The UBI Already Exists. It Is Just Unevenly Distributed.

People's Policy Project

Max Sawicky has a piece in Jacobin that again repeats the clearly incorrect claim that it would be impossibly expensive to provide everyone in the country a significant cash grant each year.

So what’s wrong with the UBI? In a nutshell, if it’s universal, it can’t be basic, and if it’s basic (provides a decent income floor), it can’t be universal. The US population exceeds 300 million. If the UBI benefit is $10,000 a year (less than Yang’s), you can do the math. The entire federal budget is about $4.4 trillion.

So let us do the math here. Providing every person $10,000 a year would sum up to about $3.2 trillion. This would be passive income paid out to people with no strings attached and without them having to work for it.

Now ask yourself: do we have any other kind of income in our society that is paid out passively to people with no strings attached and without them having to work for it? Yes. We do. It is called “capital income” or, at other times, the “net operating surplus.” How much capital income is there in our current economy? $5 trillion.

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