Why Basic Income needs to be UNIVERSAL.

I’ve seen people say they like the idea of basic income, but there should be an income cap, or some sort of “well, rich people don’t need it…” limit.

No.

Basic income must be given, universally, to all individual citizens regardless of age, marital status, household size, ability, race, religion, etc etc etc.

Why? Because as soon as you start getting into “Well, these people need the money, and these people don’t…” as a criteria for receiving a social benefit, you hit the entirely too familiar merry-go-round of saying that some people are more deserving of ‘help’ than others. You get to where saying what that upper limit of income and assets ceiling is a mutable, adjustable thing, subject to the whims of politicians.

You get the the Haves, being able to say what the Have Nots can and can’t do, can and can’t have, what hoops they must just through to prove their worth. You get value judgements. You get claims of people ‘leeching’ the system. You get enforced poverty, like we have now.

Basic Income belongs to everyone, even the people you think don’t ‘deserve‘ it- for whatever reason.

Despite what some people say- Basic Income is not a ‘handout’. It is a social contract benefit- just like having access to municipal water systems, or being on the electrical grid and sewer system, or driving on publicly maintained roads. Just because it involves cash instead of product, doesn’t make it a “handout”.

Everyone benefits from those programs, even the rich (trust me, they all have bathrooms that flush into the same sewage system as the rest of us…). We pay our taxes into the public trust, as part of their membership dues of civilization, so we can have things like roads and water and electricity.

Ideally, the people who make more money, are paying more in membership dues, because they are capable of sharing more of the load of providing the benefits of civilization to society; we don’t say “Ooooo, you make too much money, you can’t drive these roads.” or “Sorry, you’re over the income limit, you’re going to have to install your own sewage system.” or even “Well, you have enough money to buy books, so you can’t have a library card.”

So why would we do that with Basic Income? If we are really invested in the idea of BI as a social foundation, as something that is our right as human beings in a mature society, then we have to stop expressing it as just another type of welfare for the poor, or a safety net for the unemployed-by-robots.