RE: Guaranteed income

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Thu Jul 26 2001 - 08:59:12 MDT

At 11:07 PM 7/25/01 -0700, Lee wrote:

>I would appreciate it if someone who favors a guaranteed income would
>respond to the following excerpt provided by Barbara Lamar from

Bear in mind that Barbara wrote as one in *favor* of the general proposal.
She clearly doesn't regard this essay as a knockdown argument.

The cited essay makes some interesting points about the Moynihan/Nixon
Portland experiment, which I've been trying to chase down on the web. More
later. There are a number of thick pdf files to read... The general
argument strikes me as empty, since in the first instance GMI is meant to
replace existing social security benefits and all their red tape and
pettyfogging, and it's hard to see why that would be worse for the soul. Is
anyone here genuinely arguing that dealing with bureaucrats on a weekly
basis is a *better* plan, an improving experience that should be
*encouraged*? Dog give me strength.

>Brian Williams also writes

>> What happens to so-called minimum wage jobs? Don't get me wrong,
>> the jobs will still be there but they will go vacant, why work for
>> minimum wage when you can make the same doing nothing?

Are people at large so entirely swinish, so lacking in self-respect, that
they will *refuse* to take a job if it's offered? (Okay, many are, and it
might be argued that many more will become so.) The long-term point of the
GMI proposal, however, is that sooner or later plenty of (endurable) jobs
*just won't exist*. Some beast might well young women to crouch naked in
the living room as tables--recall the imagery of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, except
that those female torsos were plastic--but how valuable will that be?
Mowing lawns and toting the garbage will eventually go the way of pickin'

But the key rebuttal is surely that people in a rational GMI regime
*wouldn't* have an either/or choice. One will get the GMI payment, enough
to scrape by on, and in order to improve one's lot will need to get a
menial or a CEO job, or hold up gas stations (just like now), or do open
source, or paint big-eyed babies on black velvet for tourist coins, and
only lose the GMI entitlement amount paid back in tax after a sensible
threshold has been passed.

Damien Broderick

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