Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Plan

Timmy has a really excellent article up at TCS Daily, dealing with Charles Murray's In Our Hands. Murray, essentially, advocates the abolition of the Welfare State (including things such as farming and corporate subsidies) in favour of what we would call the Citizen's Basic Income.
The basic plan is so terribly simple. Take all of the money we currently pay out through the tax and benefit system on everything like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps (whatever the current name of that program is) student aid, all the programs which take money from one group to give to another, and abolish those programs. Yes, simply do away with them.

Instead of sucking all this money into Washington DC and then allowing the Congresscritters to parcel it out to favored constituencies, along with the heavy tithe taken for the bureaucracies, simply hand it out as a $10,000 a year payment to each and every adult citizen.

It is very much discussing the implementation in the US, but the points apply equally to this country. As you know, your humble Devil is very much in favour of such a thing—although some Lefties have expressed dismay that it would not be means-tested—as he thinks that it would actually be of more help to the poor, and would have additional benefits.
As I see it, the two major objections to The Plan from the right side of the political spectrum are or will be that there shouldn't actually be any redistribution going on at all and that if there is, people should have to do something to get it, not just be allowed to loll their way through life. To which I would respond that if we're to deal with a stipulated political reality of redistribution, The Plan reduces the perverse incentives of the current system. And best of all, it will cause mass unemployment amongst bureaucrats.

Yes, it would. And then these bureaucrats could get employment in the private sector or even—and who could imagine such a thing?—start their own businesses; in this way they would become wealth creators rather than welath consumers.


Anonymous said...

I swear I read somewhere you slagging off lefties for pie in the sky, unattainable dreams, telling them to focus on stuff that might actually work ? ;-)

This reads like a neoconflattaxrightlibertarian's (or whatever you call them) wet dream and seems to conviently forget the fact that people are members of the human race. Just take the most obvious problem, that some people will booze their ten grand away in a month and then let their kids starve to death. Or do we simply apply evolutionary principles and let them die and good riddance ?

Somewhere there's a line in the sand, at which the welfare state begins to be about the welfare of all human beings, and not just about bureaucrats stealing our hard earned. While I agree maybe now we're on the pier eating candy floss, this idea is by the sea's edge pissing on our own feet.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Just take the most obvious problem, that some people will booze their ten grand away in a month and then let their kids starve to death.

And that differs from the current system in what way, exactly? There are those who take their benefits and drink them away now. I don't think that anyone is proposing that you give the ten grand up front.

Or do we simply apply evolutionary principles and let them die and good riddance ?

Where are the workhouses...? Common decency demands that we don't let them die. Offer shelter in return for work though...? After all, it's what the working population do...


Anonymous said...

ok starve was bit off the cuff. housing, healthcare etc, the bits administered by the state these guys want to blow off. at least this way the kid has a roof over its head and can get his cuts stitched even if daddy blows the food money on fags. there is probably some merit in making this stuff simpler and making people more self sufficient but this idea is just silly.

Anonymous said...

A fringe benefit of the $10,000 "citizen's income" is that if you need to imprison the "citizen", you get to take his $10,000 to help pay for it. It shouldn't be too hard to run a prison at a marginal cost of $10,000 per prisoner per year...

chris said...

some people will booze their ten grand away in a month and then let their kids starve to death.

When whining for more hand outs they are rudely introduced to the concept of work, rather than just getting given more of other peoples money for being such a failure.

Or the kids can be removed for there own protection and fostered somewhere else. One dead savage from liver poisoning and kids brought up by people that actually care about them. Everybody wins.

AntiCitizenOne said...

I'd favour moving away from taxing income, towards Ricardian rents on land.

The former would tend to imply that taxpayers are slaves of the masses.

Anonymous said...

>>removed for there own protection
Ok I'm gonna have to read the damn book cos I'm confused as to the boundaries of this proposal. I thought the whole point was that there would be no-one to remve them - as we were doing away with all the trappings of the welfare state ?
whose paying for the social workers all of a sudden ? whose paying the foster carers to look after them ?

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