It’s been pointed out that UBI (universal basic income, i.e. tl;dr the idea that governments pay all citizens a yearly stipend) is unusual in that it’s one of the few economic policies to have support on both the left and the right. It’s probably worth unpacking a little bit of why that is.
To be clear, I support UBI but not in the “pure” neoliberal sense of being an excuse to discard, privatize, or otherwise sell-off all government welfare and services (e.g. education, health care… the goddamn post office, etc.). UBI one tool in the welfare state toolbox; a replacement widget for the current unwieldy—and thus costly to administer—maze of tax rebates and situation-specific benefits. It is, in other words, a starting point, not a finishing line.1
This is, of course, not the UBI as envisaged by the economic right. And if it’s a choice between the current system and “UBI and nothing”? Then I’ll take the former, every time.
- See also that comic with the boxes and the fence. The “UBI only” system is the “everyone gets one box, no matter how tall” part of the analogy, which is why neoliberals and libertarians—i.e. the uncritical inheritors of classical liberalism’s “everyone is the same height” philosophy—love to fap off to it. ^