Universal Basic Income is a Subsidy for the One Percent
By lucas@endneoliberalism On 29 Oct, 2021 At 03:27 PM | Categorized As Universal Basic Income | With 0 Comments


“Robots will Take Your Jobs and the Government Will Pay Your Salary” (Elon Musk, 2016)

The 1% loves the idea of Basic Income because it will guarantee their profits from continuing with a business model that counts on planned obsolesce, increased automation, and government subsidies to externalize production costs.

The topic of Universal Basic Income (UBI) started to catch attention in the past 5 years worldwide. Part due to rising inequality, part due to rising automation. In 2016, Swiss voters rejected a basic income plan.  Closer to home, the Province of Ontario started the 2016 Ontario Basic Income Pilot, which was later scrapped with the incoming government.

The idea of Universal Basic Income recently became more notorious in Canadian mainstream media and federal political platforms during the COVID pandemic. In response to the lockdown measures, a $2,000/month cheque from the Canadian Government supported the unemployed. Whenever lockdown was lifted, CERB had already disrupted the labour market and increased national inflation as businesses in all industries experienced labour shortage because people were getting paid to stay home.

The 1% loves the idea of Basic Income because it will guarantee their profits from continuing with a business model that relies on planned obsolesce, increased automation, and government subsidies to externalize production costs (Download Neoliberalism On Trial – 2013 FREE).

Proponents of UBI say that the fact that it is universal is what actually lifts everyone off poverty and levels the economic field for people to make better consumer choices. Everyone gets UBI whether they are a millionaire entrepreneur, a lobbyist, a degenerate gambler, a single parent working three jobs at minimum wage to make rent, or someone not working at all.  UBI is appealing to both socialist and environmentalists who claim that current market inefficiencies can be solved by people having time to upgrade their skills and being able to afford better products.

Basic income destroys small local businesses and centralizes wealth. The government subsidizes wages and these multinational businesses who pay poverty wages remain more competitive than local stores. Already in the US, where minimum hourly wage is below the poverty line and workers need upwards of 90 hours a week just to make rent, it’s Walmart and McDonald’s employees who are among the top receivers of medicaid and food stamps. Paying labour below poverty line is just one of the ways big corporations keep their prices low while the taxpayers foot the bill.

Universal Basic Income comes with wide ramifications to health and sustainability. Poor workers can only afford to buy cheap products that break quickly and foods that make them sick. UBI will not result in increasing the wage of poor workers significantly in relation to the rich. They would earn similar or slightly more as before for doing less work and still only be able to afford cheap, obsolete products. And although the poor can work less to earn as much as before, the difference is supported by government subsidies and not those businesses who utilize labour. This difference could literally make the whole world in the way the limited resources of the planet end up being used in the next few decades. Universal Basic Income is a subsidy for the energy and mineral-intensive automatic economy of the future.

Universal Basic Income proponents say it would support the arts and innovation. They argue that people can do more with their time while their basic needs are taken care of, like study or start a business. Nobody who ever made a significant step to innovate, change their lives, take a new program, or star a new project never did it from a place of comfort. Jim Rohn once said, “if you divide all the money in the world, equally among everyone, it will soon end up in the same pockets”.  Economics is about studying the type of production that turns resources into money. As long as industrial production continues to be highly centralized and heavily supported by cost externalization, government handouts will end up consumed on such production.

Since 2015, the main driver for Canadian Real Estate has been private investors, who now own one fifth of the market. During this time, a 1-bedroom rental in a city like Toronto increased from $1,250 to $2,500. Universal Basic Income will further subsidize to the overly-inflated Real Estate market, with landlords expanding their property portfolio while the new middle-class poor are happily crammed in rental units, where they shop online and live in a Meta universe all day.

Who Will Pay for Universal Basic Income?

What no one talks about is who will cover the costs of Universal Basic Income. It won’t be the richest One Percenters. It will be the small business owners and the 9 to 5 employees who have increasingly covered the gap that tax cuts to the One Percent have left for decades (Read: Tax & Regulate the One Percent)

Universal Basic Income is morally corrupt because it depends on increasing profits from an economic system that should grow less, not more. UBI is another form of corporate imperialism because it subsidizes new technological development in rich countries while creating more dependency on resources from poor regions. The people of these poor countries had for decades seen their safety net shredded by IMF structural adjustment programs. These people won’t get $2,000 per month handed by the government. In Argentina and most of Latin America for example, $2,000 is more than the salary a mid-level manager earns with a business degree and 5 years of experience. Universal Basic Income will undoubtedly create even bigger global economic imbalances that favour the One Percent with fewer competition and cheaper access to critical resources.

Being fully convinced that Universal Basic Income is a subsidy to the one percent doesn’t take away the fact that there are big inefficiencies in the market and that government can do good to change them. But there are more effective solutions than UBI, such as enacting a livable minimum wage, supporting urban farming for better health and economic resiliency, supporting a repair-based and local economy, or making funding for skills training accessible. Universal Basic Income is nothing else than a more modern Soviet-communist model, which supply chain is better supported with Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, but that it is as linear, inefficient and totalitarian as any commie model can be.

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