Universal Basic Income: The reasons why it’s a terrible idea.
Andrew Yang, one of the many candidates running in the 2020 presidential race, sets himself apart from all the other Democratic candidates due to his support for Universal Basic Income (UBI). Essentially, it’s a system in which all legal citizens of the United States above the age of 18 would receive $1,000 per month, simply for being alive. There are several reasons why UBI would be a terrible practice to adopt in the United States.
If money starts getting handed out like free samples, it would cause prices to rise. Companies would take advantage of all the new money in people’s bank accounts. From the sandwich down at the fast food place to milk at the grocery store. If you owned a business and knew that everyone would be getting free money, wouldn’t you adjust the prices to match the new amounts of money people would have? It’s the same thing that would happen if federal minimum wage was raised. If there is more money going around, the prices of goods and services will rise.
There’s also no guarantee where this money would go. There are people out there who would use the money on things that wouldn’t be helpful for themselves, such as alcohol, drugs, and other illicit substances. I’m in no way saying that everyone who receives money from this program would use their benefits on those things, but there are certainly people who would.
Now for cost. According to the U.S Census Bureau, in 2019, it’s estimated that there are 253,907,200 people over the age of 18. We’ll call that 254 million. Now let’s say just for good measure that 75 percent of those citizens are apart of this UBI Program. That’s, give or take, 190 million. If each of these 190 million people receive $1,000 every month, that’s $190 billion given away every month.This amounts to more than $2.2 trillion a year.That’s one-tenth of the current national debt (currently at just over $22.5 trillion). So how would the US Government get this outrageous amount of money each year? Well,Yang claims they would be able to fully fund the program by taxing large tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google. According to Yang, the tech industry is “largely untaxed,” and taxes from this industry alone would be able to fund the more than $2 trillion price tag every year. However, this is just a hypothetical scenario. The real cost could be very different.
The reasons that lead people to think that UBI would be beneficial just wouldn’t work in the continental US. There are things that are bad about UBI, but there are also good things. You can find out about these via reading my fellow reporter Max’s story.
My name is William Thomas, and I'm a reporter for the McNeil Trailblazer. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, I moved to the lovely state of Texas in the...