Redistributing other people’s money

For the past 150 years federal and State politicians in America have been codifying schemes to take money from people who earn it and establishing bureaucracies to distribute it to others who did not earn it. Increasingly, the American public (and non-Americans living here) conditioned to free stuff demand more and expanding programs.  Politicians believe they can retain their power by providing them what they want.

As the earning-class diminishes, the receiving-class increases. The confiscated largesse goes to “needy” and noisy self-interest groups. Government officials presume to identify those who they believe deserve it more than the people who earned it—obligating earners into forced charity and corporate welfare.

So-called “transfer payments” continue to rise, but only about 10 percent of the population stays in “poverty.” Yet, the “poor” in America enjoy luxuries that low-classes in other countries never dream of. And in America low-class workers have opportunities to move into higher-class earnings not available in any other country.

The obsession with “poverty” in America has led to the motto: “If you want to end poverty, just give people money.” But for government to give to some requires taking from others. Even so-called “conservatives” buy into the inevitability of the welfare state; it’s only a matter of the difference in how they would do it.

Charles Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote “A Guaranteed Income For All” article in the Review Section of the June 4-5, 2016 print issue of the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Murray writes, a universal basic income (UBI) is “our best hope to revitalize American civil society” and “the least damaging way for the government to transfer wealth from some citizens to others.”

One overwhelming fallacy with this lurks in an increasing Marxist mentality demanding “social justice” in every aspect of our lives which, of course, can never be satisfied because it’s always subjective and politically motivated—and always results in taking more of our property and liberties.

Leftists invent new injustices to be funded and regulated; and add on payments and restrictions for old ones that are never enough.  There are many other politically impractical reasons why the UBI won’t work. This idea failed in the 1970s when it was called the “negative income tax.”

Murray’s plan would have the federal government give every American citizen, 21 years and older, a $13,000 grant deposited in monthly installments into a personal bank account.

Every grantee must spend $3,000 for health insurance each year. Individuals can make up to $30,000 earned income before a graduated reduction in grant money would drop no lower than $6,500 when earned income reaches $60,000.

Under this plan all federal welfare and social services will be eliminated. All federal agricultural subsidies and other “corporate” welfare will be stopped; and “the entire bureaucratic apparatus of government social workers would disappear.”

I can imagine readers laughing when they see this, but I think Mr. Murray is serious.

Any proposal to replace the welfare state would never even get a hearing in Congress despite the fact that Murray’s UBI plan could save a Trillion dollars within the next four years from the wealth transfer system now in place.

It doesn’t take much thought about the current dysfunctions of our society to know why this will never work.

First, advocates for millions of illegal aliens from Mexico, Central America, Africa and the Middle East, now major political forces in the U. S. will demand they be included. Politicians will never “exclude” them from the benefits for fear of being called racists and not “caring.”

Second, the health insurance mandate will not be enough to satisfy low-earners as Obamacare expands into more expensive and rationed, government-run single-payer, socialized medicine.

Third, millions of recipients of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security income, housing subsidies, welfare for single women, etc., etc. will be marching in well organized and funded advocate-activist groups in Washington 24/7/52 screaming for “equality”—the American media will promote the idea that Congress is cruel and selfish.

Fourth, hundreds of nonprofits and unions representing federal welfare agency employees will condemn the UBI as “unfair to workers” and threaten strikes to shut down the government.

Fifth, Congressmen and senators from Iowa and other heavily subsidized agricultural States will demand “parity” of crops and products after intense pressure from the powerful agricultural industry, green energy company lobbyists and USDA bureaucrats.

In short, our ruling-class of politicians in collusion with welfare activists, union bosses, foreign beneficiaries, corporate lobbyists and government bureaucrats will vigorously oppose this because they will never give up their power and jobs.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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