The idea of Universal Basic Income is like a band-aid on a sucking chest wound, it appears as though the situation is solved, but the underlying problem remains.
UBI tries to solve the problem of inequality but will fail at this. Why? Because the problem of inequality can only be solved by the equalization of wealth. Yes, giving cash — outright — to a select few individuals, or group does, generally, lift those people up out of the mire of poverty, or elevate them enough, give them a glimmer of hope so that the specter of impoverishment is pushed to the shadows.
But, give everybody the same allotment of cash and all you’ll do is inflate the currency and we’ll be back to Zimbabwe or the Weimar Republic. The elites will still be thousands of times more wealthy than the median population.
That’s the inequality that will not be cured. That’s why a full coverage UBI will fail.
But what can we do? Well, we could start with understanding why the wealthy are wealthy. If we figure that out, and universally distribute that — whatever it is — then perhaps the inequality will be reduced, eventually, to a socially acceptable level.
So, why are the wealthy wealthy? No doubt there are dozens of reasons we could cite, but the primary one is that they do not work for their income. As Warren Buffet famously said “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
Okay, so what can we do with that thought? Let’s see, if the wealthy let their wealth earn them money, and if this is predominately done with investments in the corporations, the means of production, the growth and expansion of productivity, then somehow we need to get that into the hands of everyone.
What about this: create a financial instrument which can be distributed — UBI style — to every citizen of the country. Let’s say we create an ETF, an exchange traded fund, which is comprised of the rolling top 10000 companies and utilities, include bonds and treasuries in the instrument – a smorgasbord of components that represent the country’s economy.
We take that EFT and we give shares of it away to every citizen, one share per month, for life. We make investors out of every single person in the country, invested in the country itself, its progress, its future.
Some people will turn around and sell their shares right away. That’s okay, let them. They can use that money like the common UBI that has been proposed.
Others will let their shares sit. Accrue. Gain value and multiply. When they need cash for emergencies or buying a house or car, they can sell them then.
We could label this ETF: USAA — United States of America for All.
This would give cash to those who need cash, but for most, I suspect, it would give them a sense of participating in the wealth growth of the nation. Their investment would be making them money – “while they slept.”
This let’s every citizen participate in the economy just like the elites on Wall Street. This distributes Wall Street level prosperity down to Main Street where it’s needed.
Sure, this is not the whole solution — the wealthy still have thousands or millions of times more wealth than the median population. And there are solutions for that too — namely progressive taxation…
Employee Income Inequality Tax
Scaled Tax Schedule:
|Scaled Federal Tax Schedule|