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2noame531 karma

First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this IAMA, Senator Sanders.

Back in May of this year, you asked the question of us, "What Can We Learn From Denmark?", and in that piece you mentioned their basic income guarantee. I'm sure you are also familiar, (though many reading this might not be), that we did actually pass a basic income guarantee of our own that passed the House but died in the Senate in 1970, back when we as a country thought poverty was systemic and not the fault of individuals.

Now in 2013, especially within the past few months since Switzerland made headlines with their gathering the necessary signatures required to vote on the implementation there of their own monthly income for all Swiss citizens regardless of employment, there have been a flurry of articles, from both the right and the left, discussing the implementation of a truly unconditional basic income (UBI) here in the U.S. as well.

With that said, this is my question for you:

Would you support a bill for the establishment of our own unconditional basic income, and if so, have you even already considered sponsoring such a bill?

It does seem to be one of those rare ideas drawing support from both conservatives and liberals alike, and being that we stand to lose half of our jobs to automation within 20 years, it seems like an inevitable choice between technological unemployment causing great suffering or great liberation.

Thank you for your time, and I would be happy to do whatever you recommend as a means of helping to accomplish such legislation.

Edit: For those interested, there's an entire subreddit to discuss this idea in greater depth. /r/BasicIncome

2noame101 karma

We could also then tax marijuana and use that revenue to help fund both universal health care and UBI. ;)

2noame61 karma

Just FYI, but in the basic income experiments in India and Namibia where again everyone got the same amount, it had greater effects on the disabled.

From the India UBI experiment:

First, it had strong welfare, or “capability”, effects. There were improvements in child nutrition, child and adult health, schooling attendance and performance, sanitation, economic activity and earned incomes, and the socio-economic status of women, the elderly and the disabled.

Second, it had strong equity effects. It resulted in bigger improvements for scheduled caste and tribal households, and for all vulnerable groups, notably those with disabilities and frailties. This was partly because the basic income was paid to each individual, strengthening their bargaining position in the household and community.

2noame53 karma

That's not how to calculate the cost. The cost of UBI is the net transferred not the gross cost.


2noame40 karma

Thank you for the response, Senator Sanders!

As you said, there are a number of ways to accomplish a minimum standard of living for all, but being that the right does wish to continue their crusade to cut as many benefits as they can, it seems entirely possible to replace those benefits with cash instead, to appeal to libertarian values of freedom of self and conservative values of limited government.

As an example of that kind of support from the right, The Adam Smith Institute can be seen making the argument here.

As a citizen of the United States who witnesses our inability to agree on almost anything these days, I just feel this particular means of ensuring a minimum standard of living, is the one way that everyone can actually agree on. (Hopefully)

Thanks again!