Dear reader;

Here is something I flagrantly swiped from someone else's blog. It was so pertinent, and something I want to incorporate into my archive of good reading about Basic Income. It is something which every joker trying to be a BI advocate should read. I have also quoted it in my "powerpoint" presentation about BI.

I am also going to try to get a few BI news outlets to run it. I have a feeling this will be a tough sell. But there is definitely a conservaive "bait and switch" going on within the BI movement, here in Canada as well as in The States. The warning drums must be beaten loud, now!

The web site for this piece is The guy's e-mail is given as I somehow think he is not the type who will squawk about copyright violation. Not that it would do him much good. He should be pleased that I find his stuff to be something to preserve and pass on, rather than to delete immediately after reading.

The Basic Income 'n' Switch

originally published September 9, 2014

Another day, another paint-by-numbers piece on basic income.

This time, it was by Dylan Matthews at Vox, where he has covered the subject before. This time, it was a listicle. Not that the form matters. It could have been a sonnet, or an interpretive BLT. After you've read a certain number of these (that number is two), you notice that they all hit the same points. The pilot program in Manitoba. The thing with the robots stealing our jobs. And, of course, the bipartisan support. Oh! That bipartisan support.

This video of Milton Friedman is invariably used to evidence this bipartisan support. (There is no reason to give a leftist example. That is a given.) In it, he blames the welfare trap for making people poor (as opposed to not having money), and has devised a negative income tax plan to combat poverty. How does the math work out? Adjusted for inflation (2013 dollars), a family of four with no other income would receive about $9,911 under his proposal. You don't need look up the poverty line to know that a family of four couldn't possibly survive on $825 a month. That's dumb as Dubai. What this bipartisan support amounts to is essentially an agreement on the name, and even that is shaky.

Some of these plans don't stop at starving the poor. Basic income is such an elastic idea that you can claim you're supporting it while giving tax breaks to the rich. No plan is complete without mentioning how it will reduce administrative costs by ending the "patchwork" (it's like every third article that uses the word "patchwork") of existing programs. That's why we should, they suggest, take the current welfare spending and distribute it equally across all tax brackets. Yeah, it's as regressive as a flat tax, but no more having to pay bureaucrats to do math! Never mind we're running a backwards Robin Hood, we are saving, so sayeth the lobotomized.

I'm not here to insult you, but y'all should have known better than to trust the likes of that frothing-at-the-mouth racist Charles Murray (yeah I guess he supports it or whatever) or Milton "fuck democratic elections" Friedman. Before you get excited about the bipartisan support, try to keep in mind that these people have made a career defending oligarchs. Developing serious plans to fight poverty isn't in their job description. It's sloppy to go ad hominem, but formal logic is only useful when you're not dealing with dudes who make a living obfuscating.

And don't start with that we're gonna pull a fast one on these conservatives chatter. We've played this game before. We tried to sneak universal healthcare in as a Republican idea, and ended up with the A#ordable Care Act. Do you want to relive that debacle? Is it necessary to go through the whole history of how the individual mandate was born in the Heritage Foundation in '89? We had our consolation prize, the right to proclaim how hypocritical and stupid Republicans looked for opposing their own plan. Personally, I would have rather had the coverage and got my teeth fixed.

We're getting pillaged, and we're trying to convince the vikings that society will be stronger if they stop razing our villages and start apprenticing our kids to build them better longboats. They could give a fuck about your logical arguments. They care about winning, and these people are better organized and are just plain smarter smarter. No tacking an adverb on that "are", by the way. They've got more money to put dudes with degrees in front of data, and have outsmarted us repeatedly.

Again, I'm not here to insult you. I'm sure you're a smart person. Educated. Thoughtful. Sexually vivacious in your particular sensitive way, what with your poet's nose and your kind eyes that alternatively evoke Wilde and McConaughey. The thing is that we're dealing with sharks, and when you and your beautiful wife are working out how to stretch $875 until the first of October, you will not be sustained by the broken promises of Milton Friedman any more than native peoples of this great land are warmed at night by the original terms of broken treaties.

When basic income is popular enough to not need perennial articles explaining it, all the momentum built by the Left isn't going to be used for our basic income, or even Friedman's fuck-the-poor plan. We will be the ones begging them to not take away any more of the social safety net.

But I say fuck that. I say we demand a plan not devised in cowardice masquerading as necessary compromise. Let's make demands like we've got hostages. Pay for my liberal arts degree, because I want to study some Joyce. I say, a rock in every pipe and a grow-op in every garage. A government check to pursue happiness. How about, $50,000 a year for every man, woman, and child, to pick a nice, round figure. And a cranberry Snapple. And a Playstation. Or an X-Box. Or whatever, because who are they to choose?