Guaranteed income is up and running


When it comes to public policy there are bad ideas and egregiously bad ideas. Some of the bad ideas are the minimum wage, rent control, wage and price controls, and other laws that violate free-market principles and individual.

A terrible idea is “baby bonds,” which I wrote about on Substack.  A “baby bond” is a proposal to expand the welfare state by the government depositing funds in an account for a newborn in a low-income family to be used when he/she turns 18 years old to help pay for college or other needs.  To many Americans this policy sounds relatively benign and reasonable to help low-income children out of the “poverty trap.”  However, baby bonds beg the question:  why is government—in reality taxpayers–responsible for the financial well-being of low-income families?

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The answer is simple: Americans from all walks of life and across the political spectrum have embraced—consciously or unconsciously—Karl Marx’s assertion, “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.”  Thus, the welfare state and the progressive income tax have widespread support even among self-professed limited government advocates. 

This brings me to the latest iteration of Marxism in America—guaranteed monthly income—which was popularized by Andrew Yang during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.  But how many people know that one of the originators of guaranteed monthly income was “free market” economist, Noble Prize recipient and advisor to Republican presidents, Milton Friedman?

Friedman called his anti-poverty idea a “negative income tax.”  In other words, if a family earns less than the poverty line, it will get a check from the federal government and/or the state government.  A monthly guaranteed income (MGI) was also advocated by civil rights icon, Martin Luther King, Jr.  In fact, there is now an organization of mayors promoting another redistribution of income scheme. I have not checked the cities whose mayors have implemented an MGI, but I suspect virtually all the mayors are Democrats.  What a surprise! And California mayors are leading the way. 

California is the epicenter of many bad ideas.  Maybe it is time for California to go its own way and show the world what a collectivist hell hole it will become?  Unfortunately, even if California became a separate nation, the bad ideas that come from there would continue to spread to the remaining 49 states.  There is no insulation from stupid public policies. Except one.  Better ideas.

Journalist and free market advocate Henry Hazlitt wrote a devasting critique of the welfare state in Man vs. the Welfare State.  Hazlitt’s analysis of the negative income tax is excerpted here.

The bottom line is no one has a moral claim to another person’s income

Individuals who have embraced the Judeo-Christian ethic should oppose a guaranteed income, because it right there in the “founding document”—”Thou shalt not steal.”  Even followers of different faiths, atheists and agnostics should appreciate the fact that the redistribution of income is wrong. 

Regrettably, collectivist ideology is entrenched in our culture.  And the best way to combat bad ideas is with better ideas. The best ideas can be found here and here.  I have supported the Mises Institute and the Future of Freedom Foundation for decades and other organizations as well.  I hope you will support the Mises Institute and the FFF to help rid the country of bad ideas and make America a free society. 

See my blog,, for information regarding my recent books on the Federal Reserve, the boom bust cycle and universal medical care. My forthcoming book on medical insurance will be published this fall. My autobiography is coming soon, too.

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What do you think?

Written by CONK!


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