Re: Guest Post - Wincome.

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Obviously if you give people a guaranteed basic income they will just stay home all day drinking and then publish annoying articles about it in The Baffler.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:29 PM
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I am skeptical that of a thousand families who received the benefit in the 70's, only a few are still around today.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:35 PM
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Hey, I never knew what "mincome" -- as used by Wiliam Gibson in the phrase "mincome arcology" in Count Zero (1986) -- meant. Neat! Anyhow, per that book, we should probably raze the Jersey projects and replace them with colossal, completely self-contained and self-sufficient space station-like planned communities where minimum income is guaranteed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:38 PM
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I haven't read the full article yet, but my principal thought is: how is providing a basic minimum income different from the federal government providing -- needing to provide -- a stopgap for failures on the part of private sector employers to provide a living wage?

That is, I find it disgusting that minimum wage incomes (or lower, in the case of tip workers) for, say, Walmart workers are sustainable only because the feds step in to subsidize the shortfall in the form of food stamps and such. I don't see how a guaranteed basic income solves this problem.

What it does do is provide some stimulus, if you will, for potential self-employment.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:39 PM
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You know, the whole 'privatize the gains, subsidize the losses' thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:41 PM
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I always find it difficult to argue for the merits of a policy like this, though not so much that it isn't easy to convince people that it's a good idea because very few people want to admit to the actual reason they might oppose it which is that it would (moderately) de-stigmatize being poor and make it harder to enforce social hierarchies. It's because I know myself well enough to know that I would absolutely be among the (pretty rare) people who would probably just decide that 16,000 or whatever is good enough if it meant I got to sit around every day and just read books/go on bike rides/drink tea/etc. In arguments I've usually resorted to "remember in school when by the time the summer ended you were kind of ready to go back because having nothing to do had lost its savor?" And most people admit that, yeah, after a while that kind of unbounded free time becomes less pleasant and they want to get back to working on stuff. But I've never hit the end of summer breaks (or longer ones) and felt any particular problem with the idea of things just always being like that.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:41 PM
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4 - I think the main difference that it's supposed to accomplish is that if Walmart wants those workers at all it has to make a better case than just "Look, you'll be able to live (even if that takes the government chipping in as well)."

That's the main thing I've heard as an advantage, and also one of the major reasons that wealthier interests are opposed to it. If you had to make a case for employees of the form "It's better than sitting around on basic income and doing what you want" rather than "It's better than watching your children starve to death" you'd see very different management/labor relationships.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:44 PM
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When AI makes 90% of workers unnecessary, 90% of everyone will be on the mincome.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:54 PM
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I have to say, I support UBI but I'm not sure how it can thrive politically if even a few people use it to do nothing - and I'm not sure that would actually be very rare, though it would transform society for the better regardless. Given most habitual voters' antipathy for anyone getting something "for sitting around".

Maybe it would be necessary to add on a 20-hour work requirement for those not childrearing or being educated, with some useful, Keynesian work available for all those who don't want to tackle the private sector. And/or a lottery for unpleasant jobs.

On the technical side, this program differed in some significant ways from the UBI as commonly bruited. It was only for certain people identified as poor enough, and the payment was reduced by fifty cents for every dollar they earned.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:04 PM
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Basically I need a UBI that accounts for Oblomovshchina in some way.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:05 PM
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And/or a lottery for unpleasant jobs.

It's only unpleasant if you are afraid of ping pong balls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:05 PM
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7: That's the main thing I've heard as an advantage, and also one of the major reasons that wealthier interests are opposed to it. If you had to make a case for employees of the form "It's better than sitting around on basic income and doing what you want" rather than "It's better than watching your children starve to death" you'd see very different management/labor relationships.

Huh. I haven't heard this explanation before; it's intriguing.

But does the basic income formula really allow for sitting around all day doing nothing? I would assume that it disallows really, truly doing nothing: that is, if you're raising children, you're doing something. If you're launching a home-based business, you're doing something. If you're an artist or some kind, you're doing something. All of which means that a UBI would need to screen recipients in a way that might seem invasive.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:20 PM
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And/or a lottery for unpleasant jobs.

I don't know about unpleasant jobs, but there have been any number of suggestions about a sort of substitute for the draft: mandatory service of some kind, whether it's helping in the recycling center or doing people's taxes for free or babysitting or providing concerts for the elderly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:24 PM
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While I'm generally in favor of a UBI, assuming reasonable details, we all have to admit that there would be a lot more bad novels to ignore in a post-UBI world.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:33 PM
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It takes as much time to ignore one bad novel as to ignore one hundred.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:35 PM
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I'm equally adept at ignoring good novels.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:38 PM
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Novels are like cats. You never know if they are dead or alive until later.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:39 PM
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Anyway, I watched Inside Job last night, and boy did it remind me of my perspective.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:41 PM
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The porn one?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:43 PM
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Might as well have been.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:45 PM
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Part of the problem, I think, is that we need to de-stigmatize doing nothing.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:46 PM
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An alternate way to think about unpleasant jobs is that a UBI would do a lot to affect the "easier jobs are lucrative/nastier jobs pay very little" dynamic that we tend to see today. You want people to wade around in sewage all day? Great - just offer them enough money to make it worthwhile compared to writing novels at home or something.* Now what we see is people who are already less desirable for other jobs being told "do this or starve", which is an easy way to depress jobs. If that's not the stick the carrot is going to need to be larger.

*Or it would be a very quick way to turn the stigma in those general jobs around pretty quickly. "Oh - you decided to do something unpleasant but really socially valuable? You're awesome!" as opposed to "You must really have had no possible other option, which means you aren't worth as much." Neither of these seem like bad things.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:53 PM
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You know, I think about this from time to time: we (collectively) give birth to a lot of people, and apparently we do not merely expect of them that they will simply be existing persons -- though that is, frankly, all we've done in giving them life -- we expect of them that they will be contributing members of society, defined as society defines this. What a bummer message for them: you can't just be, be a person, you have to actually do something productive and remunerative. No wonder so many of us freak out at that message.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:58 PM
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It takes as much time to ignore one bad novel as to ignore one hundred.

Indeed. Or ten thousand, which is why whoever writes a bad novel will spend an eternity in hell.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:01 PM
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On a personal level, I feel guilty as shit when I'm not being "productive", even in my free time. Which means I spend a lot of time feeling guilty as shit. Its a problem and it would do marvels for my stress levels if I just could get over it, and accept the value of doing nothing. As it is, I'm probably driving myself to an early heart attack.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:04 PM
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What if they don't publish it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:04 PM
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we all have to admit that there would be a lot more bad novels to ignore in a post-UBI world

I believe one William Giraldi has come up with an ingenious solution to this problem that would also boost GDP.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:10 PM
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25: Yoga, man, yoga. First rule of yoga: shut everything off. No phone, no radio, no media, no internal noise, no external noise, shut the voices off. This is politely called "me time": you do not have to do anything for this period of time. Nothing. I imagine this is roughly similar to meditation, at least as I've practiced yoga.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:16 PM
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12.last: I thought the point of a universal basic income was that you got it no matter what, so there's no need to screen, and you're allowed to do whatever. (The experiment in the OP of course isn't like that.)


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:19 PM
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I think Mathematica managed the project and wrote a final report on it. A close friend was one of the authors. Not sure if it is currently accessible. I'll ask.


Posted by: scooter | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:31 PM
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29 was also my impression, but when I did some crude math (the only kind of which I'm capable) a few months ago when I was considering a post on the topic, it seemed wildly unaffordable, even assuming it replaces the current safety net, and you tax the rich at very high levels.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:33 PM
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when I did some crude math (the only kind of which I'm capable) a few months ago when I was considering a post on the topic, it seemed wildly unaffordable

John Quiggin looked at some numbers last summer, and concluded that a UBI was probably impossible, but a guaranteed minimum income might be feasible.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:46 PM
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Yoga, man, yoga. First rule of yoga: shut everything off. No phone, no radio, no media, no internal noise, no external noise, shut the voices off. This is politely called "me time": you do not have to do anything for this period of time. Nothing.

You don't even have to do yoga?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:55 PM
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32: you have an odd way of defining "last summer".


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:55 PM
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If you don't do yoga, you look like a creep staring at the people doing yoga.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:57 PM
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32: you have an odd way of defining "last summer".

True.

I was just trying to make sure that we had the appropriate attention to detail to accurately call ourselves a "web magazine" . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 3:00 PM
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Wasn't Australia's welfare state generous enough for a while to have something like a Mincome system tried on a pretty broad scale. I recall that it supported legions of backpackers in Asia for many years, but Australia didn't seem to devolve into a state of complete torpor.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 3:05 PM
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32: Why is the UBI impossible while GMI is not? Isn't a UBI just a GMI with more people's income being filtered through the government?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 3:08 PM
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Why is the UBI impossible while GMI is not?

I was paraphrasing. Here's what he wrote.

So, what matters is making the benefit unconditional for those with no other income of their own. As a first step, that would mean paying the basic income to the 10 per cent of the population I've classed as workers dependents, raising the total cost to 9 per cent of income. That requires an increase in the total tax share from 30 to 35 per cent, which is significant, but still well within the range of ordinary variations. Assuming the tax increase is borne equally by labor and capital, the result is to reduce average post-tax earnings to 65 per cent of total income. However, because most of the benefits flow to workers' dependents, there's actually a small increase in the average income of worker households, net of taxes and transfers.

...

Summing up the exercise, I'd say that a universal basic income of the type I've sketched out here is economically feasible, but not, in the current environment, politically sustainable. However, while economic feasibility is largely a matter of arithmetic, and therefore resistant to change, political sustainability is more mutable, and depends critically on the distributional questions I've elided so far. A shift of 10 per cent of national income away from working households might seem inconceivable, but of course that's precisely what's happened in the US over the last twenty or thirty years, except that the beneficiaries have not been the poor but the top 1 per cent. So, if that money were clawed back by the state, it could fund a UBI at no additional cost to the 99 per cent.

...

I'm not sure that this is the right framework in which to analyse a Universal Basic Income, in which everyone, regardless of means, would receive the payment, financed by taxation on those receiving more than the UBI, but I'll have a go. I'll look at a UBI that would yield final incomes, net of taxes and transfers, similar to those of the guaranteed minimum I've considered. In the framework of the example, the gross cost would be equal to 30 per cent of total income. Deducting the costs of existing welfare payments that would be replaced would bring this down to 26 per cent, but taking account of people shifting from employment to the basic income would raise it again, to a bit above 30 per cent. That would imply average tax rates above 60 per cent, and with modest progressivity, marginal rates of 80 per cent for workers on above-average incomes. That's not inconceivable (existing systems of means-tested benefits cab have effective marginal rates of taxation above 80 per cent), but it seems a lot less feasible than the roughly equivalent GMI, which would be hard enough it itself.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 3:11 PM
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I recently looked at federal outlays on various social programs (unemployment, food stamps, etc.) to see what the same total amount would be spread out over the population. It was something like $1,400/person/year; if you added in half of Social Security and veteran's income supports, it doubled.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 3:49 PM
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If I had yoga on my schedule, that would be one more damn thing I have to do. The point is to do less, not more.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 4:05 PM
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1: Wray and Tcherneva comparing Basic Income and Job Guarantee. pdf, 2005, but you can find a lot more recent work on this by Wray at UMKC blog

The first is that basic income guarantees
are unlikely to achieve the objectives of alleviatin
g poverty, income inequality or poor standards of living, because these proposals have an inherent highly inflationary bias with potentially disastrous consequences for the currency...This onset of inflationary pressures, in fact, renders the basic income guarantee self-defeating.

2) I will support no program or policy that does not provide basic support for all comers, in other words necessary food, shelter, healthcare etc are guaranteed to a minimal level, no questions asked. "Spent your basic income on lottery tickets and pot, now die" is unacceptable. Since my desire is to maintain and increase the social safety net, we might as well try to make it work without the paternalistic micromanagement of the past. Yes, people lost public housing because of a pot bust. This is not an argument against public housing. Again, spent housing allowance on pot, so sleep under the bridge is unacceptable.

3) The far left critique of Basic Income (which is supported by Hardt & Negri) is partly based on the idea that it will create, discipline and control new citizen-subjects excluding immigrants, felons, and other subaltern/abject.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 4:25 PM
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it seemed wildly unaffordable, even assuming it replaces the current safety net, and you tax the rich at very high levels.

Well, if taxing the rich won't work, what if you merely seize the means of production?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 4:25 PM
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Guaranteed income is so basic.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 4:33 PM
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Hmmm... seems that UBI is oddly popular among libertarian douchebags.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 4:39 PM
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Yes - see Roger Douglas in NZ, who was going to move to a flat tax, no benefits, and a UBI until he got the sack as Finance Minister, and went on to found a crazy, far-right, libertarian party.

(Sacked by the Labour PM. Because Douglas was a Labour Finance Minster. Because the 80s were really weird in NZ.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:20 PM
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you can't just be, be a person, you have to actually do something productive and remunerative. No wonder so many of us freak out at that message.

So many of "us" should quit being such pussies and suck it up and assume that they are not above being part of the machine that enables our unprecedented long, clean, and easy lives. Far preferable to some damn UBI is a 35 hour workweek with strong wages and generous and efficient public services along with a safety net for people who can't work.

Spike, though, should learn how real people live during their downtime.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:52 PM
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a 35 hour workweek with strong wages and generous and efficient public services

Yeah, that'd be great, that would be awesome. Please let me know when our capitalist economy no longer requires a "reserve army" of unemployed labour as a condition of economic growth (as an "excess supply" of labour, if you will, to be marshalled, at cut-rate prices! in periods of expansion and "growth").

(And I'm pretty sure I already know how real people live in real-time, real-life conditions, btw.)


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:23 PM
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48.1 is fortunately already addressed by the end of the sentence you quoted. I would love, among other things, to see a revival of the CCC.

48.2 seems like snark at a comment addressed to you, except that it's clearly me poking fun at Spike. Is "Spike" a nickname of yours IRL or something?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:00 PM
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Hi everyone! Sorry I missed the thread. I had a horrible case of hives. Finally doing better now.

I have to admit that I simply couldn't grasp the concept of a Universal Basic Income when Quiggan first floated it at CT. I think I even posted an oblivious comment asking if I was misreading his post because it seemed to be suggesting something with no means-testing whatsoever.

Oh well. I thought the Canadian study was interesting not so much because I think UBI is a magic bullet, but because it's an example of a western, industrialized country that actually tried a (modified) version of it.

I did think the article's contention that "When the project ended, locals didn't make a fuss because they knew the checks were temporary anyway," sounds fairly implausible.

Five years is long enough to not FEEL temporary (says the woman who was disgruntled when stimulus funds ran out and she had to go back to a lower level of pre-tax transit deductions).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:07 PM
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I would love, among other things, to see a revival of the CCC.

Seconded, with feeling.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:08 PM
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We've had the California Conservation Corps since the mid-70s when Jerry Brown v.1 instituted it, modeled in the original federal CCC. It's nice and has been fine for some young people but basically hasn't mattered much at all.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:26 PM
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the article's contention that "When the project ended, locals didn't make a fuss because they knew the checks were temporary anyway," sounds fairly implausible.

Honestly, that sounds fairly Canadian to me. Expect the worst, while just barely hoping for the best. Canadians are perennially pessimistic, and disgruntled. (Except when it comes to hockey, of course, which is the opiate of the Canadian masses).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:44 PM
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52: Well, the CA CCC sucks a bunch of donkey scrote. Oh, not for people on probation or parole or with a drug conviction? What a fucking useless shit program. Those are exactly the people the program should be targeting. People who might not be perfect on paper but want to show up to earn money for doing something useful and avoid falling back into whatever nonsense that landed them in the system in the first place.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:45 PM
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So to expand on 54, before I get too drunk to type coherently (and sure, that time might have already passed) any kind of real CCC program shouldn't have those kinds of restrictions on age or criminal background. God, let's at least attempt to give people a real option to be useful members of society.

I see this shit all the fucking time. Christ almighty it would be nice to have options to direct people towards other than my buddies in narcs who can pay shitty amounts of money for some confidential informant type stuff on drug interdiction.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 12:10 AM
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My concern is less that under this regime people would not do shit, at least after the first year, more that there are thousands of useful, productive, constructive things that people would do if they could afford to rather than working as refuse collectors, sewerage processors, steeplejacks, Walmart shelf stackers etc., so it would become difficult to recruit people to the unpleasant jobs with anything like the existing wage system, and by "anything like" I mean without paying the refuse collectors as much as the CEO. I would add that I'm personally all for paying garbage collectors as much as the CEO, but that's the scale of reorganisation that this implies to me.

(3. It's probably as well Sifu didn't suggest this before Cory Booker was safely out of the way in the Senate.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 5:19 AM
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Max Sawicky 9/14/14 is even against talking about a UBI/BIG


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 5:26 AM
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"Paying the refusing collectors as much as the CEO" is a slight exaggeration, surely.

What happens now, because our labor force has no options, is that Wal-Mart shelf stockers, refuse collectors, and so on, have no options; gswift's felons have no options either. So the pay sucks, and the workers get treated like shit. As I got told when I worked one of those jobs, "Don't like it? Get another job."

Well, I did. But I had options. Others don't.

Giving workers (giving all of us) a basic income would give them options. Then if Wal-Mart needed people to stock shelves, or if the city needed someone to haul trash, or mine coal, well, they could pay what it was *actually* worth.

Wouldn't that be a novelty.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:01 AM
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MPR ran the minimum income experiments in the states. The Manitoba thing was related. Googling "minimum income experiments" turns up a lot of scholarly articles on economic and social effects.
(Many actually readable.)


Posted by: scooter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:03 AM
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Oops. That should be googling "income maintenance experiments".


Posted by: scooter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:10 AM
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The Manitoba thing

Robert Ludlum's worst effort.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:11 AM
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I heart gswift. Yes to 54 and 55 from here too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:25 AM
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54 and 55 seem so obviously necessary, and yet the political difficulty in achieving something like that appears to be insurmountable. What is the incentive for legislators to ensure programs can be made accessible to people who have been deemed unworthy by certain segments of society? Even lawmakers who support doing the right thing will be brought down by attack adds about being soft on criminals and wasting taxpayer money on those people. I wish there was a way for that dynamic to be changed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:33 AM
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58. But what is it actually worth? If sitting in a corner office drinking coffee and making more or less informed guesses about the future of the market is worth $1M a year, and you won't find many senior executives to admit that it isn't, why is a job which is pretty much guaranteed to damage your health and shorten your life worth less? And if you can't show that it's worth less, then why should anybody do it for less if they don't have to.

I would probably work as a shelf stacker for less, but not the other jobs on that list. And as a shelf stacker on, say, $50K, I would expect management to be extremely deferential and understanding about my need to schedule the rest of my life, take time off and call in sick with a cold, or they could find somebody else to do it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:36 AM
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If this ever goes through, I predict big things for the shelf stacking robot industry.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:41 AM
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YOU THINK I'LL JUST WORK FOR ELECTRONS?


Posted by: OPINIONATED SHELF STACKING ROBOT | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:45 AM
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63: I'll bet if you put drug testing on as one of the requirements people would like it again. At least on facebook, everyone's totally into that shit and it makes me furious.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:46 AM
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The widespread acceptance of drug testing blows my mind. "Some people might be smoking doobies after work, so everyone needs to pee in a cup." The right freaks out about every last bit of government intrusion, but somehow this is ok.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:54 AM
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Yeah. Apparently it's THORN SMASH week here, but I just get livid about that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:55 AM
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Have there been any cases testing how drug testing interacts with marijuana legalization? Can an employer fire someone for using a legal substance?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:03 AM
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Yes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:04 AM
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I know there was a case where a woman tested positive because her husband was smoking legal medical marijuana in their mobile home and she was able to show that she didn't have to have smoked any herself to have the blood levels she was displaying.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:07 AM
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71: Yes, I realized that was a stupid question as soon as I posted it. Employers can fire people for any reason at all as long as they can't be proven to be discriminating against certain groups.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:07 AM
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63 - that's the 'programs for the poor are poor programs' point, yeah? The typical answer I think is to just make the program for everyone no matter what, and then maybe claw back the stuff from the richest people if necessary (but since there are likely to be way more people benefited than harmed by most of them even if they aren't necessary to live it's not that bad of an idea anyway.) So, welfare=problematic but social security=third rail of American politics.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:09 AM
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The failed California legalization initiative in 2010 contained an antidiscrimination provision - no action against employees unless their performance at work was affected, with exceptions for law enforcement and I think some transit workers. I don't know if CO or WA made similar provisions, but it seems like a logical next step.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:11 AM
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No one will click on the link in 57 because, Bob, but what Max Sawicky has to say on this topic is totally right (as well as clear and funny and well written like Sawicky always is).


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:18 AM
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I suppose a well-funded program giving Keynesian employment opportunities to anyone willing, plus wages for childcare and full-employment fiscal policy, would together create a lot of the same social benefits as a UBI.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:23 AM
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76: I did click and I agree it's right.

My preferred solution to the problem of no one wanting to do unpleasant jobs is that those jobs should be shared among all physically able people That way no one is spending a large part of their life doing something unpleasant. That seems easily workable, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:29 AM
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73: Well, I mean, there are a lot of jobs where you could do real harm if you showed up drunk. Not all, to be sure. And alcohol is perfectly legal.

I hate drug testing everybody, but policies against substance use intended to prevent impaired people causing harm seem totally reasonable.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:42 AM
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70 -- Legalization is an illusion.

But one we're partially embracing here. http://www.leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/39/2/39-2-313.htm (This is a non-discrimination provision for the use or consumption of lawful products.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:56 AM
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73 -- Only 49 states have at will employment. You should have had an asterisk on 73.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 8:58 AM
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81: The exceptional state is ???


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:08 AM
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I hate drug testing everybody, but policies against substance use intended to prevent impaired people causing harm seem totally reasonable.

Including drug testing that detects as positive any use within a period of weeks or months, not just current impairment?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:24 AM
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82. Guessing Montana since it's CC.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:26 AM
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82: Montana, but my impression is that for many people it's pretty weak protection. If you make something near the minimum wage (the population generally most in need of this protection), good luck finding a lawyer to represent you in court in the difficult matter of trying to prove you were fired without cause in order to potentially recover the $1,200 in wages you lost when you were out of work for a month.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:27 AM
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85 -- Fee shifting has been discussed, but not enacted. I think, though, that it actually makes a difference in employer behavior, for a lot of employers. But, like the other employment laws, there are always assholes willing to risk it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:33 AM
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Also, I think a demand letter for the $1,200 may well work: it's not like defending the claim is free.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:35 AM
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83: I take Bostoniangirl as making a narrow argument that it's reasonable (for some jobs anyway) for an employer to fire a person if they are in an impaired condition during work hours even if they aren't ingesting anything illegal. I think we all probably would agree with that.

This doesn't have much to do with drug testing in general.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:36 AM
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My understanding has always been that municipal trash workers, at least, tend to be unionized and pretty decently paid. That is, they're not getting shit wages to do shit work, they're getting really good working class wages to do shit work.

Steeplejacks would continue to do the work for the romance of it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:37 AM
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83: No. But doctors should be careful about showing up at work on pain meds, for example.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:37 AM
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USVI has a wrongful discharge statute and fee shifting.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:39 AM
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And beaches and sunshine, if you like that sort of thing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:43 AM
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88: Yes, but you could read it different ways. In the case of more addictive substances, there might be a case to be made that use in the past predicts impairment in the future, but the current regime of marijuana testing is pretty ridiculous.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:46 AM
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90: I doubt we're clashing on anything significant. But pain meds? Any pain meds?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:48 AM
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93: Well, I meant it more narrowly. I don't support the current regime of marijuana testing.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 9:48 AM
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89.last: My understanding is that regular roofers are mostly self-medicating.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 10:20 AM
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When I did the bins in Bradford, the money was pretty good.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 10:27 AM
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96: Indeed. Concrete guys as well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 10:28 AM
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I don't know how either roofer or concrete guys can handle the work. Obviously, they are much stronger than me, despite the fact that nearly all of them I saw when I was working construction were both older than me and smaller than me. Shingles turn out to be very heavy and to only come in 80 pound bundles. Form sections for poured basements are even heavier.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 10:30 AM
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97. When you did the bins in Bradford you were probably working for the council, not Veolia.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 10:56 AM
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73 -- Only 49 states have at will employment. You should have had an asterisk on 73.

Huh, I didn't realise it was just Montana. I thought it was more like a dozen states.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 11:14 AM
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101: You might be thinking of right-to-work states?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 11:18 AM
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To be honest, I'd more or less conflated right-to-work with at-will-employment. Not too clear on the difference. I presume right-to-work is even more employer-friendly, but is that all around labour organising rather than dismissal without cause?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 11:20 AM
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"Right to work" means you can't have a closed shop (i.e. require union membership as a condition of employment). You can have a state without right to work and with at will employment. I think I'm in one, but I'm not going to look it up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 11:23 AM
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76: No one will click on the link in 57 because, Bob, but what Max Sawicky has to say on this topic is totally right (as well as clear and funny and well written like Sawicky always is).

Coming back way late to this dead thread, but yes, agreed. Sawicky is right. Thanks Bob!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 1:51 PM
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Also, pay attention to this:

Republicans are starting the new Congress by attacking Social Security funding through a subtle, obscure policy measure buried in the gigantic bill that establishes parliamentary rules for the new session.
The rules measure, passed late Tuesday after other day-one business like formal swearing-in ceremonies for members were completed, escalates the threat of a significant cut to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) within the next two years. The measure bans a common accounting technique that the people who manage Social Security funding have used many times in the past to prevent benefit cuts

Notably:

The other political ingredient in the debate Reed and the GOP are trying to force is years of skewed media coverage of the disability insurance system. Reports that SSDI is riddled with fraud and overrun with false claims have showed up in an ideologically diverse array of news sources over the past two years, from public radio's This American Life to CBS' 60 Minutes to the conservative media machine. The reality is that just 41 percent of those who apply for disability benefits receive it thanks to the program's uniquely strict eligibility rules and stringent, multi-layered application process.

Without a doubt, I listened to an obnoxious and obtuse report on alleged widespread fraud in the disability system from NPR's Marketplace: it was dense and, frankly, facile.

I'm afraid we will have to watch Republican maneuverings like a hawk these days.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:24 PM
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Sawicky is good, but I don't think discussions about the UBI are doing any harm. It may open up more policy space for achievable expansions of the safety net, and it certainly seems to have given some libertarians (the type more attracted by simplicity and unable to deal with complex realities, not the type motivated by complete self-interest) a safe way to start acknowleging the economic realities faced by many, and soon to be facing many more.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:33 PM
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107 is right. Also, those meta-discussions about whether a topic should be a part of the discourse or not based on strategic thinking tend to piss me off (and I've been having lots of discussions about strategic voting in a multi-party state). Is it a worthy topic of discussion or not? If it is, don't speculate about causality in public discourse, because nobody really knows anything about that. If it's a bad idea in its own right, go ahead and critique the idea.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:53 PM
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Oh hey, MLK on guaranteed income (plus federal job guarantee).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:46 AM
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