Category Archives: Poverty

Bookworm Beat 04/07/19 — the Universal Basic Income illustrated edition

Universal Basic Income is the touchstone of this illustrated edition, but there’s more, such as socialism, Bernie, Biden, gender, immigration, and avocados.

This will be an illustrated edition, but I first want to say a few words about Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang and his Universal Basic Income idea. Before I get to the substance, I want to congratulate Yang for talking to Ben Shapiro about his ideas. It was the kind of civilized discussion that America deserves, far from the hysterical, agenda-driven, drive-by media. Shapiro notes that he has invited all the candidates to his podcast, but only Yang accepted the invitation.

But….

While I greatly respect Yang for reaching out to a different audience and engaging in a civilized debate, I cannot agree with his primary idea, which is the Universal Basic Income. As best as I can tell, it’s just welfare by another name. That’s because Yang sees it, not as just a handout to everyone, or a handout to everyone in a certain income bracket. Instead, he sees it as an alternative to welfare or to disability. He’s into the psychology of it: People will not see themselves as welfare cases or as disabled. I don’t believe that will be the case. I think it will be an incentive for those who don’t want to work.

I’ve talked about those people before. Thanks to a friend of mine, I, unlike most college educated, middle- to upper-middle class Leftists have seen many of the permanently unemployed or underemployed up close and personal. Either they don’t work at all or, if they do work, their jobs never last. Why don’t they last? They don’t last because these people are not committed to jobs. They don’t show up, they get bored, they call in sick for every little thing, their substance abuse gets in the way. And most importantly, they don’t mind the minimal lifestyle of food stamps and other welfare payments. They are not upwardly mobile; they are couch-wardly mobile.

Here’s something to think about: To the extent my friend’s friends have broken that cycle, they’ve done it in one way and one way only — they’ve become Born-Again Christians. No fooling. I don’t know if finding God changes them or if they’re changing and finding God is just one change among many. It’s that, though, that gets them off drugs and on to reliability and that gets them off welfare and on to self-sufficiency. All the government payments do is maintain a very low-level but, to them, satisfying status quo.

Ultimately, Universal Basic Income is just another Big Government program that will not help the poor and that will not help the economy in the way Yang imagines. He’s correct that we are at an employment hinge point in history, with AI and other robotics about to squeeze many out of jobs, but Universal Basic Income is not going to the fix he thinks it will be.

Anyway, here’s that illustrated edition, starting with two Universal Basic Income pictures:


And now for the rest of that illustrated edition:



































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Steve Hilton: Beware the populism of the left (video)

In between dozing off last night with the television on in the background  I caught tidbits of The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton which airs Sunday night’s on the Fox News channel.  One such block was Hilton’s discussion on “The Right kind of Populism” and populism of the left’

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“Blexit” — It’s time for America’s blacks to vote themselves out of the Democrat Party

Fifty years of data show that Democrat policies harm American blacks. All the promises of the post-Civil Rights era have failed. Worse, America’s Democrat leadership, especially its black Democrat leadership, no longer makes even a pretense of serving the needs of the American Black community.

Democrat elites, both white and black, are just like the European Union’s elites:  serving themselves — their values and their bank accounts — without no regard for the people they ostensibly represent. Both the Democrats and the EU leadership ride roughshod over ordinary people’s values and ignore their needs. It’s high time, therefore, for American Blacks to have their own Brexit moment — call it a “Blexit” if you will — and turn their backs on the Democrat Party that has served them so badly.

In 1964, you had to give the Democrats credit for adaptability: After spending the late 1950s and early 1960s fighting desperately against the Civil Rights Movement, once it was a done deal they surveyed the landscape and realized that they could use the movement to their advantage. By attaching African Americans firmly to the government teat, Democrats figured that they could rely on a pacified black voting bloc to achieve perpetual political power. Indeed, LBJ is alleged to have made the politically incorrect boast that the Civil Rights act ensured that “I’ll have those n*****s voting Democrat for two-hundred years.”

Sadly, the Great Society legislation that LBJ and his Democrats instituted, while it has ensured those reliable black votes, has continued an American pattern:  Every bad thing that has happened to blacks in America has been the result of government forces. Slavery lasted because the Southern legal system brutally supported it. Likewise, the Jim Crow era lasted as long and as virulently as it did because, again, the Southern legal system brutally supported it.

It’s almost certain that, without rigorously enforced laws separating facilities, criminalizing “miscegenation,” and foreclosing education and work opportunities, the free market would have improved black lives in the South. As Milton Friedman explained, in Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition, the free flow of wealth, without legislation and regulation impeding non-violent, non-fraudulent conduct, is the single best and fastest way to end just about any type of discrimination:

Read more here.