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Mark Zuckerberg Doubles Down On Universal Basic Income, Calls It a 'Bipartisan Issue' ( 472

Mark Zuckerberg praised the Alaska Permanent Fund and used it as another platform to lobby for universal basic income, as he did during his commencement address to Harvard in May. The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 as the Alaska pipeline construction neared completion. According to CNBC, the "goal was to share the oil riches with future generations." From the report: Zuckerberg says the state's cash handout program "provides some good lessons for the rest of the country." The dividend averages $1000 (or more) per person. "That can be especially meaningful if your family has five or six people," says Zuckerberg in a post he wrote about the payment. "This is a novel approach to basic income in a few ways. First, it's funded by natural resources rather than raising taxes. Second, it comes from conservative principles of smaller government, rather than progressive principles of a larger safety net," says Zuckerberg. "This shows basic income is a bipartisan idea." Fundamentally, Zuckerberg says people think and work differently when they have their basic needs met. "Seeing how Alaska put this dividend in place reminded me of a lesson I learned early at Facebook: organizations think profoundly differently when they're profitable than when they're in debt. When you're losing money, your mentality is largely about survival," says Zuckerberg. "But when you're profitable, you're confident about your future and you look for opportunities to invest and grow further. Alaska's economy has historically created this winning mentality, which has led to this basic income. That may be a lesson for the rest of the country as well."
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Mark Zuckerberg Doubles Down On Universal Basic Income, Calls It a 'Bipartisan Issue'

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  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:32PM (#54750749)

    If your only criteria for being bipartisan is that the plan conforms to both conservative and liberal ideals, then this wouldn't a problem. But when Obama basically copied previous conservative proposals in order to reach a bipartisan deal, he met with resistance just because it was proposed by a Democrat.

    As long as liberals think Universal Basic Income is a good idea, they are going to need strong super majorities to get it through the legislative process because the other side will block literally anything that even smells liberal in origin.

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:40PM (#54750855)
    Don't have three or more kids, especially if you don't have the means to support them. It's hard enough to make concepts like minimum wage and UBI work for individuals alone. It seems that a lot of these efforts are being viewed through the lens of normalizing and accepting situations caused by, in part, irresponsible breeding, rather than affecting the root causes.
  • Gamers (Score:2, Troll)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 )

    You just want to play video games []. Mommy's basement gamer clicking "like!" "like!" "like!" on UBI stories. She's on board as well; no hope of getting rid of you otherwise.

  • Social Security (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:56PM (#54751111)

    The US already has a very successful UBI. It's called Social Security. Right now, it only applies to older people and those with disabilities.
    Social Security has done a remarkable job of eliminating poverty among the elderly. It gives them enough money to afford basic necessities of food and shelter. Everyone gets a basic income with no requirement to work and no "means test".
    Don't know why the same system wouldn't work for everyone. Just increase the SS tax and give everyone a basic income.

    • Re:Social Security (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @06:13PM (#54751297)

      You really, REALLY don't know what SS is, do you?

      If you don't work, you don't get it... If you don't work enough years, you don't get it... How much you get depends on how much you DID make...

      And even then, it isn't really enough to live on in any case... even if you get the max...

      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        Yes, there is a minimal work requirement but it's so low that everyone has qualified (or has a spouse or parent who makes them eligible).
        The benefit does increase if you have more years of credit but the difference between the minimum benefit and maximum is small.
        It's not a large amount of money but lots of people do live solely on their SS benefit. It's a basic income.
        It's really a good model for a UBI and shows how beneficial such a program could be.

    • UBI and single payer healthcare (Medicare). It is fascinating that two very socialist programs are supported by so many people in this country, but are unwilling to consider something similar for everyone.

    • Don't know why the same system wouldn't work for everyone. Just increase the SS tax and give everyone a basic income.

      It wouldn't work for all kinds of reasons. Most notably, workers pay the SS tax throughout their working lives (40-45 years) and only receive benefits for about 10-15 years. That ratio of tax period to benefits period is part of what allows the system to work even as well as it currently does.

      Your proposal would actually invert the ratio of tax period to benefits period (~60 years of payments for ~45 years of work). Back-of-the-envelope suggests the SS tax rate would have to increase ~5-fold (to ~65%!)

  • The future's scary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @06:00PM (#54751155)

    As we automate more and more people out of work, as ownership of those automated facilities concentrates more and more, we MUST switch to UBI or admit we're making almost the entire population redundant. This isn't weavers destroying Jacquard looms - computers and robots are on the threshold of obliterating general labor as a way to make even a subsistence living.

    And if we decide the general population is redundant, how long until someone who is in the 'have' group decides the 'have nots' need to starve to death or be killed off before they storm the gates looking for their share?

    The problem is that while much of the rest of the world is at least slightly socialist already, the USA is still paranoid about communism and resists social programs even if they're dying as a result - the Republican support for repealing socialized healthcare being a textbook example.

    So UBI may not fly in the USA until past the time when its needed, and then we will get to see if the masses die off before they revolt.

    • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

      We need consumers to buy our products. That means the masses will never become redundant or unneeded. They are our market.

  • During a Marc Andreesen twitter thread, UBI came up. He noted that it would apply to the income levels of upper middle class and higher, and that would be wasted money as they don't need the extra UBI. For that reason against it. Someone had suggested a 'negative income tax,' which he retweeted, and this one made a bit more sense.

    If you make less than, say 30K a year, your tax rate would be negative and you'd get money back instead of paying into it. This would help with people who are on minimum wage, a

    • Assuming that an UBI will be paid for by taxes, it is equivalent to a negative income tax. Paying the UBI as a tax credit would make it explicitly a negative income tax. Nothing really changes but the name, the effect is exactly the same.

      That is how I advocate an UBI should be done:

      First, in preparation, make tax refunds paid out in monthly installments instead of in one lump sum (and to be fair and symmetrical, allow tax payments still due after filing to be paid in monthly installments too). Most people,

  • Zuckerberg seems to conveniently ignore the fact that the dividends paid on oil in Alaska are a pretty unique scenario in the USA. That was implemented long before anyone was running around praising the virtues of a UBI for all citizens. Everyone has understood that the money paid out for being an Alaska citizen is well balanced out by some huge downsides of choosing Alaska as your place of residence.

    If this wasn't the case, you'd have a disproportionately large number of people moving to Alaska with their

  • I am all for this. A couple of requirements:

    1 All other forms of welfare and social programs are shut down the moment this program goes live. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and public school programs.
    2 All gov't employees are immediate fired from all the now closed programs.
    3 Anyone that has been in prison 3 or more times is automatically banned from the program.
    4 1st generation immigrants will never qualify for this program.
    5. No one is exempt from paying into this program

  • The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 as the Alaska pipeline construction neared completion

    So what will happen to this when the wells go empty?

    • Re:What happens? (Score:4, Informative)

      by bored_engineer ( 951004 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @07:19PM (#54752003)
      The permanent fund is managed by a state-controlled corporation. A certain amount of the income from oil production is paid into the fund each year, and the corporation is required to invest the fund. The fund pays out a dividend each year that's based on a rolling five year average of the profits that the fund has earned. The principal of the fund is constitutionally protected, and barring mismanagement or a massive change in political views around the fund, will always exist. Last year the permanent fund earned about $1.37 billion on a fund of about $55 billion.
  • When we start having serious layoffs in the millions due automation, people will begin insisting on UBI. If it doesn't happen then there is no need to panic.

    It will be too late for a lot of people but you can't help those who refuse your help. :(

  • $65billion/320million people = ~$200 per person.

    I look forward to his contribution to my welfare.

  • by jcr ( 53032 )

    What Zuck proposes is nothing more or less than LBJ's plan. Get as many people as possible converted into state dependents, and you can count on them voting to expand the state. Bread and Circuses brought down the Romans, too.


    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @09:13PM (#54752891)
      Only if you decide to set up a dichotomy between people who want to take that benefit away and give the money to the rich, and those who don't. It's entirely possible to have a right-wing party that also supports the status quo programs because they're popular, while not wanting to socialize the whole damn economy. Just look at Margaret Thatcher's Britain. She privatized all sorts of formerly government run corporations and interests, but she left the NHS alone - why? Because it worked and people liked it.

      It's not like there's some sort of slippery slope to absolute statist control, and only total unmitigated freedom is a possible alternative. People/countries/societies can and do function with some measure of social programs, and as has been proven repeatedly in advanced countries, it works out just fine. The only thing that's proved to be a problem is corruption - in countries where that is widespread/endemic, and there's no or weak rule of law, it ends badly, but that's true of corrupt countries without lots of social programs, too.
  • Seeing Zuckerberg getting involved in politics makes me cringe for some mysterious reason. Anybody else?
  • ... oh, wait [].

    Freeman says, many homeless people come to Anchorage from a village for one reason or another, and get stuck here.

    Around 70 percent of the 700 or so homeless people surveyed say they’re Alaska Native. Many are from rural villages.

    • Comparing the permanent fund to a UBI, is contrived, at best. The Alaska permanent fund is nothing more and nothing less that a dividend based on investment profit. There is no intent provide a basic income, as it's never been larger than about $2,000, other than the year that the-governor-we-all-want-to-forget (Sarah Palin) spearheaded an additional payout because of ridiculous oil prices.
  • by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @07:43PM (#54752223)
    When the welfare system in the USA was signed into law, during the FDR days, it was MAINLY for poor families with dependent children. In the 60's LBJ and government really expanded it with the advent of medicare/medicade. People, when they are "given" anything, will work LESS. People can be lazy if they don't have to get up off their butts and work for a LIVING. Who really wants to work? Some do. It gives them purpose in life. "GIVING" people anything, at times, most don't appreciate it but will end up thinking they are "entitled" to something.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham