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universal basic income

Universal basic income is an idea whose time may have come. Proposed by an increasing amount of leading economists, it is one way to combat the increasing wage disparity between the 1% and everyone else.

Neoliberalism brought us the idea that open global markets would adjust and allow blue collar workers to be retrained when their industry moved to a low wage sector but this was a fallacy. Instead we saw people falling off the grid who were not suited for moving from making textiles to working in IT (to name one example). The idea that people would adjust was a pipe dream bought by believers that free market capitalism can correct these things on its own.

Liberal democracies with strong safety nets fought this problem partly through supporting workers and buying them time to reinvent themselves but in the United States, where the gap is the most marked among the top industrialized nations, there is little backup. A rugged individualistic mindset where this is seen as an unearned handout simply won't allow it. Hence, even if we don't want to destroy free enterprise, the lie that is trickle down economics won't allow the least among us to survive. Little wonder there is a plethora of people wandering the streets in record numbers in the West.

The reality is that not everyone is equipped with an equal level of skill and jobs taken by migrant workers because no Americans would do them can't be blamed on them. The Trumps of this world who did the hiring cannot now turn on them and make them the scapegoat. Bringing back coal jobs clearly isn't the answer either but it works at Trump rallies among people who don't or won't understand the intricacies at play.

Universal basic income could help provide for people who, if not looked after now, will invariably become a burden later via increased health issues; unless of course you just let them perish.

Maybe it's time to give it a try lest you face social revolution down the road.

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