As far as I can tell, the anti- Universal Basic Income arguments boil down to a few key concepts:
1) UBI=Government Slavery!
Because no one is trapped in dead end jobs that they can’t leave because they need the income? Because having a baseline income from the feds would mean you’d never get a ‘Real Job’ ever? Knowing you could try new things=slavery? I dunno, this one confuses me.
2) It’s not really FREE!
I see lots of anti-UBI articles calling it ‘free money’. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pro-UBI person claim it is free money, ever. It’s a government mandated social benefit, paid for through the common pool of societal funds- ie taxes.
There are several paths to paying for UBI, all of which usually involve restructuring the tax code so that the ‘haves’ carry a proportionately larger weight of the burden of running a civilization than the ‘have nots’ do. The same arguments comes up when people talk about ‘free education’ and ‘free healthcare’; free meaning the consumer does not pay a direct ‘point of sale’ fee is different from free meaning no one pays for it ever.
3) But Lazy People!!
This buys into the Work=Worth lie. People are offended by the idea that some people might not Get A Job. Why? There’s no truth to the canard that you have to be employed to be a good human being. People can do many worthy things that don’t pay $. Why is it so very offensive to you, that someone might choose to leave the workforce if they got a UBI? Why does this knot your knickers so?
4) I don’t want MY money going to THOSE people.
The tried and true prejudice of “I’ve got mine, fu*k you”, & having to prove neediness. It’s all about the ‘have nots’ needing to grovel the right way to the ‘haves’, before the haves will drop alms. Like someone said recently:
“Welfare to the poor is a ‘handout’, welfare to the rich is ‘stimulus’.”
We, as a society, hand ‘free’ money to the wealthy all the time in the form of corporate bailouts, stimulus, tax breaks. We spend far more $ there than welfare programs, but welfare recipients have exponentially more hoops to jump through every month. UBI helps mitigate the classism and racism inherent in our welfare system- and that makes some people VERY uncomfortable.
5) UBI is Communism!
I’m pretty sure the people making this claim know almost nothing about UBI, or Communism. Communism is “…a socioeconomic order structured on common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state.”. I guess you could make the argument that UBI is sort of a form of common ownership, but not at all in the Communistic sense.
6) UBI is Socialism!
Fundamentally the same as the Communist! argument, and fundamentally the same lack of understanding. Yes, UBI is a social program. So is Social Security. So is Medicaid. So are public utilities and our interstate freeway systems. The USA has used ‘social ownership and control’ as a method since day one. It only got ‘socialism’ as a boogieman when someone took it to an extreme political ideology, and then acted like an asshat to the rest of the world over it.
The facts are that every unbiased assessment of UBI so far shows that it is a viable social & economic policy. Yes, the fine details need worked out. Yes, it requires a significant mental, political and policy shift in the USA. But none of the above arguments actually hold up to the facts, and most of them are based in prejudice and selfishness, not economics.