Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Pay Everyone $10,000

I would like to talk about Basic Income, the idea that the government should pay every single person a living income. I estimate that a living income would be about $10,000 per year, but this would change depending on inflation rates, and so a Basic Income Commission of the government needs to be set up to increase Basic Income in line with inflation.

I think a Basic Income is important because it gets rid of wage slavery. Many people think a pure capitalist society is a free society, but it is not. It allows the most able to prosper while crushing and enslaving the poor and turning them against themselves. This was the view of George Fitzhugh in his book The Failure of Free Society.

Slavery in Egypt involves giving slaves an option to work. If they do not work, a whip is used to inflict pain. Given the choice between work and high pain from a whip, the slave opts for work. Wage slavery is similar. A capitalist gives a worker the option to work or to quit. For many workers, quitting means poverty and starvation, which mean pain and death. (Note: I am assuming a perfect idealized capitalist state, i.e. no Medicare or welfare in general.) Effectively, pure capitalism leads to slavery as the worker is slave to need.

Where will we find the money to pay everyone $10,000 per year? Simply, we abolish all other welfare. We abolish public schools, Medicare, stimulus cheques, etc. A Basic Income is capitalistic in that it allows the consumer to decide how to help himself and lets private suppliers help. This is in opposition to the State giving the poor what the State believes is right for them. Moving welfare into the private sector allows for efficiency and competition.

Paying everyone a Basic Income would require taxation. I suggest that citizens be taxed to the point where maximum revenue is extracted. This doesn't mean that citizens are taxed 100 per cent because then the economy cease to exist. If your income tax were 100 per cent, would you work? The tax rate that maximizes revenue may need to be found out by constructing a Laffer Curve (Ronald Raegan concept). It may be the case that tax revenue turns out to be greater than the transfer to people. For example, suppose that $200 million is collected in tax revenue. Suppose that $10,000 is the Basic Income and we have 1,000 people in the population. This means we need to distribute $10 million (1,000 times $10,000 = $10 million). We have $200 million collected in tax revenue and have sent $10 million in obligations to people, so we have $190 million left over. What do we do with this extra cash? I suggest bringing more people in from other countries so that more and more humans can be freed from wage slavery.

What happens if the tax revenue collected is not enough to pay everyone $10,000? Then simply the Basic Income will have to be reduced. Since the Basic Income is what we assume is the bare minimum needed for survival, there will be some wage slavery and exploitation, but this is unavoidable. This system will mitigate wage slavery but it will not get rid of it entirely.

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