Tag Archives: Inequality

Could Universal Basic Income Actually Make Inequality Worse?

Could Universal Basic Income Actually Make Inequality Worse?

Matt Weidinger

Politics, Americas

“Universal basic income” could quickly become just “basic income” for the poor — that is, a massive new welfare program that supplants work.

Want to help low-income families rise out of poverty?  Connect key welfare benefits with work and “make work pay” by offering subsidies for those who get a job. That’s basically been the anti-poverty policy consensus on the left and right since welfare reform in the 1990s. And as recent reports have shown, the pro-work strategy worked. When poverty is calculated in terms of what Americans consume (which implicitly captures all the government benefits the “official” poverty measure omits), “consumption poverty” continues to fall to historic lows.

But policymakers never rest, especially when fears of a looming robot apocalypse can be leveraged to create new government programs. That’s behind the latest hot topic in anti-poverty policy — “universal basic income” or UBI. UBI forms the heart of outsider democrat Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign, and Marianne Williamson recently jumped on board the UBI bandwagon as well. With them outpolling several DC insiders, expect more focus on UBI ahead.

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