Is It Time For A Guaranteed Minimum Annual Income?
Once again multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg (pictured above) is calling for some form of federal guaranteed income for, not just the poor, but for all Americans.
Sort of a minimum wage salary for all Americans whether they work or not.
Guaranteed Annual Income Is Not A New Idea
You can go all the way back to Democrat presidential nominee George McGovern and President Richard Nixon to find the modern genesis for this guaranteed wage idea.
The basic idea is how much, and what are the criteria for how much is awarded to you and your family?
Did anyone lie about his or her actual income to qualify for Obamacare? You do the math. And who will police this monster?
The Nixon Family Assistance Plan
In 1969 President Nixon introduced the “Family Assistance Plan” (FAP). FAP would provide a family of four that had no other income a guaranteed yearly income of $1,600 ($10,999.24 in 2017 dollars).
If the family did have income from a job they would get a lessor amount until the total family income reached $3,920 ($26,948.13 in 2017 dollars).
This would have filled a gap since anyone working making any income was not eligible for welfare at that time.
The House liked the idea, voting 243 to 155 in favor, but the bill died in the Senate. Democrat senators wanted $5,500 per year annual guaranteed income. ($37,809.87 in 2017 dollars or just over $18/hr. for a 40 your workweek).
The George McGovern Version
Presidential nominee George McGovern came up with his own version of a similar plan in 1972.
One version of McGovern’s plan included a $1,000 per person minimum income whether you were working or not. ($5,954.57 in 2017 dollars).
Just 3 years later, Democrats (in those days) were not comfortable with subsidizing 67 million Americans or 32 percent of the nation so the idea never surfaced for a vote in the Senate.
McGovern then proposed “National Income Insurance.” This plan would provide jobs for those able to work with public service jobs, and a, “to-be-determined reasonable” income for those unable to work.
Under the McGovern plan a family of four would receive $4,000 per year ($23,818.30 in 2017 dollars).
McGovern eventually abandoned the idea in favor of a full employment agenda and was soundly defeated in the 1972 election by Nixon.
Neither politician’s plan ever grew to fruition.
Some Final Thoughts
Not sure how I feel about this idea. The big question is how do you pay for it? The easiest way would be to roll all current entitlements into this one program.
You could even include Medicare and Medicaid to some extent.
Could be a significant cost saving instead of financing the hundreds of programs we have now. However, if it included everyone then there would be lots of room for fraud and abuse.
Plus, depending on where you live, the minimum might be enough to live on in your area. Then you would be like the farmer getting paid not to grow.
Anytime we’ve removed incentives from people to succeed they have been weakened.
What did 96 weeks of unemployment do? Kept the unemployment rate higher for a longer period of time.
Why work if you don’t have to? A dead end job with a supplement is suddenly a livable income.
I have investment and Internet income, book sales, and Social Security. I could go out and work and earn even more and I would probably have to if I suddenly lost one or more of those income streams.
Where’s the incentive to do better if doing better only reduces your subsidy? Many people work because they really want to. Many more work because they have to.
I think this idea needs a lot more work before rolling it out to the huge unwashed masses.
What’s your opinion? Comments below