The problem with Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes

How would we pay for these Utopian schemes? Here is one possibility: What if we just eliminated all military spending and Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid entitlements and used those monies to finance a UBI for the USA? Let’s do the math: $2.4 trillion (see chart below) divided by 327 million (the current population of the USA) would come to about $7,333.00 per year for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. So, assuming we had the political will to eliminate all social entitlements and military spending (which, alas, we don’t), the deeper problem with UBI is this: is $7,333.00 per person per year too little, or too much?
Image result for military spending and social security entitlements

Source: Congressional Budget Office

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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7 Responses to The problem with Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes

  1. Erle Robinson says:

    “Alas” perhaps for military spending but not for social entitlements
    Seems to me that many progressive countries in Europe and Canada have social programs that work

  2. I feel that too many people have an idealized image of UBI. They fail to consider the economic realities.

      • My pleasure. Please feel free to provide feedback.

      • I most certainly will, and I will report back in the next day or two … In the meantime, Merry Christmas!

      • Belated Merry Christmas to you as well.

      • I finally got around to reading your 12/14 blog post on “Milton Friedman’s Answer to Welfare Reform” and enjoyed it a lot, especially the way you compare and contrast Friedman’s classic NIT proposal with utopian UBI ones. (In fact, I am going to feature your excellent post on this blog when I return from my travels on the 6th.) In the meantime, did you know that Nixon proposed — and that Congress almost enacted (!) — a modified NIT plan in the early 1970s? As it happens, I an currently writing a paper about this doomed NIT plan. As I see it, one reason it was not adopted is because it did go far enough — it did not replace most welfare programs as Friedman had originally proposed — and at the same time, because it went too far (!) by providing every poor family a minimum income regardless of willingness to work. I will be posting my paper to SSRN next month, but I would be happy to share a draft with you via email….

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