The idea of replacing the welfare system with a guaranteed basic income from the government, pushed for years by Robert Anton Wilson and other luminaries, continues to generate chatter on the Internet.
Jesse Walker, writing for Reason's Hit and Run blog, points out that Alaska's system of giving out dividends from petroleum revenues to all of the state's citizens resembles a basic income scheme. (Jesse also points out that there is a new book on basic incomes. I'm not clear why the Kindle version of the book is more than $25, but perhaps the publisher is eager to discourage sales.) I was hoping Jesse would embrace my pet scheme to get rid of all existing social welfare programs and replace them with (1) Some form of health insurance for all and (2) A basic income for all, thereby inspiring an irresistible liberaltarian groundswell, but Jesse says, "Some of these ideas would be an improvement over the current system and some would not. But I don't want to get into the weeds of weighing the competing proposals right now."
A previous blog post on basic incomes is here.
Replacing the welfare state with a basic income is a good idea. I wouldn't add health insurance for all to that; better to let people buy insurance with their basic incomes (and to pass reforms that move away from a system that channels all our health costs through insurance & channels the health insurance system through our employers).
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