A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a radical idea for the current major political ideologies. Both Democrats and Republicans oppose a UBI. Opposition to a UBI is no different when it comes to the U.S political machine. Republicans will say its too expensive and that handouts don’t work, while the democrats won’t support it in fear of losing their base and the next election cycle. This system for the U.S political machine is a large problem for the everyone within the U.S. Republicans can get their bills and laws pushed through while democrats can’t get much done on a federal level. A UBI would be no different if it entered the congressional floor, but taking a look at the capitalistic arguments against a UBI one can see the flaws within their points.
One of the first arguments against a UBI is that it’s too expensive. This is true, funding a UBI would require a raise in taxes/change in government expenditure and a rise in the U.S deficit, however this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A raise in the U.S deficit can in many ways be beneficial. Many countries invest money and provide loans that make up the U.S deficit. Those countries want the best in the U.S as if the U.S defaults on these loans then the other countries will lose money on their investment. This is what keeps the U.S and many countries at peace and afloat. Most countries have invested within the debts of other countries. This encourages trade as a prosperous economy increases the purchasing power of that economies currency. This, in turn, increases the worth of the loan held by the foreign country. This enclosed system is one of the best ways of keeping peace. You wouldn’t want to attack a country that holds a lot of your loans. That would be a loss for you. So claiming that a UBI would be expensive is very true, but this does not mean that it wouldn’t be worth it for the betterment of humanity. This is the fundamental flaw within republican ideology. This tunnel vision on the idea of the individual is extremely toxic for anyone thats not in the upper middle class or beyond. You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. It is unrealistic to believe that will ever be possible.
Another talking points that those along the capitalistic thought process is that a UBI is a handout rather than an incentive. This a strawman plain and simple. A UBI is never meant to be a permanent solution for a permanent future. No one can predict how the future will turn out. This is impossible. If we look to what was predicted for today one hundred years ago everyone would laugh. A whale bus for underwater travel is ridiculous in the lense of today. If you look at a UBI in what studies have been conducted you can see that this isn’t enough money to live off of. The ideology behind a UBI is to allow for more economic freedom within a changing landscape with the rise of automation. Most participants in these studies anyway are also on welfare programs. To keep taxes lowered it would be logical to change where taxes are spent. Whether that be taking from the military and/or welfare programs a change in spending would be made. A UBI is a complex issue to just write off as a handout especially when it isn’t meant to be a handout. It is meant to allow for the economic freedom to better themselves. If you look at the trial in Canada that was cut due to regime change you can see just how little they were actually getting. Participants received $12,600 to live on in a year. Now yes you could live off of $12,600, but the life that you would have would be disingenuous. You would just be living above the poverty line. To maintain a healthy life would be impossible to achieve. This money is just a cushion. Not to live off of, but to allow for the creation of mistakes in economic ventures. The strawman built by those of the capitalistic mindset would be impossible given the current economic system.
The final point to be brought up is that welfare, as it is right now, isn’t going anywhere and this is the strongest of the three points. With automation on the rise the biggest challenge to solve is the older population. The older population will have a harder time adapting to the new economic landscape. Specialization training into fields such as computer science and many public service jobs are extremely difficult and mentally taxing. For a large part of the trucking business the truckers don’t have high school diplomas. This is a large obstacle to overcome and a UBI would not solve this. This isn’t what a UBI was meant for and these obstacles won’t be easy to defeat. This is what the future holds in store for us. These challenges will be the forefront of policy making in the given future. There are solutions to these problems however. One could be that we halt the technological advancement of mankind and this is unlikely. Doing so would require state violence and this would not be put up with. The most likely situation would be for some people would fall through the cracks while politicians try to figure out what to do to fix it.
With all these we can only see that one has any real merit. How to solve that problem will require great effort and sacrifice. Whether that be moving towards a more socialistic/communistic economic system or the halt of technological advancement we won’t know. Only the future can provide answers as we move towards further automation. Although a UBI isn’t a permanent fix it is a great step towards the imminent future. The sands of time stop for no one.