Wednesday, May 11, 2005
More on the Basic Income Guarantee
The Free Liberal has posted my reply to the Princeton punk, and Robert Capozzi has posted another response. In his response, Capozzi hits the best left-libertarian objection to the basic income, "My real fear is that the basic income would be additive, not a substitute. That tends to be the way of Washington. Realpolitick and history indicate that strong tendency. Until I see that the basic income could be a substitute, I'm not saluting."
This fear is justified, and I do not have a great answer, except to say that I stongly believe that the masses desrve compensation for the goodies passed out to the rich by the current system. The mixed-economy neo-liberals / neo-conservatives are in charge, and getting them to accept a basic income would be a matter of evolution, not revolution. So, the basic income would need to be phased in first, and proven to work, before we could discuss dismantling the old welfare state. This offers no assurances to Capozzi, who is right to point out that the history of government programs does not suggest that it is easy to get rid of those that have outlived their original purpose. The best compromise that is practically achievable would be to have the basic income, as it is phased in, considered to be "earned income" for purposes of welfare payments, and thereby slowly eliminate welfare programs by slowly eliminating the number of people who qualify for them. This still does not address issues like the minimum wage, and Capozzi is right to be skeptical about eventual repeal.
Note: The article includes a reference to "Figure 1", but the Free Liberal does not seem to have posted the graph. Unfortunately, I can not post graphs on this blog to compensate.