Recurring UBI Themes

This post is compiled from a Twitter thread by @BringBackLevity, who graciously gave me permission to share it:



I’ve been watching a fair amount of the debate between and proponents like . It’s been quite useful for identifying the sticking points. I noticed some recurring themes that illustrate a need for clarification in any messaging around the subject.

1) UBI is not a handout, it’s an investment.
The instinct to attach a work requirement to government assistance comes from viewing the money as a giveaway.  This isn’t a present for people to go have a good time. It’s an investment in their well-being and in their future.

Rather than giving people money in exchange for their time, we should give them money and let them use their time *more* productively than that. People want to live and to do good things. We don’t have to demand compensation from people. We just need to invest in ourselves.

2) The universality of the plan is the only way to stop people from falling through cracks in the system; as millions do today.
No system can factor in all the complexities of American life. Better to offer help to all those not in need than to fail to help anyone who needs it.

Taxation should be progressive. Government programs should be universal, including and especially, financial assistance. If you want to adjudicate relative societal contributions, taxation is the mechanism for that. Attempts to offer assistance unevenly are deeply misguided.

3) The realities of work in the 21st century (gig economy and ever higher turnover rates) mean that even full-time professionals in many fields can suddenly have a bad month and come up short.
     Many have unpredictable incomes. UBI is the only realistic way to give them stability. Federal job programs have their place. They can accomplish a lot. But they should exist on top of a Universal Basic Income. If we start by helping people with food and shelter every month, they will be happier, healthier, mentally healthier, and so, be better members of society.

Often the underlying ideology behind the view that we need a FJG *instead* of a UBI is that people need jobs for a sense of purpose, & so must be required to work for the money. Give them money. They’ll find their own purpose. And it will be far more fulfilling *and* productive.