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Universal Basic Income: Elon Musk responds to trials in US
#1
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The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has weighed in on the news that a series of American cities, including Los Angeles, may trial a basic income.

Universal basic income trials may be coming to nine cities in the United States, and it's caught the attention of Elon Musk.

On Monday, Forbes reported that mayors in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and other cities have all joined a coalition calling for basic cash payouts to everyone with no conditions attached. The coalition is called Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and it was founded by Michael Tubbs, the 29-year-old mayor of Stockton, California. Tubbs told the publication that while the coalition will jointly advocate for basic income, each city will also work to host their own basic income trials.

The move comes as the United States grapples with both the coronavirus fallout and new conversations about racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Tubbs told Forbes he was motivated to announce the coalition due to these events: "if it’s not Covid-19 this year, it’ll be an earthquake next year, a hurricane the year after or fire. Folks need to build economic resilience in our cities now."

The announcement was praised by Bernice King, the youngest child of Martin Luther King, Jr., via her Twitter page Tuesday:

"Wow. A universal basic income (guaranteed annual income) was what my father recommended as a primary way to eradicate poverty. This is a powerful step forward."

Responding to King's post, Musk wrote:

WHICH CITIES ARE INVOLVED IN THIS? – The following American cities have joined the coalition:
  1. Los Angeles, California.
  2. Oakland, California.
  3. Tacoma, Washington.
  4. Newark, New Jersey.
  5. Atlanta, Georgia.
  6. Jackson, Mississippi.
  7. Compton, California.
  8. Shreveport, Louisiana.
  9. Saint Paul, Minnesota.
  10. Stockton, California – the city of the founder of the coalition, Michael Tubbs.

HOW WILL THEY PAY FOR A BASIC INCOME? – While the coalition will jointly argue for a basic income on a wider scale, the cities themselves will pursue their own methods for hosting basic income trials. This could be through a private and public partnership, or through creating a working group that can find space in the city's budget.

Stockton could provide a model for how to host a trial. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, an 18-month trial that started in February 2019 and is set to end in August 2020, provides 125 low-income residents with $500 per month. The project has received funding from the Economic Security Project, an advocacy group that supports trials like these.

WHAT ELSE HAS ELON MUSK SAID ABOUT A BASIC INCOME? – The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has spoken out before about the need for a universal basic income. In November 2016, Musk told CNBC that "here’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation."

A lot of Musk's comments around the policy have been linked to growing automation. Musk has spoken before about how super-smart artificial intelligence could rise faster than policymakers expect, requiring them to act now in order to manage its rapid growth. Neuralink, a firm that's developing a connection between the human brain and computers, was founded by Musk with the aim to create a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines.

“There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better,” Musk said at Dubai's World Government Summit in February 2017. “What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. And I think ultimately we are going to have some sort of universal basic income. I don’t think we have any choice.”

Musk has spoken before about this issue with Andrew Yang, the Democratic presidential hopeful that dropped out of the ongoing race in February 2020. While Yang's campaign may be over, this week's announcement shows the policy is far from forgotten.

Update 07/01 9 a.m. Eastern time: An earlier version of this article described the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration as "an 18-month trial that started in August 2019 and is set to end in February 2020." It has now been corrected.
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#2
didnt they trial this maybe 5 years ago to see how poorer households would spend the money - the skeptics said they would spend it on alcohol and a holidays and basically waste it - turns out the exact opposite was true , the majority invested it in things to make their lives better and into things that could help them make money
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#3
I can already see the Republicans blow their ‘who’s going to pay for it?’, ‘no tax increases!’, ‘there’s no money‘, ‘people no longer will want to work’, ‘they’ll spend it on drugs and alcohol’ horns reflexively.

I’m not sure I like the idea very much, I’d be more interested in raising wages/lowering taxes at the low end of incomes (and raising taxes at the other end, trickle down economy, my ass)
Bernd

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#4
(07-03-2020, 02:02 AM)Bhp91126 Wrote: I can already see the Republicans blow their ‘who’s going to pay for it?’, ‘no tax increases!’, ‘there’s no money‘, ‘people no longer will want to work’, ‘they’ll spend it on drugs and alcohol’ horns reflexively.

I’m not sure I like the idea very much, I’d be more interested in raising wages/lowering taxes at the low end of incomes (and raising taxes at the other end, trickle down economy, my ass)

That's what I find interesting about something like UBI, because when you really think about it, UBI can make a lot of sense from a conservative/Republican/right-wing point of view.

A UBI could be a replacement for welfare checks - which means a fraction of what we would have to pay for it is already covered.

Republicans often say welfare keeps poor people complacent in their low-earnings because earning too much would take away their entitlement to welfare, so giving a UBI check to everybody would mean there is no disincentive to take on more work hours.

While the UBI system proposed by Yang is a check with no strings attached, it doesn't have to be. Yang's no-strings-attached approach was to save on administrative costs in running the system, but I don't think it would be hard to make a UBI type of debit card that can only work in authorized transactions. Every citizen could be issues a UBI card, and businesses would simply apply for approval to have their goods purchasable by UBI accounts. Whatever administrative cost this would incur could be covered by businesses paying for the licenses to have their goods and services approved, or by merchant fees like a typical credit card.

From this, various types of conservative talking points could be accomplished. The US could create a disincentive for Americans buying foreign goods by only authorizing American made goods. Because no tariffs or embargo would be officially enacted, it would make it hard for foreign countries to counteract in a trade war (since usually, countries counter a tariff with a tariff, and would have to create their own UBI if they wished to give a tit for a tat).

The main problem I have with it is I think we should create a single-payer healthcare system first, but that's just me being a pinko commie. Healthcare prices in the US are ridiculously inflated. Most of it is related to oligopolic price gauging, like how a vial of insulin costs over $320 in the US, yet only $30 in Canada, causing countless Americans to have died from simply not being able to afford their own insulin.

Another problem is the ridiculous system where the uninsured actually have to pay higher prices for healthcare services and products than what health insurance companies are being charged. Uninsured people are being charged more than 10 times what insured people are - and the uninsured have to pay it themselves, while insured don't. So, if two people need stitches that are identical, the insured person might be charged a $1000 and pay no more than their deductible, where the uninsured person is charged over $10,000 and have to pay all of it themselves. The uninsured are of course all poor, and have no money to fight or negotiate the bill at all. In fact, it's something that health insurance companies are allowed to negotiate lower bills, but uninsured people can't.

And you might find this interesting - a lot of those hospitals that are destroying poor people with sky high hospital bills are in Florida: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-some-hospitals-can-get-away-with-price-gouging-patients-study-finds/2015/06/08/b7f5118c-0aeb-11e5-9e39-0db921c47b93_story.html

T
he system we have now is truly dystopian. A world where it costs more money to be poor. If that's not a dystopian nightmare, then I don't know what is.
What happened?
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#5
You got me started Chase.  Trickle down effect, back in the 1950's, medical was not as out of proportion as it is now. What happened? Several things. Malpractice insurance is mandatory, when the courts starting allowing Judgement's out of proportion to the amount of money someone would have earned in the rest of their lifetime to punish the doctor's and hospitals. The deep pocket's theory caused the insurance companies to charge more for insurance and of course the costs "trickled down" to the common people paying the bills. While a very few got exorbintant payouts, the rest of us paid for it. I don't have a problem helping people who truly need it. By the same course, live within your means. So if you need extra food, help with shelter, clothes, etc, by all means get help. After working for 46 years, finally laid off, didn't qualify for unemployment, medicaid, or food support. Fortunately, it's just me and the dog, help the relatives when I can. And yes I have heard that Trump wants to cut social security to pay for other projects.
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