Thoughts on Universal Basic Income Entitlements…
Currently, the U.S. is still being ravaged owing to the consequences of the horribly managed COVID-19 response by ex-president Donald Trump. We need $2,000 universal recurrent checks until this crisis is over. At this time, it is a matter of life and death.
I have been for universal basic income (UBI) for over a decade.
UBI would be a monthly dollar amount given to everyone. The UBI would have no requirements other than everyone would receive it.
Universal is a legal definition. It means everyone and not means-tested.
Means-tested is a legal term that means that you have to fit under a particular criteria.
Entitlement is a legal term. It means mandatory funding.
Receiving the income would solely be based on being alive and living here. It would not take away any of the social services that currently exist. It could not be used as income to take away food stamps, housing, or childcare. It isn’t replacing our pathetic means-test based safety net. It wouldn’t punish the poor. It would be in addition to our pathetic means-tested based safety net.
UBI would look very different than the guaranteed minimum income, which is specifically for the economically oppressed. We know how programs specifically for the poor look in the United States, thanks to Republicans and certain neo-liberals, like Clinton, it looks like a dystopian nightmare.
Some people’s reason for not supporting UBI is because it still lets capitalism be capitalism. I disagree with that argument. Being forced to work a job under capitalism is still letting capitalism be capitalism. Even worse, it is NOT giving you time to educate yourself, speak with your neighbors, relax, or spend time with your family.
The 40-hour workweek, with housing costs out of control, with no universal healthcare, and a higher education system that forces the average person into debt, will not bring forth a revolution or give you more control.
Do you feel you have control of your life now?
This idea that people will rise up through just the right amount of suffering is not how human behavior works.
Labor under laissez-faire capitalism is set up to stop people from thinking, socializing, and even critiquing their current situation. You lack time to do anything, but not die. Even the so-called middle class is in this situation.
The writers and philosophers that many people on the left admire were able to do that writing and thinking owing to inheritances, benefactors, and grants. Most weren’t planning revolutions while working 40-60 hour a week job. Possibly the white men part makes it seem more reasonable.
This idea that to feel whole, I need to spend most of my day working or performing a service for an exploitative amount of money is a harmful narrative put out by the wealthy, and we need to stop embracing it.
We need to stop embracing puritanical values from religious texts that justify our oppression.
Owing to technology, many tasks no longer require the entire day to complete, and that can be good if we realize that labor needs to change.
We don’t need a $15.00 an hour 40-hour workweek. We need an $80.00 an hour 10-hour workweek. In jobs that require a physical presence, we need job shares. There would be plenty for people to do, and with the addition of UBI a comfortable lifestyle for those people doing it.
Corporations are making unprecedented amounts in profits. The rich are getting richer. The money is there to make this happen.
The Feds bestowed Wall Street $1.77 trillion under the CARES Act, Wolf Richter stated “If the Fed had sent that $1.77 Trillion to the 130 million households in the US, each household would have received $13,600.”
The paradigm of labor in the 21st century does not need to be the labor paradigm in the 20th century. It can’t be unless we like the idea of working for work’s sake, because we have so little faith in our fellow citizens that we feel that free time will lead to “devil’s work.”I suspect that is why many of the U.S. public balks at the idea of a 20-hour workweek or 10-hour workweek and Universal Basic Income, is because they are racist, because that is always why the U.S. ruins its life, at least the white ones.
Much of U.S. does not like the idea of just letting those people and (those people are Indigenous, Black, Chicano, Puerto Rican) do nothing. That is sinful, so they think what we should have instead is a guaranteed work program.
A guaranteed work program is a FORCED work program, and the U.S. already did that. It was called slavery. Then it was called the Black Codes, then morphed in the Prison Industrial Complex ,then it morphed into things like forcing Black people to take care of children for the betterment of Black people, through welfare to work also know as TANF, right?
I don’t like the guaranteed job idea. This country is too racist to do that correctly.
That’s what this job guarantee will become and what it may ultimately be about, because the wealthy, the educated, and anyone who can deductively see the writing on the wall can see that working, the way it was, is no longer necessary.
In the U.S. there still is this problem with the idea of freedom. Specifically, freedom applied equally and equitably across races.
I hope that white America doesn’t again cut off its nose to spite its face, because the idea of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people being free to think and dream like rich white men from the 19th century is too much of a nightmare proposition.