UBI: Should We Get Free Money From The Government?

(upbeat electronic music) – Universal basic income. It seems like a pretty
simple concept, right? A government gives every
one of its citizens no matter you who are,
the size of your salary, just enough money to afford
the basics like food, the electricity bill, maybe
even rent on a cheap apartment. In theory this guarantees
that no one falls into total abject poverty. But would a universal
basic income actually work? Would it be a benefit to society, or would it be so
expensive and complicated that it could never happen? (record scratching)
(upbeat music) The universal basic income
is getting a lot of attention these days because some economists and big name techies like Elon Musk worry that robots might
be taking our jobs. – AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization, and I don’t think people fully appreciate that. – Artificial intelligence
could fundamentally reshape the nature of work by making
millions of jobs obsolete. For example, almost three
million truck drivers in the U.S. could lose their jobs to self-driving cars once they fully become a thing. But YouTube hosts are good, right? We’re in the clear? Anybody? This isn’t the first time that
there’s been a major shift in ye old job market. Think back to the end of the 18th century. We’re all farmin’, having
a good time when BAM! the Industrial Revolution happens and the world gets turned upside down. OK, now back to today. A universal basic income
could help soften the blow for a lot of those people
losing their jobs to the robots. Now the amount of money you
get would be, well, basic. In the U.S. it would be
something like $1,000 a month, which puts you right at
the federal poverty level, meaning it’s the bare minimum
the government thinks you need to scrape out a living. Now here in the Bay Area that
gets me like half a closet and maybe three steak tacos, maybe. A universal basic income
is also, you guessed it, universal, meaning every U.S.
citizen would get the money. Full stop, even Bill Gates, although he would owe
way more money in taxes to the government that what
he got from the government. But most importantly,
people could use the money for whatever they want, period. Want to use it to help pay for college or get some new job skills, that’s fine. Wanna blow it all on Cheetos and Red Bull? I wouldn’t recommend it
personally, but you know, the government wouldn’t stop you. But actually making a
universal basic income happen brings up a bunch of complex questions. How much money should each
person get and for how long? How would the government pay for it? Do they raise taxes, cut other benefits? And would it actually help to
keep people out of poverty? OK, so let’s dive right
into the main arguments for and against universal basic income. Giving people free money might sound like a classic left-right topic where liberals are for it and
conservatives are against it, but there are actually segments of both groups that support it. Some liberals think that
it’s one of the best ways to fight what’s been a losing
battle: financial inequality. The world’s richest 1% owns
half of the world’s wealth, and by 2030 it’s estimated
to increase to 2/3. Now as the poor get poorer,
and artificial intelligence takes more jobs, a universal basic income might provide enough cash
so they don’t have to choose between buying food for the week or paying the electric bill. For people that still have jobs, the extra money might allow
them to pay for more education, or put some money away for savings. Now, it’s important to point out that the U.S. already has a welfare system designed to help the poor. Programs like Food Stamps,
federal housing assistance, and free and low-cost health care. However, all of these
programs require people to be basically broke in order to qualify. If you start making too much
money, you can be kicked off. With the universal basic
income that money is yours no matter how much you’re making. You won’t be penalized
for making too much. Some conservatives like the
idea of a universal basic income because it could potentially replace or significantly reduce
the current welfare system, which cost almost $730 billion in 2017. That’s almost 20% of the
entire federal budget. Wow. A universal basic income
would make government smaller and it would put the choice
of how to spend the money in the hands of the individual instead of having the government
telling you what to do with it. Now, at this point, we haven’t
really talked about cost. Spoiler alert: it’s also really expensive. And it’s a big reason why
a lot of people oppose it. If the federal government gave every one of the 300 million plus
people living in the U.S. $12,000 a year the total cost
would be around $3.8 trillion. And that’s a hard sell considering the entire federal budget for 2017 was a little over four trillion dollars. To pay for it, one option
is for the government to bring in more money,
which means raising taxes, something most conservatives
are firmly against. Many are also worried that giving people no strings attached free
money would discourage them from getting a job, which
could hurt the economy and make people even more
dependent on the government. The other option is to cut back
on programs we already have. Liberals worry that means killing programs like Food Stamps and housing assistance that directly target specific problems. Like suppose someone gets
the universal basic income. They’re budgeting the money well, and then all of a sudden they get sick and have to go to the hospital. One day alone could cost $5,000 or more. That universal basic income money would then run out pretty fast. Now, what’s tricky about evaluating all these different arguments is that we don’t have much
real-world data to look at, but that’s changing. There are some experiments out there. Stockton, California
is giving $500 a month to 100 of its residents. Finland is just about to
end a two year trial run. And just this year, Kenya
will start giving its citizens regular payments for the next 12 years. So until we get some data to look at the debate over universal basic income is gonna stay theoretical. All right, you all know the drill. What do you think about
universal basic income? Good idea or bad idea? Let us know in the comments below. Also, there’s a great show
I want y’all to check out. Two Cents is a PBS Digital Studios series about money and you. Financial experts and
husband and wife team Philip Olson and Julia Lorenz-Olson guide you through the complex
world of personal finance from the kitchen table to
the New York Stock Exchange. You’ll get practical
knowledge about how to spend, save, and earn, and
insight into how your brain is hardwired to react
to economic problems. Money might make the world go ’round, but it doesn’t have to
make your head spin. Check the link in the description below and subscribe to Two Cents. They also made a cameo in our
episode about cryptocurrency and the future of money, so
make sure you check that out. As always, I’m your host Myles, and I’ll see you guys next time, bye.

Maurice Vega

62 Responses

  1. I'm curious, I thought that the government was there to stop corruption, keep people from committing crimes and protect our country with the military. Is it really supposed to do more? I never thought it was the government's job to fix our problems. Do y'all think it is? Isn't the US supposed to be controlled by the people? If so, how can the government do all this stuff?

  2. Free money is great, right? But what if it means raising taxes and cutting social welfare programs? Check out this video all about the universal basic income and let us know what you think in the comments!

  3. i think it doesn't go far enough, and thus, it doesn't actually solve the problems it strives to solve.
    in the current age we just can't think the same way about trade as we did before, we need to rethink everything about trade, there are two great books by Tio Trom exploring this subject, "the money game and beyond" and "the origin of most problems", you can read them for free on his website, much recommended 🙂

  4. Your videos are very high quality in comparission to your sub count! Even though you're not covering all the perspectives, problems, factors etc with UBI, I still love your channel!Keep up the good work. feel free to hit me up on instagram @fact.insane

  5. hey, could you do a video on tariffs? Wouldn't they help the economy by making it cheaper for companies to manufacture things in the US instead of other countries? If they did, wouldn't that make it easier to have a higher minimum wage, let in more immigrants and get more people jobs?

  6. They already do this for people with insane amounts of wealth. Seems only fair to do it for people it would have an actual meaningful impact towards.

    It's also pretty solid for the economy too. More money not spent simply staying out of debt is money working. Lots of money in the world, not a whole lot of it is actually moving around. That's super bad for capitalism.

  7. I feel like we're putting too much faith into ubi like it's the silver bullet to the world's problems. Would UBI help with paying the bills and decreasing the amount of stress many families and people have? Yes but we shouldn't minimize the needs of the people who could benefit the most from UBI. For example, public libraries offer an unprecedented amount of resources to communities from internet access to job training and just basic access to wider culture through movies, books and games. In my opinion, giving $1,000 to people who need it is a good thing so long as it isn't used to justify cutting other necessary services like food stamps but also public institutions that serve communities. To me, UBI is just a small necessary step that can backfire but has more positive potential than negative.

  8. I wanna see the machines steal all the humdrum jobs of the world. Even if it causes more suffering and poverty for myself and most ppl. We waste our lives on the clock. C’est la vie I guess!

  9. You can’t talk about the cost of UBI without talking about automation. If corporations get more work done with less human labor expenses, we need to tax them more so we all can enjoy the economic benefits.

  10. UBI would be the best system to get rid of the overhead cost of the enforcing minimum wage, housing, and food programs and unemployment payments. It would get rid of the complexity of income credits and means testing for all these programs. It could not substitute for UHC (Universal Health Care). That would have to be a separate program getting rid of overhead cost by a single payment system instead of the army of people it takes to address the myriad of insurance plans on what they do and don't cover and how much.

  11. 4:48 meanwhile i'm living on government spending and are forced to buy insurance. does it work? yes.
    does it make me want to stop working? hella no.

  12. Liberal low – income person, here. I'm about that income level right now. Besides the Social Security ($12,000/ year), I receive, were it not for Medicare and the HUD-approved Section 8 Homeowners program (which works like Section 8 but for homeowning rather than renting), I would not make it on my income for even shelter, since I have to pay 30% of my income to having a home. Nowhere I know would rent a place for a low as $300.00 per month.
    Out of my Social security income, I pay $120.00 a month for Medicare B. I pay an extra $57.00 per month for Medicare D and an extra add – on for comprehensive dental and visual insurance because of older – age illnesses like eroded gums and gum disease (requiring a $3,000.00 gum graft). I still have to pay 20% copay on most all my medical bills, and being old makes them crop up quickly, even with Medicare. I need to apply for bill reduction by applying for financial aid at my hospital.
    Right now, I'm at the edge of my income covering my household expenses and my and my cats food (her litter, her vet, etc.) . I get very little extra.

    Senior age (and I'm only 54) starts manifesting as $400.00+ bifocal glasses. It manifests as cancer (for which I have taken chemo and radiation; each treatment cost thousands of dollars for each infusion or radiation session). It manifests as orthopedic problems. And this is normal wear and tear, or complications to other things, not necessarily bone loss, though that happens, too, and that is affected by hormones that naturally stop. You take medicines to regulate your heart, your fluids, your blood pressure, any mental disorder that has happened through the years (One in four are affected), glaucoma, cateracts, deafness, vertigo, imbalance, and many other things. Seniors cost more as we get older. UBI doesn't cut it for anyone. Not what's proposed.

    There are things that come up that you cannot even escape the cost of treating or living through, like bedbugs (which have cost many 5 star hotels exorbitant amounts to fix). You can get them ANYWHERE!
    The government doesn't pay for this, and for a single family dwelling, this can be tens of thousands of dollars.

    And education has become so prohibitive that giving one a UBI essentially thumbs the government's nose at its people: yeah, education or food or medicine or a home. That's your choice.

    This is a toss – off argument that doesn't address any one of the major things we deal with.

    Just remember that you will get old, too, if you are lucky.

  13. UBI is an interesting concept. It would have to replace welfare totally. It would probably have to be with Universal Health Care as well. If it were put into the tax system to allow for it taxes for the rich and corporations would have to go way up, taxing robots, and loop holes would have to be closed. I would guess it would be like a rebate on your taxes.

  14. UBI doesn't have to start at the full $1000/mo to start seeing the benefits, and these benefits will naturally lead into being able to increase the UBi amount further later. I think a mix of cutting programs and raising taxes can get it started or speed up the process, but once it starts, it will get there regardless. Even though the immense amount of bureaucracy entangled in the welfare system is one of the major reasons to adopt UBI, we should wait to cut welfare for last, only when cutting all welfare will bring the UBI budget up to the target amount. It would be kinda bad if current welfare recipients only got $200/mo because we cut welfare first.

  15. If this were to happen in my opinion it would destroy the United States economy, if you can afford a roof over your head some cheetoes and a internet connection and a computer many people would never work again because they don't have to make money. If this were to happen, however in my opinion all benefits should be cut to leave room to the budget for it so that the us might someday be able to get out of debt, but if this were to happen it should not be indexed to inflation/COI index because it would just lead to the devaluation of the US dollar via a feedback loop. And it would also by fixing it slow or even stop inflation in this example. Thats just my opinion

    Even if the US government replaced as you stated the 380 billion welfare system people would only get 90 a month sooooo….. it will destroy the budget

  16. I think the US should focus on universal healthcare instead of UBI because paying to get a medical treatment is just not human

  17. I don't know what goes into this channel's videos but this one in particularly wasn't structured the most or talked about both sides of the argument very well. Like it compared modern automation to the beginning of the industrial age (?) when a comparison to customer service taking over the economy. Or when automation took over before and the jobs "lost" in factories the first time around. This was a bit of a mess.

  18. My opinion is that without more evidence and without more concrete proposals it is just impossible to evaluate its merits.

  19. There isn't a LOT of data – but there is data. You didn't mention the Mincombe experiment (https://www.marketplace.org/2016/12/20/world/dauphin) back in the 1970's – this isn't a NEW idea, but it's recirculating again.

  20. Liberal here
    I'd be 100% down for UBC if there was somehow a good sustainable way of generating all that money for everyone, if getting a job was still highly incentivized (say for example, if traditional non-essential 'comforts' like access to cable/satellite TV required an employee ID number to sign up for), and if a cheap low quality single-payer healthcare system was also set in place below the standard privatized insurance network as a replacement for medicaid and the ACA. After all, getting $1000 a month doesn't pull you out of abject poverty at all if your cheapest possible health insurance plan costs $950 a month due to severe preexisting conditions you need medication for – it may just make the problem worse.

  21. It's the same with the digital revolution as it has been with other technologies:
    If the current workload is reduced due to technological advancement and prices for products fall, workers (consumers, respectively) have to choose if they would like to spend more on other products, maybe of some kind we currently cannot even imagine, or work less. Either way the number of required higher-skilled workers increases at the same rate lower-skilled jobs are killed off.
    So currently there is absolutely no need for a basic income. People will just work less and less until maybe, one day, you could earn your life-time income in a few years.

  22. The first and most basic UBI should be a kind of "general welfare". Replacing all the welfare already in place, only simplifying the system and getting rid of the problem of people not applying for some form of welfare. To make it fair for everyone, salaries should decrease by the same amount. This is crucial to ensure people with non-full-time jobs would benefit from both a UBI and from their job. And people with a full-time job would just not see any difference. In the end, that's not a lot of money to find since, basically, it's only people below the poverty threshold (welfare included) that would need some new funding.

    Once this is in place, not only we have basically eliminated poverty and misery at a very low cost. But we also have a solid framework able to handle a society that "runs by itself" thanks to automation.

  23. UBI sounds like a good idea, but I think the church could do a better job than the government. I want the church to handle this, not the government. If the church was handling it then the government wouldn't have to pay for it, because the church would be paying for it. The church helping people is what the church is suppose to be doing, it's what Jesus told us to do. The church is supposed to be helping people. We have church-ran charities like the Good Samaritans already doing things to help people, but we can always do more. We would get the money from donations from our congregations, like we do for all church-ran charities and other church-ran programs. This would be a good thing for the church to do. I like the idea of the church doing this.

    If you don't want people to become dependent on the government or the church or any entity then give them skills instead of handouts. By "skills," I mean the ability to support oneself without relying on the help from entities' handouts. I would prefer the church helping people, because that what we're supposed to be doing and we would do a better job than the government. That's what I want. How does that sound?

    I'll be praying.
    Great video, keep up the good work. God bless!
    Have a nice day/night.

  24. Feels like UBI tackles a problem, but from the wrong direction. Universal Basic Expenditures would seem a more appropriate starting point. Fixed rate basic housing, food, healthcare, educationohcrapI'maSocialist!NOO!!!!

  25. Really depends what sort of UBI we're talking about and what else happens around it (e.g. keep or cut other programs). There are a lot of different types being proposed and levels suggested. Most of what I've read suggests that wealth redistribution should be the aim, and UBI is only one potential way to do it.

  26. I'd say it would be cool if there was a way to make basic needs in life free that way we can spend our money on wants and fun things that way maybe we can not be in debt as a country. I don't know if that would be realistic though, but it would be cool if we could have basic needs for free, such as food, shelter, health care, transportation, water, power, trash, ect. I think that if making basic needs free that would also bennifit everybody because if you can't work then you would be okay because you would have basic needs.

  27. We already have a basic income in the UK. Anyone without work gets their rent paid and enough extra money for food, alcohol and drugs with an extra allowance per child they can pump out.

    It's not very well implemented but most of the problems seem to involve child benefits where they get larger entitlements and better housing if they are able to maintain a large number of children under the same roof. Until recently if you'd been moved into a 6 bedroom house but then all the kids moved out you'd be able to continue to live in the massive 6 bed property alone with no loss… AND be able to sub let the rooms with no penalty.

  28. If you want to use free money to boost the GDP, it’s based on consumer spending, this is an ideal way. Government reaps way more in benefits than what it costs them with UBI.

  29. UBI only decreases employment in like teens and stuff, and can make people more productive because they aren't trying to survive, they're working because they want to. It gives people more options

  30. It seems every time I rely/depend more on the government my life gets worse not better.
    1) The government has always seems better about lining their pockets than mine. Can you think of any government body that is more efficient than the equivalent private body (USPS vs UPS, VA vs private hospitals, …). Speaker of the House gets $220K/year for working 133days/year plus they get a pension for life that can be up to 80% of their salary! What a deal – paid for by us!!!
    3) Any rules they set would NOT be universal. I would be skewed in some way to the leadership's political benefit/agenda. This would then be skewed again to favor the new leadership. It is the way of politics. The only way a UBI could solve anything is if you can depend/rely on it.

  31. You retards. No such thing as free when it comes to government hand outs. Someone has to pay. Wake the fuck up!!!!

  32. Can someone explain how would you avoid price rise of basics (basic food, like bread, fuel, cell/communication service, and some other nearly mandatory things)? If money supply increases spending increases, if I have bread shop and do not rise prices to account for that I'm an idiot, as my competitor will do that and will likely drive me out of business. Now granted this does not need to happen fast, but it is almost certain that prices of basics would creep up in 3-5 years, enough that your basic income would no longer be able to provide the basics. So unless you want to go full totalitarian on price regulation for large sectors of economy I really do not see how that can ever work even tiny bit sustainably.

  33. You can’t talk about the cost of UBI without talking about the dysfunctional nature of austerity politics and why we need deficit spending to make up for the growing gap between banking based money creation and the government based money stock (= deficit). Unless you want some lost decades like what japan has been going through: http://privatedebtproject.org/view-articles.php?Are-We-Facing-a-Global-Lost-Decade-14

    Our western economies increasingly stuck between balance sheet constrains and boom periods, if we don't address that problem then no government can remain serviceable to its people. On the bright side, there are solutions like a periodic QE for the people. Then, funding a UBI via taxes becomes easy. Especially if we take the monopolists/monopsonists (market winners; https://slate.com/business/2018/01/after-all-the-talk-about-a-u-s-skills-shortage-the-real-problem-may-be-an-employer-shortage.html ), landlords and modern highwaymen into the duty.

  34. One advantage not mentioned is how politically durable it would be. Cutting basic income is very directly removing money that everyone gets, and increasing it is very directly adding money that everyone gets. That would have way more popular support than welfare programs.

  35. Raising taxes is not necessary.
    When you get $100, you don't simply keep the 100. Everything you buy, is taxed. Hell, even food.
    The industry gets the rest. The industry distributes the money on workers, maintenance etc.
    The industry does hoard a certain amount of money though. And THIS is the real problem. The accumulation of money by the industry. That's where the country looses the money they have handed out to their citizens.
    WIthout a redistribution of the cooperations hoarded money, a UBI can't work. But on the other hand, if you redistribute the cooperations money, you won't need a UBI anymore.
    Btw. handing out a UBI to Bill Gates isn't even a drop of water in the ocean. There are so little wealthy people, that handing them the equal amount of UBI simply doesn't matter.

  36. Why universal? I think universal is a little bit more expensive, as it could be.
    Negative income tax sounds more fair and is also a good way to motivate for work.
    You can also cut of stupid tax systems and these tax rule leeches.

  37. I don't have any strong foundational arguments for or against UBI, as opposed to other forms of welfare. To me, the question is just whether UBI is more effective than the more complicated systems we have now. What I'm saying is, it's a very interesting idea, but I'm reserving judgement until we get way more data.

  38. PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK instead of talking nonsense. It is for the future: just what do you think will happen when we have an advanced AI and everyone owns a humanoid robot worker, not to mention all the factories in the world. Robots will mine minerals, they will refine them, they will do all the work in the factories and bring a ready product to your house. We will need very little of human workers and have everything we need for free practically. Therefore we need to limit the amount of goods anyone receives to make sure it is all distributed evenly, and that's where we come with an idea of general basic income.

    We could implement it while we are not there yet, but on the way, as the amount of jobs start to decrease, for the simple reason that we don't need people to do it anymore. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

    I am leaving this channel.

  39. Social security was started because some didn't save enough to properly provide for retirement. I feel our judgement as a species hasn't really improved.

  40. I agree with basic universal income but not for everyone I would say 25k or less why the richest people should get money

  41. The price of $3.8 trillion is misleading because it includes people on social security as well as babies and children. Realistically it would be around $1.8 trillion and most of that money will be going back into the economy anyways, thus increasing the GDP as well as the federal income.

  42. Instead of UBI, maybe it should be UBE. Finding employment opportunities. Because as with every revolution the jobs domain shifts and make new jobs. Hence humans will still have some new jobs just in other areas.

  43. Just a pretty face emitting primitive arguments. Should spend time getting to grips with over 30 years of debate and pilot project. The data is there.
    And another thing. UBI is the individual share of the growing productivity due to mechanisation/automation/computerisation/digitisation.

  44. If I knew everyone was getting an extra 1000 dollars a month, what's to stop me from raising prices on rent a few hundred because I know they can afford it? Same goes for food prices etc. A federal government run Ubi is a terrible idea.
    IF you privatize it and make it a supplementary income it has potential.

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