I don't see why the Basic Income model relies on a "post-scarcity" scenario. Where does the money come from?
citizenr (the post that started this particular chain) explicitly called it out as part of his reasoning:
Right - my point was that I don't accept that premise.
The goal is working people would pay the equivalent of the Basic Income in tax, but get the Basic Income too, so it would have net zero effect.
If everyone got back exactly what they paid, there would be not left to go to those who pay nothing.
You misunderstood me: I didn't say everyone gets back what they put it; I said the net effect on people's contributions and receipts compared to today would be zero (or rather, the aim is to make it as close to zero as can be done). The rich pay for the poor people's welfare today; this would be no different.
But I also said that in practice the better off would pay a bit more in such a system, as those just above the Basic Income level would be better off than today (no more poverty trap), and someone has to pay for that.
declare it, lose benefits and face a 90% marginal tax rate
It's known as a welfare trap. It means that the opportunity cost spent to get back into work isn't worth the returns on working. It might be a little less pronounced under a Basic Income system, but the principle still applies - Basic Income is, after all, just another form of welfare, with a simplified system of distribution.
No, the Basic Income overcomes the poverty trap entirely. Right at the top of the wikipedia entry you cite it says withdrawal of means-tested benefits are a key component of it. With the Basic Income, there are no means tested benefits to withdraw.
With Basic Income it might be that the wages on offer aren't sufficient to persuade someone to go out and work. That means either the Basic Income is too high, the wages on offer are too low, or the job isn't sufficiently valuable to be done.
Welfare generally starts off as a safety net - enough money that people who are without work can survive.
Indeed, and the Basic Income is a different model entirely.
The thing welfare needs to work is a large gap between the welfare payments, and the lowest tier of the workforce. Without that gap, you lose the incentive for people on the Basic Income to ever leave it - the opportunity cost for working outweighs the benefit of a marginal financial benefit.
The thing is, once the Basic Income is established, it's in the interest of the people on it to narrow that gap.
Huh? Firstly, everyone is "on it". If you're referring to those who have no earned income beyond the Basic Income then it most certainly is not in their interest to narrow the gap, as that means lower wages for whatever work they might take. Of course, the other way to narrow it is to raise the Basic Income, but a key part of the Basic Income is that it is maintained a level that allows one to survive, but uncomfortably; so if you raise the Basic Income to the point where it allows a comfortable life-style, then, well, that isn't Basic Income any more (and without a post-scarcity scenario I agree would be stupid).
The only way your statement makes sense is if one assumes people out of work wish to remain out of work. That may be true for some, but I seriously doubt that is the case for many.
Because people born into welfare generally find it hard to leave it, you get an increasing pool of people on welfare, which correlates with an increasing political presence (in democratic societies anyway), and a commensurate decrease of workers providing funding for it.
In short, what you need is for a welfare payment that is enough to survive, but little enough that it's not comfortable to live on it.
Absolutely agree. And that goes for Basic Income as well as Welfare.
Maintaining that balance long term is difficult, particularly when there's pressures on both sides with a vested interest in tipping it over.
Only if > 50% of the electorate earns nothing or little above the Basic Income. Increasing the Basic Income will mean increasing taxes, and there will be more electoral pressure in the opposite direction to keep it low.
I suspect the real problem with Basic Income is that it is just too unknown and too much of a risk. e.g. what would be the effect on inflation when it is introduced? There will inevitably be winners and losers and the outliers may be quite extreme. And perhaps most importantly, it would be far too easy for political opponents to spread FUD and so shoot it down before anyone gets a chance to try it.
But the advantage of such a scheme far outweigh the costs IMO. Today, I'd be happy to pay someone £10 to mow my lawn. Someone unemployed might be happy to accept that, but be faced with either (a) not declaring the earnings and running the risk of prosecution plus social stigma of being a "benefits cheat", or (b) declare it, lose benefits and face a 90% marginal tax rate, so only get £1 for mowing my lawn, which just isn't worth it. Plus no more complicated and expensive means testing, but that's just a little bonus compared to improved incentives for economic activity.
Here in the UK the government has told us how a top rate of tax of 50% means it removes the incentive for people earning > £150K pa to try to earn more, yet they expect those on benefits to be motivated to get a job for a few thousand a year with 90% marginal tax rate. Madness.
In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter