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Making at least some income unconditional, of sufficient amount



He notes that the fund has contributed to the state's remarkable equality. His study points out that in 38 states, the income of the richest 20 percent grew faster than the poorest 20 percent between the early 1980s and the early 2000. In 11 states, the growth rates were about the same. "Alaska was the only state in which the income of the bottom 20 percent grew at a faster rate (25 percent) than the income of the top 20 percent (10 percent)," the paper explains.

Perhaps the most widely advocated version is the proposal for a UBI – unconditional basic income – to replace most existing social security benefits. A UBI is an income provided without conditions to every adult and child (or, in some versions, only citizens) to provide at least a subsistence level of resources. It is not means-tested, although it is subject to income tax. It is usually assumed to provide an equal payment to everyone, with a special rate for children.

In practice, left-libertarians do not propose that we actually divide land and other resources up in this literal way. Instead, following the argument of agrarian radicals such as Thomas Spence and Tom Paine, they argue that the individual should receive a monetary grant reflecting his or her fair share of society's external resources, such as land (on Spence and Paine, see Vallentyne and Steiner 2000b). The level of this grant will depend on a host of factors, but it is possible that it will be equivalent&

Michael Huemer argues that while a basic income guarantee might be better than the status quo, this amounts to some rather faint praise. A basic income guarantee would necessarily violate some people’s rights, while a fully legitimate government must never violate anyone’s rights. The problem of political authority will likely remain a barrier to all similar proposals, even if we may happen to find this problem’s full implications troubling.Receive the latest posts from Cato Unbound:

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