Universal basic income is an idea that is becoming increasingly popular, but its recent rise is not evidence of the fact that is has been tried before. The goal of UBI is to lift people out of poverty, yet in every poor country where it has been implemented, it has not resulted in greater standards of living. In the richest countries in the world, where even the poorest are rich by world standards, is a respect for property rights, the free market, and the ingenuity of the individual.
Lifting people out of poverty in America assumes that people ARE poor in America. The average “poor” American has a cell phone, the internet, cable television, a home, and a vehicle. This is evidence that the idea of a rising tide lifting all boats actually works.
At UBI’s roots are its disrespect for property rights. A government mandated UBI must involve the confiscation of wealth with the threat of violence. This is not the way to lift people out of poverty, nor is it a way to give people dignity and hope. Voluntary charity provides a much better way to “give people free money”. It isn’t just more effective, but it is moral.
Remember that although the “robber barons” ended up creating charities, the main way they made ALL Americans richer was through the productivity and industriousness. The ultimate cure for poverty is the free market, and for the few who still are not doing well, peaceful charity provides a wonderful solution that has worked for thousands of years.
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