Why Milton Friedman's Minimum Basic Income Is a Scam

Steve writes:

Charles Murray is a libertarian, correct. He advocated a grand compromise where there is a universal basic income along with small government ie minimum government intervention and no social programmes. He says you give us small government in terms of intervention and we’ll give you big government in terms of expenditure. So he has thought about providing for people and advocates a universal income. Part of his idea is to revitalize the civil society for which America was once remarkable (he cites Alex de Tocqueville)- people will have to form voluntary associations and community groups to cater for basic needs (replace social programmes), although the money in the form of basic income is provided by the government.

It sounds like such a great progressive idea, right? But wait a minute. Why are these wild reactionaries, these Libertarians, advocating something progressive? Something doesn’t smell right. Maybe there is something rotten in Denmark after all.
The universal income is a terrible idea and there is obviously nothing Libertarian about it. I believe that the guaranteed income would be ~$10,000/yr. Try living off it sometime!
It is a very bad idea to give people $10K instead of offering people programs. The $10K might be ok for a very basic income if you kept the rest of the programs. For instance it is better to give people the money in subsidized housing than in a check. The housing money ($3,500/yr) must be spent on rent, whereas if you just gave them $10K and told them to spend it on rent, almost no one would do it.
Also it is better to give free or cheap medical care. People on Medicaid could well receive quite a bit of actual money in terms of medication and medical care subsidies. If instead you gave people $10k, and told them to spend some of it on medical care, almost no one is going to do that.
So one way, you give people money via services and they get to have medical care and rent even on a low income, and the other way, they can’t even really afford to survive and at the same time, they don’t have enough money for rent not to mention medical care.
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0 thoughts on “Why Milton Friedman's Minimum Basic Income Is a Scam”

  1. I don’t get how America spends more than Britain on healthcare per capita (right?) and in Britain we have free universal healthcare at point of service. Its not like you guys are not willing to spend the money- you just seem to have the worst of both worlds.

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