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Eiuol

Universal basic income

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On 7/2/2019 at 12:56 AM, thenelli01 said:

It introduces a new moral principle/norm into government policy and expands the welfare state in a fundamental way.

That's what I used to think. Sure, on the one hand, it is creating a permanent safety net, which will include both those who need it and those who don't need it. But the reasons to get it - if it's based on citizenship - aren't really different than how generally the US government and basically any other government treats the society we live in as a social contract. I don't think I need to get into why this isn't good.

But we still need to consider that there is a different norm being introduced here, which is freedom to decide on your own needs, and for you to decide on your own how to spend your own money. I find it much more damaging when the government assert any right to decide things for you on an individual level. That is, although we get a stable and simple program that might be harder to get rid of eventually than existing welfare programs, there is an explicit assertion that the government will stand out of your way. Pretty big change in the right direction if you ask me.

You're right that this is basically "better poison", which I think is actually the most good that can come out of the political system in terms of gradual changes through Congress, the president, or the Supreme Court. Poison is bad for you no matter how you look at it. But it's the best you'll get. This is why I think more radical changes must come from outside the formal political system. Direct action and protest, things like that, are the only thing that would make a difference in the long run. Concession (more like Machiavellian pragmatism is how I would describe it) for better poisons is sensible enough, as long as you also support direct actions against the wholly poisonous parts.

That's the line of thinking I would use to decide on any candidate.
 

Split from this thread: 

 

Edited by Eiuol

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22 hours ago, Eiuol said:

As I said, I'm not trying to support him philosophically, I only much care about candidates in a consequentialist way for the most part.

To help pay for UBI, Yang proposes a 10% VAT. What do you think will be the consequences of that

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The point of those articles are regulations pertaining to the government controlling how products can and should be used usually only results in a black market. I don't see how it follows. 

If anything, existing welfare programs encourage people to hide what they make (no one can realistically live off welfare, they need to work), and that creates an underground economy. If you get a flat amount each month, then you don't need to worry about whether the government approves of what you spend your money on, or if you're creative enough to find more sources of money for yourself. 

If you want to talk about UBI in general, not specific to Yang, I'd probably split the thread. Makes it easier to focus our discussion.

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18 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The point of those articles are regulations pertaining to the government controlling how products can and should be used usually only results in a black market. I don't see how it follows. 

The points are:

1. Higher tobacco taxes have caused an increase in the black market for tobacco.

2. Black markets in Europe exist because people don't want to pay higher taxes and obey regulations.

3. In heavily taxed and regulated economies, the increase in black markets is countered by an increase in government administration to deal with the problem.

So Yang's VAT will lead to an increase in black markets, where the legal product becomes too expensive for people who want it. This further drives people into illegal trade. The government then has to create more bureaucracy to deal with the VAT criminals. Seems like a stiff price to pay, just so we can give everyone free money.

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1. Because tobacco is a product people want, taxed in such a way that it is treated substantially different than any other product. I don't think that reasoning applies to taxes pertaining to sales or the supply chain, because no good or service is treated uniquely. Taxes meant to regulate behavior are different. This would not be a consequence of UBI or VAT.

2. I don't think you can claim that black market is merely arise from higher taxes. There probably would need to be a threshold (isn't the US taxed and regulated to less of a degree than most of Europe?), and from what I know, necessarily involves a regulated product or service. VAT isn't a product or service regulation. You could argue that all taxes are regulations on trade, but if you do that, you still should recognize that it is still not a regulation on a specific product or service (as is the case for drugs, firearms, sex services, and things like that).

3. Deal with what problem? A black market isn't necessarily an issue, at least if it doesn't involve potentially dangerous situations. There are certainly black markets that happen all the time, especially involving food, like lemonade stands. But that's a nonissue, because force isn't at stake really. The government probably isn't happy about that, but still doesn't seem particularly vigilant about it. A black market for prostitution though can be very dangerous, because sexual assault is a risk, since sex workers can't go to law enforcement without putting themselves in danger of getting arrested. In any case, you might be right that VAT may require additional administration for no other reason than because it's an additional program.

Anyway, I'm not really arguing that VAT is a good idea (and I don't know enough about economics to make the case that VAT is worth its price in bureaucracy), just that I think UBI wouldn't have these consequences. 

Do you mind if I split the thread so we can talk about UBI specifically? Yang is less my concern personally.

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