Down to where? All that is down is only the floor.
- Feb 3, 2013
Milton Friedman (and even Friedrick Hayek) supported the idea of a Guaranteed Minimum Income given to all citizens by the government concurrent with eliminating a lot of welfare programs and the minimum wage because it would be more cost-effective and decrease market distortions.This is really the problem I have with "workfare". It ends up costing more money because people have this Christian work ethic notion of nothing earned, nothing gotten. That and drug testing welfare recipients. They can't afford to pay for any of this, they're on welfare. So you and I foot a larger bill because Rusty Redneck believes it's a sin to get free stuff or that you should've prayed your heroine addiction away.
Unless you literally just kill poor people, they're going to cost you money one way or another. A solution should optimise for a minimum and not aim for an elimination of welfare dependency, because you're not going to eliminate poverty without sentient-machine-powered abundance. I'm an engineer and a pragmatist; I go with the most efficient solution no matter how unorthodox it may seem. Just giving people money, without any means testing or restriction, may ultimately prove to be the best way to alleviate poverty and eliminate bureaucratic overhead. Just a small amount, it's not even enough to live off without working so the supply chain will still survive. Everyone gets the same amount of money, so there's no perverse incentives near the end of the means-testing line. We already do this in Alaska in the form of the Permanent Fund, a citizen's dividend of sorts, and it's been very effective in helping out the lowest income brackets.
This is going to get more and more important as the barrier for entry to any form of employment requires more and more brainpower and creativity. Not everyone's got it. Automation will reshape our society and culture profoundly unless everyone starts pumping out geniuses immediately. When we reach a point where the supply chain can mass-produce common items by rote on its own or with minimal human intervention, we're going to come to a point where we either issue a citizen's dividend for the people who simply can't work/can't find work valuable enough to sustain themselves...or just shoot 'em.