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The Anti-Targ

Job Guarantee vs UBI

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I'd like to know more about what sort of social safety nets are in place in the better run European countries. Broadly speaking, I believe we should be modeling the Nordic states, Germany, Switzerland and maybe some others. 

The Yang UBI is extremely appealing, especially when Andrew Yang himself talks about it. But I think giving everyone the same $1000 per month would simply cause an equivalent spike in inflation, would it not? It would also mean adding around $3.3 trillion in taxation to a system that currently pulls in about the same amount - $3.3 trillion. So basically doubling the amount of taxation present in the economy, without really understanding the systemic effects. I do feel like the Yang UBI would be a godsend to economically devastated areas of the country like West Virginia. But then, if we had a system more in line with Sweden/Denmark/Norway/Finland we probably wouldn't have human tragedies like West Virginia, etc. 

 A jobs guarantee for the able bodied and employable makes some sense. Right now, in the US, governments take a fairly hands off approach to unemployment. Here in Washington State, the local employment security office has resources to help you with your resume and interviewing, but there's no such thing, for instance, as someone from the government helping to open doors at a target employer, or maybe even get you an interview. But to me, that's one form that a jobs guarantee could take - simply a bit more of an active role in opening doors at companies where an unemployed person could potentially get a job. 

That sort of assistance would be helpful for individuals out of a job in what you might call ordinary economic times, when the rate of unemployment is at normal or lower-than-normal levels, but much less so when you have a recession and there are mass layoffs. In those situations, I would hope that the government could get creative, hiring thousands into the federal government itself, and possibly providing grants for state and local governments to do the same. Relocation grants for workers could be another tool.

A recession would also be an opportunity for the military to temporarily grow it's headcount. Some of you may not know this, but there are billets for reservists in the active military. When I was in the Marine Corps years ago, I ran into one of these guys at one of the training schools I went through. I think he was doing a two-year rotation. If provided the funding, I'm sure the military could create thousands of those billets at the drop of a hat.

Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts.  

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On 2/24/2020 at 3:44 PM, The Anti-Targ said:

The dole has to be available to everyone not currently in full-time paid work.

A no-questions-aksed dole is a big change from the status quo! In that case, what you're suggesting isn't too different from the UBI, in practise. Everyone gets that amount of money as a minimum, no matter what. But there's effectively a much lower minimum wage, since people's income doesn't go up as much when they have a job.

On 2/24/2020 at 3:52 PM, Simon Steele said:

UBI seems strange to me--it's almost like we're admitting the system is so rigged, here's an extra amount of monthly cash. It ignores the fact that housing markets, utilities, anything we buy, will just increase itself accordingly. 

Well yes, the system is rigged! And automation should be reducing the amount of work people have to do. For a lot of stuff, the supply curve is relatively flat and people buying more won't have much effect on the price. But in many places, housing is already a problem, and no, a UBI won't fix it - other measures need to be taken.

On 2/24/2020 at 3:52 PM, Simon Steele said:

The worry I'd have about a job guarantee is that it fires up the Right even more to insist people work, and they work themselves to the bone.

Yeah, that's a big concern.

6 hours ago, Pecan said:

But I think giving everyone the same $1000 per month would simply cause an equivalent spike in inflation, would it not? It would also mean adding around $3.3 trillion in taxation to a system that currently pulls in about the same amount - $3.3 trillion.

There would be some spike in inflation, but nowhere near enough to cancel out the effects. The 1% can afford to have their taxes doubled.

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7 hours ago, felice said:

A no-questions-aksed dole is a big change from the status quo! In that case, what you're suggesting isn't too different from the UBI, in practise. Everyone gets that amount of money as a minimum, no matter what. But there's effectively a much lower minimum wage, since people's income doesn't go up as much when they have a job.

 

Please tell me that was a typo and not deliberate.

I think there is an important difference with a UBI in that there's no U involved in a Job guarantee scheme. There is no govt money going straight into the pockets of people making decent income and living in material comfort. Any govt can certainly afford a UBI being truly U and paid at minimum wage rates, but govts should still spend in a fiscally responsible way so that the social benefits of all spending are optimised. UBI is not optimal spending as the money can be much more focussed on those who truly need it. I don't personally want a UBI, though I am almost lazy enough that if a minimum wage no questions asked dole was available I would be thinking about "retiring" a little bit earlier than the age of eligibility for national super. I am on the 15-year count down to 65, and I don't plan to stay in the rat race a day past my 65th birthday (or die on my way there). If could shift it to 60 I'd be very tempted. But I still want at least another 10 years of earning my pretty decent salary before I voluntarily take a significant drop in personal income.

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Just to add. There is a lot of labor actually done that isn't even compensated by the system. Child-raising, caring for your elderly parents, volunteering to charities. We could start compensating for these activities more if they are taking a significant block of a person's 40 hour work week.

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I will stay out of this discussion just a bit, but I need to push back on something that just comes across as left coast elitism.

On 2/27/2020 at 7:44 AM, Pecan said:

the Yang UBI would be a godsend to economically devastated areas of the country like West Virginia. But then, if we had a system more in line with Sweden/Denmark/Norway/Finland we probably wouldn't have human tragedies like West Virginia, etc. 

...

 Here in Washington State

Sure.  Here in Kentucky, we share the mountain regions with WV and there are individual communities that struggle.  The coal industry has been hit hard and opioid abuse has essentially taken an entire generation out of the workforce, but let’s not look down our noses and act like there’s some sort of humanitarian crises going on in the state at large.

West Virginia economic info

Quote

The economy of West Virginia nominally would be the 62nd largest economy globally behind Iraq and ahead of Croatia according to 2009 World Bank projections,[3] and the 64th largest behind Iraq and ahead of Libyaaccording to 2009 International Monetary Fundprojections.[4] The state has a projected nominal GDP of $63.34 billion in 2009 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysisreport of November 2010, and a real GDP of $55.04 billion. The real GDP growth of the state in 2009 of .7% was the 7th best in the country. West Virginia's economy accelerated in 2014 with a growth rate of 5.1%, ranking third among the fastest growing states in the United States alongside Wyoming and just behind North Dakota and Texas.[5]

Morgantown was ranked by Forbes as the 10th best small city in the nation to conduct business in 2010.[6]

West Virginia has great tourism.  Friendly people.  Diverse economy.  A very good public college for the region.  And very affordable cost of living.

If you want to talk Appalachia and the long term effects of government policy on small towns through the mountains of Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina; well that’s a different conversation, but to act like there’s some sort of humanitarian crises in the entirety of West Virginia reeks of classism.  

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Fair enough. I should have been more specific and referred more broadly to those parts of the country that have been in economic and demographic decline due to loss of jobs in manufacturing, resource extraction, consolidation of farms into large agri-businesses, and other aspects of late-stage capitalism.

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UBI guarantees a bare bones minimum standard and then you supplement that with your actual job. It would basically cover most or all of the rent the middle class pays. 

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4 hours ago, lancerman said:

UBI guarantees a bare bones minimum standard and then you supplement that with your actual job. It would basically cover most or all of the rent the middle class pays. 

in that case, just skip the UBI bit and go with a mandated pay hike.

 

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1 hour ago, ThinkerX said:

in that case, just skip the UBI bit and go with a mandated pay hike.

 

Companies would complain and not everyone would get it. It's a safety net for your worst case situation and a supplement for everyone else. It woud be a game changer for the homeless population, Pretty much everyone in the middle class wouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck and it would stimulate the economy. And rich people would get it so they couldn't complain about it being welfare. 

UBI is better because it's universal and it doesn't require anything. Nobody is going to realistically want to live off that alone if they can help it. And it allows everyone else to build a safety net for themselves in case of an emergency.

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2 hours ago, lancerman said:

Companies would complain and not everyone would get it. It's a safety net for your worst case situation and a supplement for everyone else. It woud be a game changer for the homeless population, Pretty much everyone in the middle class wouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck and it would stimulate the economy. And rich people would get it so they couldn't complain about it being welfare. 

UBI is better because it's universal and it doesn't require anything. Nobody is going to realistically want to live off that alone if they can help it. And it allows everyone else to build a safety net for themselves in case of an emergency.

Taxpayers - especially those on the center and right - will complain even more about 'leeches' and 'welfare kings' - which is how UBI will be portrayed.  Workers, on the other hand, are long overdue for a pay hike.  What took one income 30-40 years ago takes two incomes now.   

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I liked Yang's argument, which that with a UBI people could pursue jobs that give them satisfaction and fulfillment, rather than working just to pay the bills. For example someone could become a teacher without worrying about how low the pay is for teachers.

A jobs programmed seems like too much work for the government. Deciding what jobs need to be fulfilled and which people can do them? People could be assigned to jobs that they don't have aptitude for. There's also the problem of whether the wages for those jobs would be enough.

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6 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

Taxpayers - especially those on the center and right - will complain even more about 'leeches' and 'welfare kings' - which is how UBI will be portrayed.  Workers, on the other hand, are long overdue for a pay hike.  What took one income 30-40 years ago takes two incomes now.   

Those taxpayers will still get their 1000 a month so they can complain but everyone’s going to say “why are you taking it then”

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On 2/22/2020 at 1:57 AM, The Anti-Targ said:

Why are certain segments of the political spectrum so hot on UBI but cold on a job guarantee?

Probably the biggest advantage of a job guarantee is that it makes fiscal policy automatic, which given the current state of politics is no small thing. The Republican Party can't decide if it's the "low interest rate" party or if its the fiscally prudent party and it seems to generally have no fucking idea when to raise or lower interest rates or run deficits. It evidently has no model it works in, other than whether on orange baboon is in office. If we had sane policy it might not be needed. But of course we don't have sane policy. In my view, that is the biggest argument for a job guarantee. The downside of course is the huge administrative task of the government trying to find jobs for those who need them.

Currently, the UBI isn't going to big enough for anybody to live off of. I'm not opposed to it, as it can increase on the margin people's financial security. For some people, even an extra $500 a month can be a big help.  That said, currently, it is no replacement for tight labor markets and full employment policies. It may have a bigger role to play in the future if at some point AI technology develops to the point that human labor is not longer needed as a factor of production.

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