The Swiss just last weekend rejected a nationwide flat bottom income proposal. Bless the Swiss.
A flat bottom income is an idea that has been around for several centuries. In a proposal by Charles Murray, he suggests a $10,000 paycheck for everyone over 21 with provisions for paying income tax after $30,000 in earnings. There are three arguments usually made for this kind of proposal.
- It will save money if all other welfare and social security programs are eliminated.
- It is necessary to cope with the decline in jobs caused by robots and automation.
- And we will get more civil society when more people have the time for it.
These arguments are terrible when lined up against the one main problem with a bottom income subsidy.
It won’t save money because the politics of eliminating other welfare programs is not a possibility.
Robots and automation are not real problems. We have been using machines to replace workers from the first card loom and spinning jenny to the current ATM and Japanese low maintenance autos. Nothing from technology in the future will do any more damage to the amount of work available. In fact, the opposite seems true to those with their eyes open. We work more now than ever before.
Only stupid things like a minimum wage will eliminate jobs. Science fiction is really a branch of fiction and fantasy.
Lastly, the level of civil society found among the gigantic population out of the labor market is not impressive.
The fatal flaw with the basic bottom income proposal is humans. A large part of the human population is happy just watching TV, doing drugs and having sex with a neighbor all their life. The rest of the human population just doesn’t accept the burden of the lazy part. Communism has proven that to be true. Too true.
Bad idea two hundred years ago, bad idea now.