atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6719: A summer day

I mean, it's actually a summer day out there. The cloud layer broke up so it's not 100% cloudy any longer. It's warm enough to wear shorts and be comfortable. I ended up turning on the AC because it was getting too warm in the house.

Now to see if it lasts. What's tomorrow like?

* * *

Cut federal money to any city which willfully obstructs federal agencies. The funny thing would be if the feds faked them out and did the raids on a different day so they weren't ready for it.

* * *

Our economy cannot support a universal basic income. The same way our economy in 1965 could not support everyone having a supercomputer in his back pocket.

I oppose the creation of UBI right now because we can't afford it; there is no way to make such a program affordable, and all it would do is raise the cost of living by whatever the UBI was. Give everyone $1,000 a month and pretty soon they'll need $2,000 a month.

What needs to happen first is for manual labor to be replaced with capital, wherever possible. That will not be a quick process, nor will it be painless; but it is as inevitable as the tides. Sooner or later robots will price humans out of nearly the entire unskilled jobs market. Given that and some power source which is too cheap to meter--maybe fusion?--that point, a UBI might be possible; but it would only happen after a massive deflationary depression.

My favorite example of this is the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs. You feed sheet metal, wire, paper, and the components of glass in one end of the factory; at the other end, out come light bulbs, neatly packed in boxes. Human involvement in their manufacture is extremely limited. That's why they remained so cheap that you can still buy a four-pack of the things for a buck: almost no human involvement in their manufacture. Imagine the same thing happening across other industries, until the only people employed by factories are the ones who tend the machines.

Eventually things get to the point that making twenty million units instead of two million becomes an incremental cost; and then providing people with food, clothing, shelter, and telecommunications is cost-trivial. Out of a thousand credits a month perhaps three-quarters would get used for basic living expenses and the rest is disposable. There are no penalties for saving or investing, and you receive a monthly UBI credit regardless of what you do for a living or how much money you earn. But you receive no other funding, no other welfare, no other benefits. It's up to you to budget and spend wisely. There are free government classes that will teach you how to do that.

Incidentally, enrolling to get your UBI gives you a government-issued photo ID card. You must present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote, and the UBI card qualifies.

It is not going to happen tomorrow; it can't. Any attempt to implement a UBI soon will end in disaster, particularly considering that UBI would be in addition to other welfare benefits; but also, we have fifty-odd years of "Great Society" welfare state to clean up after.

The points in the article:

1) UBI can't address the root causes of poverty and inequality. It's not meant to. It's meant solely to make sure people can afford to live who are too stupid or lazy to work.

2) People may spend it to ruin their lives. You mean, on booze and drugs? So--if you are an adult, how you live is your business, and if you choose to drink yourself into an early grave that is your choice. The people need to take responsibility for themselves. Besides, these same people are the ones currently stealing or prostituting themselves to get money to feed their addictions, anyway. Government can't fix that and it should stop trying.

3) It will get bigger. That's up to the populace. UBI can't work in today's society where schools are leftist indoctrination centers and no one bothers to think. In a society with real education, that changes, and people will oppose the expansion of the UBI if the expansion is unwarranted.

4) Government gets power from doing this. Look around you. With the current system, the government has already created a permanent, ignorant, idle underclass which cannot do anything for itself, but which is always guaranteed to vote for more government.

The UBI could be used as both carrot and stick, as the article contends; but one could say the same thing for every single welfare program that currently exists.

In summary, then: I oppose UBI in any shape or form, but only because our economy and society cannot support it. Power costs too much. Raw materials cost too much. Labor costs too much. And the lower classes, the people who live on government handouts now, would not do any better with a flat monthly benefit than they do with targeted benefits like WIC and Medicaid.

It'll be something out of science fiction for some time.

* * *

Well, we missed seeing Endgame in the theater, but it turns out we'll have another shot at it, as they're putting it back out with a couple of new scenes. Might be worth going to after all.

* * *

Very true.

* * *

Man, it's after 7.

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