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Suppose your boss called you into his or her office and told you that your services were no longer needed. That you were being replaced by a computer-controlled robot that could perform your job faster, more accurately, and cheaper than you can.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

According to an Oxford University study some form of automation will replace 47 percent of current jobs within the next 20 years.

So what’s the bright idea to combat this oncoming metallic menace?

Basic Income

Government programs are the most common answer to poverty, or lack of work, homelessness and almost any other problem Americans face. That seems to be the current thought process in the 21st Century.

Look for your nanny to make things all better — with a check.

So along comes the idea of a “basic income” provided by, who else, Uncle Nanny Sam. This basic income would be enough to provide the bare bones minimums to cover life’s little necessities.

The idea has been around for a long time. None other than President Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King floated some trial balloons to see if there was any interest.

The Unintended Consequences of Basic Income

I’m wondering where the money will come from since people will no longer be working— or working very little which results in reduced tax payments.

Seems like they will have to be doing something to make up the difference between their basic income and what they would like to make to live comfortably. So what will that be? Fast food, street sweeping?

Another problem is how to handle a handout because that’s what we’re talking about. Each month you could have a cool $1,000 in your bank account.

Now you can get some baseball tickets, head down the local casino, load up on beer, and maybe hit a nice restaurant.

Whoops, I forgot about the rent, heat, water, and food.

The money shows up on the 1st and by the 3rd you’re broke again and still living paycheck to paycheck. I’m just more broke than I was.

What did this hypothetical basic income recipient produce? Anything?

Looks like he or she is simply treading the same water while wearing a slightly larger life jacket.

How Basic is Basic?

It costs more to live in San Francisco than it does in Three Forks, Montana. So who gets what for their bare bones necessities?

Do illegals get this money too? Do the husband and wife both get it or is it by household size? The more kids you have the more you get?

That sounds familiar.

Where is the cut-off? How much does your household have to make for you to be ineligible for this windfall?

Is this taxed or just a freebie?

Some Final Thoughts

Get rich quick schemes have been around forever. This is the first “get poor quick” idea I’ve seen.

Many people are poor, not because of how much money they make, but how they handle it.

If government would provide some kind of money management help as a condition of receiving your basic income that might afford some help.

Oh wait; there would be a cost in doing that. Never mind.

Free money, despite being a feel good idea, is rarely the answer.

And worst of all, if it’s a complete failure, how do you stop it? How do you tell people the money they counted on each month will no longer be coming?

I don’t think I want to be the one to write that letter.

I think I better get to work learning how to repair robots.

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