Basic Income

Apr

Saturday

29

Part Two: The New Gilded Age of AI, Fuck You Money, and a Post-Capitalist Society

Part Two:

This is a Three Part Series:

It's time for a Basic Income, a nonpartisan plea:

What Does Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, the Government of Alaska and Richard Nixon have in common?

They all have at some point gave support for a Basic Income.

A History of Universal Basic Income

A few versions of a UBI include:

Alaska's Permanent Fund

The Alaska Permanent Fund, established in 1976, is a constitutionally protected fund that provides an annual dividend to eligible Alaskan residents. It was initially funded from the state's share of oil revenue collected from taxes and royalties on North Slope oil production. In 1982, the Alaska Legislature passed the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) statute which created the Permanent Fund Corporation as a public corporation to manage, invest and protect the assets of the Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to ensure that the natural resources in Alaska are used for the benefit of all Alaskans. The APFC invests its funds in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate and other markets. All investments must be made in accordance with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Investment Policy. The earnings from these investments are used to pay dividends to eligible Alaskan residents each year, as well as for other state expenses.

The dividend amount is determined by a formula based on the Fund's average five-year net income, adjusted for inflation and population growth. Since 1982, the average dividend amount paid to Alaskans has been around $1,000 per year.

The Alaska Permanent Fund is managed by a Board of Trustees that consists of five members appointed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature. The Board is responsible for setting investment policies, making investment decisions and monitoring the performance of investments. The Board also oversees the distribution of dividends and works to ensure that the fund is managed effectively.\

The Alaska Permanent Fund has become a source of pride for many Alaskans, providing an annual dividend that helps to support households in various ways. It has proven to be a successful model for encouraging responsible use and preservation of natural resources while providing economic benefits to Alaskans.

The Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit is a credit available to families with children under age 17. It can provide up to $2,000 per qualifying child and up to $1,400 of that amount may be refundable. This credit can help reduce the amount of taxes owed and even result in a tax refund if it exceeds what you owe in taxes.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is an income support program that provides a minimum level of financial security to citizens, typically regardless of their employment status or income levels. UBI programs can be funded through taxes or government grants and are designed to supplement existing social welfare programs rather than replace them. With UBI, people receive a set amount of money on a regular basis, usually monthly. This income can be used to cover expenses such as housing, food, and medical care. UBI programs have been proposed in numerous countries around the world and are gaining traction with lawmakers who believe it could help reduce poverty levels and inequality.

Both the Child Tax Credit and Universal Basic Income have the potential to provide much-needed financial relief for many individuals and families. The Child Tax Credit can help reduce taxes owed or even provide a refund if it exceeds what you owe, which could be especially beneficial for lower income households with children. UBI, on the other hand, provides an ongoing source of income that can supplement existing social welfare programs and potentially reduce poverty levels. While these two programs may serve similar purposes, they are also distinct in many ways and can be used in different ways to provide financial assistance to those in need.

Ultimately, the Child Tax Credit and Universal Basic Income are two distinct yet complementary programs that have the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of many individuals and families. In order to ensure that these programs are as effective as possible, it is important for policy makers to consider how they can be used in tandem to provide the most comprehensive level of financial security.


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By implementing both the Child Tax Credit and Universal Basic Income programs and creating policies that take into account their differences and similarities, policy makers can help to ensure that individuals and families are better able to manage their financial security., these programs could be used in combination with other social welfare policies, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or public health insurance programs, to provide a more comprehensive level of support for people in need. By working together, policy makers can help to ensure that people have access to the financial support they need and deserve.

Freedom Dividend

Andrew Yang's Freedom Dividend is a policy that seeks to provide every American adult with a universal basic income of $1,000 per month. The goal of the policy is to help Americans stay afloat in today’s ever-changing economy and technology-driven job market. It would be funded by taxes on the top one percent of earners, large corporations, and a value-added tax.


The Freedom Dividend would provide financial stability to Americans by providing them with an income they can rely on month-to-month. This will help millions of people who are struggling to make ends meet due to job losses or low wages. It's estimated that it would lift 1 million Americans out of poverty and create more than 2 million new jobs.


The Freedom Dividend would also help close the gap between the wealthy and the poor, providing all adults with a base level of income regardless of their circumstances. It could also encourage entrepreneurship as people would be free to pursue their own business ideas without fear of financial hardship

Wealth Tax - It's Inevitable

Currently, the United States does not have a wealth tax. This means that wealthy individuals are not subject to taxes based on their total net worth. Elizabeth Warren, who ran for President of the United States in 2020, proposed implementing a wealth tax as part of her platform.


If passed, this two-percent annual tax would be applicable for any person or family with a net worth above $50 million. According to Warren's plan, this tax would raise around three trillion dollars in revenue over ten years, money that could be used to fund initiatives like Universal Child Care and tuition-free college education.


Opponents of the proposal argue that it could lead to wealthy individuals moving their assets or income to offshore accounts, leading to a decreased tax base. Furthermore, they argue that this could be challenged as unconstitutional in court due to the fact that it would target a certain class of people.


At this point, it is still uncertain whether Warren's wealth tax proposal will become law. However, if passed, it could drastically change the way taxes are collected in the United States. Time will tell whether this proposal is accepted, but it's clear that if passed, it could have a major impact on the US economy.

Billionaires who Support a Universal Basic Income

There is no shortage of Billionaires who have stated there support for Universal Basic Income. Many recognize the tragectory of where technological advancements are going and optics that accumulating so much wealth has from general public. It would seem wise for the wealthiest of society to support a basic income.

Mark Zuckerberg (Meta)

“We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful,” Zuckerberg told the Harvard graduates and their guests. “We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX, Boring Company, Neuralink, X.AI, Previously OpenAI)

Elon Musk

“a massive social challenge. And I think ultimately we will have to have some kind of universal basic income (UBI). I don’t think we’re going to have a choice.”

Bill Gates

"Over time, countries will be rich enough to do this. However, we still have a lot of work that should be done — helping older people, helping kids with special needs, having more adults helping in education”

Richard Branson

“basic minimum earnings so that there is nobody that is having to sleep on the street,” “One hundred percent, I think that is really important.”

Jack Dorsey

So, every single field is going to be touched by automation, And ubi to me, represented a floor, a floor that people could stand on. Um, and really have the the knowledge and peace of mind. Ultimately. That they could survive and eat and feed their children while they are learning how to transition. Into this new world. It doesn't mean that they don't work. It means that they have A floor with which to, to build and to Um, get to a skill stack that Would be. Um, more relevant in this in this future. - Jack Dorsey

Richard Nixon and Milton Friedman's

Richard Nixon's Proposal on a Basic Income

Nixon's welfare plan aimed to reduce poverty and inequality in the United States. He proposed a guaranteed income for all citizens, which would provide them with an income regardless of their employment status. This would replace existing welfare programs such as food stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In addition, Nixon proposed a range of other initiatives to reduce inequality and increase opportunity. He proposed expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), increasing access to jobs through job training programs, providing more funding for public housing, and improving education by investing in Head Start. In addition, his plan included an increased minimum wage and measures to limit discrimination in the workplace. Ultimately, Nixon hoped that these measures would help people escape poverty and inequality by providing them with greater access to resources and opportunities.

Nixon's proposed welfare plan was ambitious and progressive for its time, but ultimately it was not implemented.

Nixon's plan was abandoned as a result of the Speenhamland experiment, which was famously misrepresented by a royal commission in 1795. The Speenhamland experiment provided every citizen with a basic income against rising food prices and, though it worked well on the surface, it was falsely accused of causing social problems afterward. This misunderstanding of the Speenhamland experiment led to Nixon pulling his own plan, which was a great disappointment for those who saw basic income as an answer to poverty and economic inequality. Despite this setback, there have been many attempts in the past few decades by various governments and private organisations to push for basic incomes as part of their social policies. Though no major country has fully adopted a basic income as of yet, it still remains on the agenda and is the subject of much debate and discussion. It appears that the idea of a basic income may never truly disappear, although its practicality in terms of implementation remains to be seen.

President Nixon

Milton Friedman

Sam Altmans Support For UBI

In 2021 Sam Altman wrote "The Moor's Law of Everything".

In as little as 10 years, AI could generate enough wealth to pay for every adult in the US $13,500 a year.
“We could do something called the American Equity Fund,” wrote Altman. “The American Equity Fund would be capitalized by taxing companies above a certain valuation 2.5% of their market value each year, payable in shares transferred to the fund, and by taxing 2.5% of the value of all privately-held land, payable in dollars.”

Lets not forget that Sam is a self acknowledged capitalist who wants AI to succeed. His proposal may be well meaning but can also be interpreted as a CEO who wants his company to succeed so much that we end up with a predicament of having to tax the billions of dollars that Open AI could generate.

Sam Altmans Charitable UBI and Open Research Non-profit

In addition to OpenAI, Altman co-founded UBI Charitable in 2015 — a nonprofit organization dedicated to researching and deploying Universal Basic Income (UBI) programs. UBI Charitable’s mission is to provide no-strings-attached payouts as an alternative economic system in preparation for automation replacing human labor. Backed by Altman's funds, UBI Charitable has already funded at least two UBI program. Altman has funded the program in the millions and it has distributed millions as well.

Open Research was originally YCombinators Non-profit Arm

On OpenResearch.org it states:
The most comprehensive study of basic income in the United States

"In the US, extreme poverty has dramatically increased, the middle class is shrinking, and employment and incomes have become more volatile and unpredictable.

The technological and economic forces that contribute to these trends are unlikely to subside, and existing social programs have proven insufficient to stem them.

Individuals and families across the income spectrum feel this insecurity, and the poor are particularly unable to embrace opportunities that lead to long-term economic security. They don’t have the freedom to make investments in education or training, take risks that those with financial or family support often take for granted, or decide how to use public assistance to meet their specific needs.

The patchwork of programs comprising the safety net is complex, difficult to navigate, and costly to administer. Many individuals are ineligible for assistance and millions of Americans remain in poverty.

It's time for a new approach.

Basic income is a bold idea to end poverty, improve economic security, and smooth the transition as technological advances and economic dynamics reshape the nature of work. Basic income is an unconditional cash transfer guaranteed to all individuals—there are no work requirements, means tests, or restrictions on how the money can be spent. Everyone receives the income individually, in an amount sufficient to cover basic needs.

Public interest in basic income has skyrocketed as many have realized that current social spending fails to adequately meet people’s needs and prepare them for rapid changes in the labor market. Despite the buzz, no researchers have taken on the challenge of exploring what a basic income really means for individuals in the US. OpenResearch is bringing together leading researchers and leveraging the technical expertise, ingenuity, and operational strengths of Silicon Valley. This project is the first step toward defining a new social contract for the 21st century." - Open Research

Cities that Have Piloted UBI

To find the full list of cities that have piloted UBI visit https://www.mayorsforagi.org/resources

Birmingham, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Compton, California

Los Angeles, California

Long Beach, California

Mountain View, California

Oakland, California

Santa Clara County, California

San Diego and National City, California

San Francisco, California

Sonoma County, California

Stockton, California

Denver, Colorado

Gainesville, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Cook County, Illinois

Evanston, Illinois

Gary, Indiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Shreveport, Louisiana

Baltimore, Maryland

Chelsea, Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Lynn & Roxbury, Massachusetts

Minneapolis, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

Jackson, Mississippi

Newark, New Jersey

Paterson, New Jersey

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hudson, New York

Ithaca, New York

New York City, New York

Ulster County, New York

Durham, North Carolina

Providence, Rhode Island

Columbia, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Alexandria, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Tacoma, Washington

Is Universal Basic Income Enough?

No, but would be a massive paradigm shift to our economy works today. At base level, it would illustrate that the government cares for it's citizens and recognized societal shifts with economic disparities.

The idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI) being enough to sustain people financially is a controversial one. Debate has been raging over the concept since it was first proposed in the 16th century by Thomas More and revived again in the 20th century, with proponents claiming that it could provide a safety net for those living in poverty and protect them from the insecurity of unemployment.

Opponents argue that UBI is not enough to support people and could lead to an increase in welfare dependency, with individuals no longer having the incentive to work. They also point out that it could be expensive for governments to implement and may not benefit those on low incomes as much as is expected. All this being said a tax on wealth is inevitable.