Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Although I know you guys love it when I talk COVID-19 and 2020 is more screwed up than Charlie Sheen on a coke bender (or, as he calls it, Tuesday), I did want to take a brief detour into a subject that is making the rounds this election year. The Left has been pushing for a one-size-fits-all-but-actually-fits-no-one approach to economics, especially as it pertains to the working class. In their efforts to sway voters, they’ve created the notion workers are entitled to a fair wage (and, of course, blamed the CEOs for not sharing the wealth). One of the ideas the Left has promoted is Universal Basic Income, or UBI for short. It was heavily promoted by former Democrat candidate for President Andrew Yang, and it’s picking up steam in Leftist circles due to COVID-19.

Now, just because it’s a Leftist idea doesn’t make it a bad idea. However, if you stick with me over the next several paragraphs, I’ll show you it’s a bad idea regardless of who promotes it.

Universal Basic Income

What the Left thinks it means – giving every citizen a certain amount of money on which to live regardless of their circumstances as a means to curtail poverty

What it really means – letting the government tell you what your time and effort are worth

Capitalism isn’t a perfect system by any stretch of the imagination. Any economic system that lets Gwyneth Paltrow sell candles that smell like her hoo-hah needs some work. However, out of all the other economic systems out there, it’s the best because it allows for the greatest amount of freedom, the greatest chance for mobility, and the best use of one’s talents. It’s the reason LeBron James gets millions of dollars while telling the world how oppressed he is. (By the way, King James, how much are you getting from China for not calling them out on their oppressive regime?)

What the Left gets wrong about capitalism has filled many a book and opinion piece, including blogs from your humble correspondent. With UBI, their track record is still perfect in that regard. As I’ve noted before, the Left believes all money is finite and those who have more have a moral obligation to share it with the rest of the world because “they can afford it.” Although Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and others have jumped on this bandwagon, it’s not necessarily one you should jump on because everyone else seems to be doing it.

Here’s what I mean. In a capitalist system, you are paid by how much the owner(s) think your time and labor are worth. You can quibble about the dollar figure when it comes time for your annual performance review, but by and large that’s what it boils down to. Under UBI, the decision of how much your time and labor are worth gets made by the people who run the DMV or pay $500 for a hammer because it’s not their money they’re spending; it’s yours in the form of taxes. Because of this, no consideration of the amount or quality of work getting done or the skills you bring to the table can be made. You are merely given X amount of money no matter if you dig ditches or trade internationally.

This problem goes beyond how much you get paid, too. As with any budget not written up by Arthur Andersen or the federal government, you have expenses as well as income. UBI advocates say these expenses would be covered as part of the UBI calculation, but they don’t consider other expenses that separate you from your neighbor.

Let’s say you’re a construction worker who has been on the job for 20 years. (Not the same job, mind you, but several jobs.) Not only have you amassed a considerable knowledge base in that time, but you may have accumulated health issues, like bad knees or high cholesterol, that require the outlay of more money to address. Then, there’s a kid fresh out of high school with a fraction of the experience and none of the health issues. UBI treats you both the same, which is a boon for the high school graduate and less of one for you. In short, UBI punishes you for being different.

Hmmm…now, where have I heard of that happening with other socioeconomic systems? Oh yeah, in socialism and its various offshoots.

UBI and socialism work great on paper where you can control the variables, but in practice they fail because you cannot force people to be uniform. We come out of the womb different and we will be that way for the rest of our lives. No matter what government program you propose or regulatory agency you create, no two people will be the same, period. And when the champions of diversity are the ones trying to force conformity, you know there’s something amiss. Or, for the feminists out there reading this, ams.

The biggest drawback to UBI is it stifles creativity and work ethic. The former Soviet Union saw this happen when workers who did better than their quotas were punished while those who underperformed weren’t. The reason? Everyone was getting the same pay regardless of what work they did. If you can make a guaranteed $15 an hour badly working the shake machine at Burger World, why bust your ass to get better?

Of course, this feeds into the current societal mindset where people want to make more money for doing less work. See any “YouTube celebrity” for proof of this. This also explains why so many Leftists support UBI. For the rest of us, though, it’s a mixed bag, especially for those of us who have a good work ethic. Although we might not mind making money without much effort, there will always be a part of us that doesn’t feel right about it. Why, it’s almost as if…we want to earn our pay!

But UBI doesn’t allow that. You get paid what the government says you get paid, no matter what. I know Leftists want us to be in a nanny state, but apparently they want us to pay for everyone to be wards of the state.

If you know someone who is convinced UBI is the way to go, ask them what figure the UBI should be and how they calculated it. If they give you an answer, ask them if they trust someone like President Donald Trump to distribute these funds. I guarantee you they won’t, but it will make the point that government isn’t the best entity to make the kind of financial decisions the Left wants them to make.

Plus, who wants to be governed under an idea whose abreviation sounds like a misspelled urinary tract infection?

Author: Thomas

I'm a writer and a ranger and a young boy bearing arms. And two out of the three don't count.

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