'Just Give People Money' Author Annie Lowery explains Why UBI is the future

she's a contributing editor at the Atlantic and author of the book give people money how a universal basic income would end poverty revolutionize work and remake the world we are excited to be joined now by Annie Lowery great to see you Annie thank you so much for having me guys um so if you give just give people money aren't they just gonna like sit on the couch and eat Cheetos all day and be lazy yeah so there's certainly a reduction in work effort if you just give people cash that's absolutely true but we actually have studies of this there are a bunch of studies done in the 60s and 70s because Richard Nixon of all people was really interested in this idea of putting an income floor under everybody so the idea would be that the United States would basically guarantee that you wouldn't sink further into poverty than a certain level and so he had these two guys Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld run these guys I've heard of this guy I know it's like a little weird historical quirk that they also worked on these and so they guaranteed people an income and they did stop working some of them there was a reduction in work effort people didn't really drop out of the labor force it was mostly because students stayed in school for longer people who were unemployed took a little longer to find a job people with young kids worked a little less and older kids more yeah so you know I think it's absolutely true that there's some amount of money that you could give people that people would stop working but when we were talking about you know the kind of proposals that that could be on the table soon in 2020 um you know five hundred or even a thousand dollars a month is probably not going to stop people from working this is a fascinating issue and I know you know you've written a book on it because of that but crystal Harbor talking about how this is one of those places where you see a left a left-right split on this but also a left left and right right split meaning they're people on both sides who are like it's a good idea so some right so some of my people for example yeah conservatives in case you don't know they look at I think even charles murray some others have written favorably about a universal basic income their argument tends to be what that this would straight because we have got we got a welfare state no one's saying welfare states going away anytime soon yep so this what streamlines it this makes it more cost-effective you don't need bureaucrats who are saying I'm going to take money from the tax pay give it to people so they can buy things and I'm getting money just cuz I'm doing that right is that what are some of the conservative arguments for this absolutely and you're precisely right this has like a long conservative lineage as well you know back to Hayek again Richard Nixon was really interested in it I think Charles aminos Friedman yet and and Charles Murray has been writing about this for decades and so the argument there kind of comes from two sources so one is exactly that that the government is not as good at choosing how to spend money as people are and that this would be hugely efficient you could get rid of a huge amount of government programs and government bureaucrats if you just gave people cash and so you know we actually see this happening almost in real time I'm so with the work requirements that we're going to be implemented in the Kentucky Medicaid program it showed that the administrative cost to the state went up like 40 percent so it's a lot of money billions of dollars that you spend just getting the money out to people and then the second kind of conservative argument is one about paternalism right why should the government tell you what you can buy Benetton this kind of food product or this kind of housing just give people the cash and let them make right you know depending on the state that you're in in the food stamp program it's literally like you can buy this kind of potato but you can't buy that kind of potato or this is alright but that isn't and and I think that a lot of conservatives just object to that kind of government nannying so one of the critiques from the left is that this a lot of Silicon Valley folks are excited about this idea right and the critique is that well they just want to be able to hand out cash and keep doing what they're doing and sort of throw some some pennies to the masses and not have to worry about it right yeah so it's this idea that you know if we had really a lot of technologically driven unemployment you know who wants say that you're you know a truck driver with a $70,000 a year job and that job goes away because it's automated away and instead the government is offering you twelve thousand dollars a year in cash like that's not a great equilibrium people like working they want to keep working and so I think that that's one of the objections is well like let's fix the economy to make sure that people are still able to fully participate because I don't think that a lot of people you know able-bodied people like people do really like to work and they they find a lot of social support and working and it gives them some identity and meaning and so I think that that's yeah exactly one of those critiques what would society which have to change in the economy would have to change if AI and all of these other kind of fantastic technologies put people out of work now a primary conservative critique of this is that once you establish this program 500 dollars a month or thousand whatever whatever it would be now you have a number now you have an expectation and that number is only gonna go one direction and that is up and the other programs around it aren't going to go away do we have any empirical data do we have anything to show what would happen with that because I think this is kind of like the arguing over a value-added tax people say oh now that just have that plus all the other taxes with this it's you have universal basic income plus all the other welfare programs and they would just get more expensive over time what can you tell us about that yeah I mean so I think it would be pretty important so one one interesting thing about a universal basic income is this idea of everybody is getting something you wouldn't want to erode the government's kind of natural progress tivity right does it really make sense to give somebody who's really poor the same amount of money as you're giving a Bill Gates so that's kind of one objection right how are you making sure that the government really is directing its help towards people who need that help and then I think that you're right if it becomes this trade-off of you know needing to cut other programs or disinvest in other things because of a ubi that that's a you know it's a very good question and a very good concern but I think that probably people right now are looking at much more marginal and targeted policies that are kind of related to the idea but something like cash grants for poor kids you know about 20% of kids in the United States grow up in poverty that's a policy you know that's a problem that policy could really solve or something like using a negative income tax to eliminate sort of the worst kind of cash poverty for folks who sort of fall through the safety net it's a much more marginal proposal even things like making the programs that we do have less paternalistic more direct more automatic less run by government bureaucrats is something that people have talked about there's an incremental approach to that's in my view I mean the funding is a question but I always think cultural issues that are more are more problematic and more challenging but great book really excited about it thank you so much for sharing your insights for talking to us we appreciate it yeah thank you guys so much tomorrow rising I sit down with Republican congressman Damon Nunez from California he is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee he's going to have a lot of fun things I want to hear about and and KB's gonna tell me what I really need to press of all that'll be thanks for joining us today we will see you all tomorrow morning later

22 thoughts on “'Just Give People Money' Author Annie Lowery explains Why UBI is the future

  1. Yang keeps flip flopping on UBI:

    To AARP mainly seniors audience: You can combine UBI with social security
    TO conservatives (fox news Sunday and Dave Rubin): You either get UBI or SS. Kind of appeals to their desire to kill entitlements.

  2. UBI is a sound idea. Yang's key platform issue is UBI and even Tulsi are advocating UBI in their interviews. For more, look up Scott Santens UBI

  3. She’s talking about the solitions that Andrew Yang is proposing! This is awesome that is the reason why Andrew Yang makes so much sense because everybody’s writing books about his policies and solutions!

  4. The biggest issue i hear about UBI is that it doesn't solve every problem. But it shouldn't be thought of in that way. But rather it is a stepping stone to solving MANY problems. And it's implementation has benefits that heavily out weigh the things it doesn't "solve".

  5. bread and circuses. ubi is inflationary. everyone gets money then suddenly rents across the country go up. funny how that works. dumb, uninspired idea that just maintains the status quo.

  6. wow.. she was really a wet noodle here. she just flip-flopped all over the place, parroting the criticisms without actually being for the idea.

  7. Automation IS HERE and spreading! Do u want your UBI money now, or when the country falls into chaos and they are force to do it?

  8. The problem with UBI is that as soon as landlords hear that people are going to be getting a thousand dollars a month then rents are going to suddenly go up by a thousand dollars, all the UBI will do is transfer more tax dollars to the wealthy and ownership class, they will suck up that money.

  9. I know it's common sense… but it seems like some people would rather vote for corporate puppets who will decide what is "best" for Americans

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