Universal Basic Income

CNBC, reporting on comments by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi highlights the first open admission that left-liberal progressives intend to utilize Coronavirus as a pretext to implement some of their most radical short-term objectives. Quoting Pelosi[1], CNBC reported, “Others have suggested a minimum income, a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so.”[2] Andrew Yang included universal basic income (UBI) as part of his 2020 presidential campaign. Yang was quoted as saying, “I’m pleased to see the White House adopt our vision of putting money directly into the hands of hard-working Americans.” Bernie Sanders, in one of his last campaign speeches before dropping out of the 2020 election proposed a scheme to pay every household $2000 monthly.

Willkie in her CNBC article parroted numbers of unemployed in the U.S. at approximately $25 million. She sailed to acknowledge that phase one of the CARES Act included a provision that added $600 per week to unemployment benefits, above and beyond what one would normally qualify for based upon prior income level. Numerous other sources have reported the impact of this fact – individuals make more money being unemployed than working[3], and some are unwilling to go back to work.[4] On the face of it, this is an absurd policy. No reasonable person can make an honest argument in support of a policy that redistributes wealth and pays people more not to work than to work unless the worldview behind the support of the policy leads the supporter to other, unspoken objectives. By any honest account, this is plunder.[5] If we accept the reasonable conclusion that paying people more to be unemployed than they made while working is absurd and the people supporting such are not deficient in mental capacity then we must also accept that something else is at play – it is a straightforward syllogism.  It is also a fact that the same people that supported the boost to unemployment pay in the CARES Act are now suggesting full-blown UBI, we begin to see the greater objective.

Universal basic income, once adopted, would be nearly impossible to rollback. It would be perhaps the most transformative public policy legislation in U.S. history. The implications of control and intrusion in everyday life and control of the economy are wider than any previous move toward centralization. UBI, if adopted, is a great step forward toward socialism. The fact that both of these programs are being slipped in amid a ‘crisis’ seems deceptive. “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit…”( ESV Colossians 2:8). Socialism is a derivative of the ideology of Marxism and the deception being used to implement it is abhorrent. Public policymakers and citizens must be vigilant.


[1] See video of Pelosi's statement, https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1254764438000984064.

[2] Willkie, C. “Pelosi says universal basic income could be ‘worthy of attention now’ as coronavirus stifles economy”, CNBC. 27 April 2020. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/27/coronavirus-update-universal-basic-income-could-be-worthy-of-attention-pelosi-says.html.

[3] See, “Some people are earning more in unemployment benefits than they did while working, leaving little incentive to return to their jobs”, Business Insider, 21 April 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/unemployment-benefits-may-be-higher-than-wages-for-some-workers-2020-4.

[4] See, “Furloughed Workers Don’t Want To Return To Their Jobs As They’re Earning More Money With Unemployment”, Forbes, 28 April 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/04/28/furloughed-workers-dont-want-to-return-to-their-jobs-as-theyre-earning-more-money-with-unemployment/#50054cb06b76.

[5] Bastiat, Frédéric. The Law. United States: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Law/DZKE3-pV1AYC,  p. 13

Author: Barry

Southerner, father, husband, Christian and a retired Army field grade officer. Author of five books and of several papers and articles on ethics, culture, history, geopolitics and military affairs. He is the Executive Director of The Calhoun Institute and a partner at B&B Clark Consulting.

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