuff. costs tens of millions of dollars

flopson, Thursday, 11 October 2018 02:00 (two years ago) link

Cool thx

DJI, Thursday, 11 October 2018 15:14 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

every once in a while i run into an idea so idiotic that i just have to share it. especially when it's not my idiotic idea!

However, Fuller didn’t just shut down the idea of UBI. While he asserted that UBI, as we have known and defined it, isn’t a correct fit for our current world, he stated that there are other, more realistic solutions—ones that truly address the issues that stem from advancing technology.

Fuller suggested that, as we continue to get farther into the data-driven technological age, one solution could be to force companies to pay for the information that they currently take from us for nothing. “We could hold Google and Facebook and all those big multinationals accountable; we could make sure that people, like those who are currently ‘voluntarily’ contributing their data to pump up companies’ profits, are given something that is adequate to support their livelihoods in exchange.”

So, instead of the government doling out standard salaries to all citizens, which is basically what UBI calls for, people would be financially compensated for the data that they give to companies by these very same companies. This could mean that social media giants and other websites that ask for your personal information would have to fairly compensate you for the information that they take from you.

https://futurism.com/ubi-universal-basic-income-alternative

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 4 December 2018 20:54 (one year ago) link

being paid for the data you provide to social media companies is actually a good idea, but it wouldn't be remotely a UBI-sized sum under any realistic scenario

flopson, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 01:46 (one year ago) link

One cent for every stepMILF search you do on Pornhub.

louise ck (milo z), Wednesday, 5 December 2018 02:04 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

Great story, thanks! I kind of agree with the Fins, but I can't even imagine how that would ever happen/work in the USA.

DJI, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:44 (one year ago) link

“These particular executives have destroyed their reputation,” he said. “I would be surprised if they didn’t care. Finland is a small society. There is a sense that as long as you’re a Finn, you’re always a Finn. They will show up at Christmas at Helsinki Airport, they will be recognized, and they will feel it in people’s eyes: the disrespect.”

DJI, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:54 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Minimum wage, but relevant to thread...

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/21/magazine/minimum-wage-saving-lives.html

A living wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep
aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive,
preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents
premature death. It shields children from neglect.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Friday, 22 February 2019 16:28 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

all credit to @loggedtheFUCKon pic.twitter.com/JbI0AvVWOW

— Emotional Stress Animal (@moleculesofyou) April 18, 2019

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Friday, 19 April 2019 17:34 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/why-universal-basic-income-is-a-bad-idea-by-daron-acemoglu-2019-06

Daron Acemoglu is smart, BUT http://crookedtimber.org/2019/06/09/how-to-debate-universal-basic-income/

He ignores that it may empower workers relative to employers, since a UBI improves the quality of the exit options of the workers. His arguments that basic income would make people politically passive are exactly the opposite from the assumptions that basic income advocates make, and as far as I can tell these are things one cannot predict, either way. He assumes that holding a job is in itself a good thing (which arguably depends on whether it is good/decent work or not).

El Tomboto, Monday, 17 June 2019 00:06 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

This is an expert demolition of the mainstream automation discourse by @abenanav. Low demand for labor isn't explained by robots taking your job, but by overcapacity, stagnation, and the loss of manufacturing as the economy's growth engine. https://t.co/FvksF6aa8A

— Ben Tarnoff (@bentarnoff) October 11, 2019

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:58 (one year ago) link

(sorry the article is paywalled ironically)

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:59 (one year ago) link

i suppose pasting paywalled things from journals is not kosher on ilx? (i have access and am reading now)

Seany's too Dyche to mention (jim in vancouver), Friday, 11 October 2019 20:21 (one year ago) link

paste it but rot-13 it first for airtight opsec

to regain his mental focus, he played video-game golf (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 11 October 2019 20:27 (one year ago) link

Is new left review on sc1-h|_|b

president of deluded fruitcakes anonymous (silby), Friday, 11 October 2019 21:06 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

I mean that sounds good re: Spain but if it's means tested isn't just an income support benefit rather than UBI?

Noel Emits, Monday, 18 May 2020 18:26 (five months ago) link

Honestly I'm ok with no UBI for high-earners.

DJI, Monday, 18 May 2020 18:37 (five months ago) link

Sure, but a having to inevitably jump through hoops to demonstrate identity and income level (and assets!) and is highly antithetical to many versions of BI. And it isn't U.

Noel Emits, Monday, 18 May 2020 18:42 (five months ago) link

thought the whole point was that UBI is no questions asked, but also income tax is increased so higher earners effectively end up paying for their own BI?

thomasintrouble, Monday, 18 May 2020 18:48 (five months ago) link

That works too.

DJI, Monday, 18 May 2020 19:03 (five months ago) link

That also is more efficient to implement.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 18 May 2020 19:08 (five months ago) link

Means testing is a wedge issue that in practice is used to weaken the welfare state. Resist it wherever possible.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 18 May 2020 21:49 (five months ago) link

four months pass...

https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/projects/social-wealth-fund/

I didn’t know about Alaska

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Saturday, 17 October 2020 22:19 (two weeks ago) link

can’t find the video any longer but I remember watching a Glenn Beck interview w Frank Llewelyn about “”socialism”” back during the ‘08 election and dude went to town on the AK Permanent Fund and Beck basically pulled the plug. It was vaguely exciting tv, as far as those things went in the olden times

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Saturday, 17 October 2020 23:14 (two weeks ago) link

I mean, if you want to be honest, and you want to take who of the four people running for national office was actually the most socialistic, it was Sarah Palin — because she administered a state that says that the oil revenues are collectively owned...

BECK: Right.

LLEWELLYN: ... and she used her position as governor to force the oil companies to pay the state more money, which they then redistributed to the people. Now, I have a feeling that that's what Chavez does in Venezuela, that people like you criticize him for. So, you know, that would, at least, be a more serious discussion .

BECK: Right.

LLEWELLYN: ... than the type of discussion that's appeared in magazines and whatever.

BECK: OK, Frank...



https://www.foxnews.com/story/a-socialists-perspective-on-america#

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Saturday, 17 October 2020 23:15 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/projects/social-wealth-fund/

I didn’t know about Alaska

― 𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Saturday, October 17, 2020 6:19 PM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

imo the social wealth dividend is the best way to fund a UBI

flopson, Saturday, 17 October 2020 23:55 (two weeks ago) link

why is that flopson?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 20 October 2020 21:06 (one week ago) link

i'm kinda of two minds about it

a trad public finance economics answer goes something like: 'the government should raise money via the optimal tax portfolio. it has the power of taxation; there's no reason for it to tax to spend to buy stocks and then pay out the dividends as transfers. it can just tax and transfer directly'

however, this ignores administrative difficulties across taxing different income sources. wealth is hard to tax and previous attempts were unsuccessful at raising much money; of the twelve european countries had wealth taxes in 1990, only 3 still have them, and they aren't huge sources of revenue. wealth is hard to tax for a variety of banal reasons, many (but not all) of which are related to avoidance/enforcement: people can report wealth just below the tax threshold (the literature in empirical public finance on "bunching" finds lots of evidence of this with wealth taxes), they can exploit asset exemptions and shift the portfolio of wealth, and they can stash revenue abroad or expatriate.

some taxes are harder to implement and raise more money than others. the nordics get huge government revenues with broad-based consumption taxes and VATs. technically speaking these taxes are regressive (since poor people spend a larger share of their income on consumption than the rich), but that regressivity can easily be netted out by a progressive structure in other parts of the tax code

saez and zucman argue that this time is different, and with the right policy we can tax wealth properly this time and raise tonnes of money. maybe they're right; i don't know. they make a good case, but it's hard to tell ex ante what will happen. there are also other things you can do like estate taxes that get to wealth and are much easier to administer

wealth is insanely unequally distributed and so is the flow income from it. so we really want to somehow redistribute that value, if not with a wealth tax then by some other means. buying up wealth and redistributing the flow income using a SWF is super easy.

also, politically, i think it's an easy sell. contrast SWF with a UBI funded by a tax on personal income. say the UBI is 10k per year. people above some level of income will pay more in personal income taxes for the UBI than they receive from it. will they still support the UBI? maybe. to the extent that the distribution of personal income is skewed, the group of people who pay more into the UBI than they pay in will be smaller. income is pretty skewed, but it's not as skewed as wealth.

in an SWF, there is a one-time purchase (or, if you're really radical, expropriation) of wealth that has to be paid for. but after that, the UBI funds just flow from the dividends. and those dividends would have been going to the wealth holders, who we already know are a tiny group.

i also think it's easy to sell politically. people hate the ultra wealthy, dramatically underestimate how unequally distributed wealth is, and become way more in favour of taxing wealth when you tell them how unequally distributed it is (see this paper on estate tax https://www.nber.org/papers/w18865). SWF seems to me to be a good way to get tax-phobic USA to get on board with redistributing wealth

flopson, Saturday, 24 October 2020 21:54 (one week ago) link

A wealth tax (2% over $50 million, 3% over a billion) could fund a $80/month UBI, a 20% VAT could fund a $800 UBI. So while a wealth tax would be more progressive on the tax side, when taking both sides into account the VAT UBI would cut poverty more. Might as well do both though

— James Medlock (@jdcmedlock) September 26, 2020

^ btw caek if u don't already, this account is a must-follow for left public finance. kinda like matt bruenig without the constant political hot takes that get him cancelled every other week

flopson, Saturday, 24 October 2020 22:05 (one week ago) link

wow, great post flopson

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 24 October 2020 22:08 (one week ago) link

thx trace :)

btw, the saez zucman BPEA piece i linked to is probably the best single thing to read on wealth taxes imho (and hopefully largely accessible)

flopson, Saturday, 24 October 2020 22:16 (one week ago) link

thank you! that makes sense.

the nordics get huge government revenues with broad-based consumption taxes and VATs. technically speaking these taxes are regressive (since poor people spend a larger share of their income on consumption than the rich), but that regressivity can easily be netted out by a progressive structure in other parts of the tax code

the can, but are they in practice? how?

SWF seems to me to be a good way to get tax-phobic USA to get on board with redistributing wealth

seems like this is demonstrably true given the existence proof of alaska.

i actually followed medlock this week ironically (i am a proposition 13 crank.)

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Sunday, 25 October 2020 03:31 (six days ago) link

seems like this is demonstrably true given the existence proof of alaska.

alaska a bit of a weird case since they didn't have to raise taxes to buy the SWF, it was just the money from alaska's oil industry. in the kind of SWF the people's policy project are proposing, the government would have to pay the value of the stocks in the first place, which would cost $$$

the can, but are they in practice? how?

in the nordics, a combo of transfers + increasing other progressive taxes; making income tax more progressive, boosting inheritance tax, paying for universal programs, etc.

flopson, Sunday, 25 October 2020 03:44 (six days ago) link


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