A Universal Basic Income

While I do support good living wages for people, I think the below UBI idea isn't quite needed yet but could be a good idea in the near future if the "fourth industrial revolution" really does displace many workers. I still do support a tax bracket that would be similar to mine below and the other ideas. 

I do believe in more socialist principles (it's still capitalism): The idea that local communities and people should have more power throughout the capitalist system - the ability for people to vote on all kinds of issues like if they want a McDonalds to come into their town or not, to be able to bargain more with employers about wages, supporting workers unions, giving more more power and autonomy to small businesses (less rules and regulations in a lot of cases but not all), etc.

One of the reasons I think a UBI would be great is we could could take away the Fed. minimum wage, so if a person is in a particular place in their lives and wanting to gain experience at a job, they should be able to accept any wage they want if they want to (IMO). This would open up opportunities for people (we should also make it easier for people to apply for jobs, manage junk mail easier, etc., etc.,)

On the $15/hr. minimum wage: 

There is a lot of seemingly good reasoning for but also against a $15/hr. minimum wage (can Internet search it) - it could potentially result in more unemployment and a harder economic situation for people at the very bottom.

 

Of course, many make the claim it would hurt small businesses in a lot of states where money goes further but wages are lower. I feel it would hurt local and small businesses a lot because of the advantages large corporations already have with having more employees under them who are very smart and they have a lot more money, data, very cost efficient processes etc. already set up, etc. and there are hardly any controls in wall St., or capitalism and business in America. It is set up I believe, largely, to make it harder on smaller businesses and if a business gets too successful or what have you, they often just get bought out and taken over by a larger corporation. 

The biggest thing we need to do in my opinion, is to control inflation and the dollar's value - how much money is being printed and the overall economic system to end inflationary debt based practices if possible and corrupt practices on Wall St. and in the overall system, to make it more just, equitable, and that rewards work, not money or having money, and not squeezing as much as one can out of their employees or the system and the public at large. That's the real problem.

 

With the cost of of goods and rising inflation now (Aug. 22, 2021), in the past (just look how things have changed from 2010 to now) and possibly with more still to come, I don't really think $20-25/hr. is really all that much, honestly...and it's not, but without controlling inflation, raising the minimum wage doesn't really do anything other than devalue money which makes it harder on some people to afford much of anything (increasing social security benefits with the rate of inflation would be more fair, and with a higher min. wage, giving some companies and people  a voluntary option for exception to the minimum wage would be good in my opinion, if it does happen).

I'm not an economist though common sense and thinking for one's self can go a long way towards developing one's own ideas about Gov. and it's role in economics and society and self education on economics in general.

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I believe in creating a more fair and "improved" form of capitalism (can call it socialism or enhanced federal services or whatever you want), which I believe, as an American/America, we could leverage our world position to coerce other countries and possibly the world into adapting and joining us or copying our system (as they've attempted to do). All my idea's I believe are coherent but I don't know everything or that much about economics.

I believe in online voting, increasing democracy, a universal basic income, and the best (that we can muster and will) government and systems (can see other pages). 

Just putting band-aids on things or changing some things - everything has effects and consequences. For example, as I write this (unveiling my idea's/plan) Biden wants to up the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I don't agree. Doing this would affect every single person in our country and many small businesses would go out of business. Our currency would probably devalue over time and things would go back to a new normal after a time. Those large businesses, with all the data, resources (money), etc. would be best equipped to deal with the changes. Those unemployed or making very little, hanging on, or those retired with set living wages, would suffer as the prices on groceries and everything goes up. It's just not fair, or a good way to go about so-called "change".

 

I believe in changing the system(s) at the top and bottom. The U.S. printed 21% or so of the total dollars in circulation in total in 2020 (source here another here as well for all G7 countries). Inflation has been accelerating for a long time now without real wage increases to the average workers. 

 

“What we’re working with now is fake money, a fake measuring rod,” longtime Federal Reserve critic and former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul told USA TODAY. “It is unbelievable.”

The Proposal (to go along with or after a global carbon tax at the least, as well): 

I think every American citizen (the richest country in the world) should not go hungry or homeless. That we can provide for all. Prisoners are provided for, are they not?. I believe in a tax bracket centered around an agreed-upon low yearly income number. Say, $1,400 a month, for example, equaling $16,800/yr. This number is just an example, but a decent starting point. This number could be made to vary by location a bit (such as how the military calculates basic allowance for housing) if we wanted it to as well but I think a set amount would be better and simpler overall and help to decrease population densities. From this starting point number, and to encourage people to work - I propose setting the starting federal tax bracket at 2x the UBI number which would be ($1,400/mo, $16,800/yr times two =) $33.4k/yr.

 

This would do a lot - be a huge change and cause huge effects. People would then have some negotiating power with companies over jobs - effectively raising the minimum wage while doing away with any set Federal standards on a minimum wage. It would allow people to attend college much easier (along with raising the FAFSA contribution which I would support as well). 

If making below this amount(s), one would still be paid a difference of $1,400 after filing their monthly income (reported to the Gov./IRS online every month).  States of course still set their own taxes but would be required to set up their own online voting and tax systems, with the help of the Federal government.

 

If making above this, there would be a progressive tax bracket, with many steps, that don't penalize people from going higher (making more) on a per-step basis and topping out no more than some agreed-upon percent.

An example of one of these types of tax brackets with $16,800 as the set UBI standard:

Income (thousands) - Fed. Tax Rate

33.4-40 -3%

40 - 50 - 4%

50 - 60 - 5%

60 - 70 - 6%

70 - 80 - 7%

80 - 90 - 8%

and so on. If continued on, it would hit 25% at $250,000 which is okay, but continuing like this would hit 100 percent at 1 million. Obviously, no one should be taxed that much so the increases per step should get smaller and smaller. All just my opinion, and I'm not sure if that is perfect thinking or anything as it still favors the rich but it's a step in the right direction in my opinion. Other than setting a flat tax on all profits, which is a fair idea but still unfair I believe in the realities of capitalism - that is, that money naturally funnels to the top, so I believe some redistribution to be fairer and would go towards helping people and advancing society if other things we're set up well - better and fairly, with more trust and democracy. 

then at the higher (very important) levels:

Income (thousands) - Fed. Tax Rate

550 - 1000 (thousand) - 30%

1000 - 20000 - 31%

30000 - 40000 - 37%

>40,000 - 40% (still is an income of 24 million/yr., maybe it should go higher faster?)

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This would really, in my opinion, "effectively" raise the minimum wage, truly. As people would have more "leverage". They wouldn't NEED to work (to survive and live). Companies and businesses than are the ones who would be the ones wanting WORKERS. See? They would need us, not we, them. Community and education, family, free time, would be so much better if people/workers had more leverage with companies needing/wanting good, productive happy workers. Personally, from where I'm from, and I imagine, the economy would be "popping" off compared to tax policies we have now. Small businesses could be thriving and therefore, able to afford to pay workers well or have more employees. It truly helps from the bottom up.

 

There would be no need for a federal minimum wage and phase out unemployment benefits and we could drop it entirely. People could then have more opportunities to volunteer or work for very little if they wanted to. To gain experience and learning a trade or job, or investing in themselves doing online learning, which is almost a whole other topic but relates, because much education can be had online and self-taught. Education is only the foundation for a person (and society) though, it's not experience. We could phase out social security over time and in just a few years really if we wanted to: By continuing social security payments to those who've paid into the system (or lump sum etc., as the current system allows) and for those who have already retired and are receiving social security benefits, paying into social security for them (until they all pass away of course) and eventually phasing it out (is still a problem because of our population pyramid but less so). We could implement/set the UBI at a low rate and phase it up when first starting out - say $700. The options are many. Everything would be voted upon so the only danger with the UBI is politicians and people always voting to raise it, which would be a real problem in today's world but with other proposals and a move to a circular and more real world based economy I think issues of poverty and standards of living can be lessened and re-evaluated over time. 

 

How to pay for this and balance the budget? I believe in ending all corporate loopholes and setting fair tax percentages for businesses, that, hopefully, would not have overly adverse effects on the economy at large. We could punish businesses that leave or try to not pair their taxes by market manipulation (tax them on their goods, making it harder for them to compete with those businesses who do fairly pay their taxes). 

 

I don't pretend to know what would be best and would appreciate the input of economists (also, see below). Of course, the U.S. President would have lots and lots of data available to them from their economic team/department. If making billions in profit, I believe that taxes should be fairly high - businesses are very adaptable. It would definitely help even out the playing field in the business world and give more opportunities to developing businesses. Which I believe, was always part of the American dream - having opportunity. 

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Look at some of the data, and the reality (if one lives and sees the reality of the struggle for everyday average or poor Americans). Some will say our tax system is progressive (https://www.taxpolicycenter.org) and it works as intended and the bottom half isn't effectively paying as much or more as a percentage than the upper half. Others I, personally, am more inclined to believe, such as https://ctj.org/. This shows that many corporations had a 0% effective tax rate in 2018, and the rich getting disproportionately richer. Which is what I see, along with, what I believe, most of the country sees. Calling for more equality and economic justice. Opportunity and wanting real change. 

 

 - 01/18/2021 - Michael Folk

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This obviously would change the frame of reference/mindset of what is considered "Conservative" or "Liberal". - Debating about the level of a Universal Basic Income. Maybe only $1100 would be a good amount? Maybe $1000? Or maybe just $500 (a basic kind of living or"food stipend" + a little extra (clothes, shoes, etc.)). I believe economic/budget reports on the implications of different levels should be done and released for the President, Congress, and all people to see and review if they wish to.

 

I thought of a fair and good way, I believe (only just all my beliefs or thoughts of course), to lower the burden of the Nation's student loan debt (huge "problem"), which would be to limit the annual percentage rate (APR) of existing loans (and setting a standard for all new student loans) to just say, 0.15%. I believe, that government should not be making money off of its own citizens (or allowing another entity (banks) to do so) pursuing higher education but there should be just a little motivation or nudge for people to be held accountable and pay off their loans they took out. I also believe we shouldn't spend more than 20% or so of the federal budget on the military. These things cause a country to "eat itself" over time, so to speak. Learn from history of past empires. It's not rocket science. (We live in the richest country on the planet - 19% for example, therefore, is still a lot, is it not?).

 

I think spending/investing more than say, 19% on any one area is probably not so good as - balance is key - What is 19% x 5? = 95% - this would leave one with an extra 5% towards other things or "rainy day" savings for example or spending towards helping on long term stability ("hedge" investments so to speak, - which right now, would be nice to go towards fighting climate change in my opinion). 

Our government and tax dollars should or could be put to very good use towards building up our country. Period. I believe, other governments would copy us/this system - bringing about more goodwill and mindset towards our country then. - Good relations and relationships are a good thing!

 - 03/14/2021