Here’s a thing to read: These Policies Could Move America Toward a Universal Basic Income.
Universal Basic Income is one of those ideas that strikes me as the sort of thing that looks good on paper, but probably doesn’t actually work in real life. I’m not sure if that’s true – smart people claim the math works. Other smart people claim it doesn’t. I, myself, am not smart enough to be sure either way.
The idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is that the government just gives everyone an allotment of money, regardless of their personal circumstances. Twelve thousand a year is the number mentioned in the article I linked to.
I’ve lived on $1,000 a month before – it’s not awesome. It can be done, but there’s no fun in it. But you get that money no matter what, so, in theory, you’d go get a part-time job to supplement it. Or a roommate or partner. Whatever works.
Also, in theory, UBI would mean an end to welfare programs like SNAP and WIC. Possibly also programs like Social Security, depending on who you’re talking to about it. Some even go as far as saying you’d get UBI instead of any other social programs, up to and including things like Medicare and Medicaid. (That’s a bit extremist, in my view.)
Nobody’s ever actually done UBI before. There have been a few short-term pilot programs, and some even had some pretty promising results, but no one has ever made a complete switch to it. On one hand, that means we have no real frickin’ clue how that would work in real life. On the other hand, it means there aren’t any rules to follow, so we could set it up however we liked.
It’s an interesting idea, though, particularly as we modernize our workforce. One thing a lot of economic experts have talked about is the idea of just… running out of jobs. As we automate more and more things, and folks live longer and longer, and people have more and more babies, there’s an idea floating around that there just won’t be enough work for everyone. Which sounds a little ridiculous at first, but probably isn’t a complete impossibility.
What do we do when there aren’t enough jobs for everyone? People have to get by, so, at that point, we’re going to have to figure something out. UBI might be a solution.
I don’t know. What do you think?
Today’s Reading List
- Quartz: Internet trolls are even more hostile when they’re using their real names, a study finds
- FiveThirtyEight: Tighter Restrictions Are Losing In The Battle Over Voter ID Laws
- DSL Reports: Comcast Says It Wants to Charge Broadband Users More For Privacy
- Deadline: Viewers Won’t Adopt Existing Series If They Can’t Easily Access All Past Episodes, NBC Research Chief Says – TCA
- Salon: Republicans are doomed: How the GOP’s cynical election strategy is imploding
- Social Times: Think You Know Gamers? Think Again, Says Social Intelligence
- FiveThirtyEight: The Political Process Isn’t Rigged — It Has Much Bigger Problems
- Glamour: President Barack Obama Says, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”
(Sorry for all the Talking Points Memo links – I usually try to diversify a bit more, but the rumors and Trump drama have been flying so fast the last couple days I’m having a tough time keeping up, and TPM is all over it.)
- NBC: First Read: GOP, Trump Go From ‘Unraveling’ to ‘Break Glass’ Mode
- NBC: Trump Allies Plot Candidate Intervention After Disastrous 48 Hours
- The Hill: Trump denies asking why nukes aren’t used
- FiveThirtyEight: Is Donald Trump Blowing It?
- TPM: Former Nuke Weapons Officer Goes Off: Trump Is ‘So Damn Dangerous’
- TPM: Reports: Priebus ‘Apoplectic,’ Trump Aides ‘Suicidal’ After String Of Blunders
- TPM: How Donald Trump Is Already Doing A World Of Damage Abroad
- TPM: Trump Adviser Bashed US Policy Toward Russia In July Moscow Speech
- TPM: Megyn Kelly Loses It Over Trump Rehashing Old Dirt: ‘What Is He Doing?!’
- TPM: Was Melania Trump an “Illegal”? (Also Argh!!!)
- NPR: Donald Trump Might Be In Real Trouble This Time
- TPM: Foursquare Data Shows Trump’s Candidacy Is Hurting His Biz Empire
- The Harvard Crimson: Harvard Republican Club Will Not Support Party Nominee Donald Trump
- TPM: Protesters With Pocket Constitutions Booed And Booted From Trump Rally
I would caution against assuming this means Trump’s campaign is falling apart and he’s doomed to failure. I mean, it certainly looks that way from here, but it’s suuuuuper early in the general election, yet, folks, and he could rally. Or, more likely, the Republicans could tie him up in a closet with no Twitter access and only trot him out for carefully scripted appearances.
I would also remind folks that while we’re all busy munching popcorn and staring into the blinding light of Trump’s ego, the Koch brothers are busily funding Republicans’ down-ticket races in the hopes of keeping the House and taking back the Senate, which, at best, would mean at least two more years of getting absolutely nothing done.
And to wrap things up, Owen Ellickson, writer of funny TV things, has been having a grand old time making fun of Donald Trump for the last few months, on Twitter. You can read his tweets here. One note – Storify has a bad habit of ignoring line breaks on Twitter, so it’s helpful to know that all these tweets were written as dialogue, script-style, like so:
TRUMP: You ever notice Hillary’s eyes are the same color? Suspicious. There’s something going on there.
CHRISTIE: I qui–
TRUMP: Tweeted it
Okay. Now go watch this tiny fawn and baby bear playing.