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Sarkas Tikum

Just thoughts – sometimes with a pinch of humor & sarcasm

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universal basic income

How to cure poverty (II) – UBI – we have the resources!

For those who think UBI is a crazy idea I would say this. It might sound strange at first, but please do not close the page yet. My believe is you already paying it in a different form, and unfortunately not for your benefit.
martin luther_poverty
The US economy thrives by exploiting the social ills: keep in mind – YOU are paying for everything anyway! You have no control where your extorted taxes go into. But you are paying them! while the wealthiest not so much!!! They are mostly off-shored… You are paying to enrich the elites and corporations. 
Just a couple of things (the list can go on and on, but I found this the most important):
I. War and militarization comes 1st. Compared with the rest of the world we spend an incredible amount of money. The stats are all over internet. To start a long argument about the futile wars and how much they cost? Again, I’m not going to do that. Stop binge watching the crap on Netflix (or whatever) and start reading and exploring. It will get interesting, I promise!
II. Healthcare is a rip off, even the so called Obamacare. Sooner or later you’ll need it, there is no way to get around it. Obamacare is better but it is no good! The most expensive system in the world while the services far far from what you pay for. Insurance, Big Pharma and Healthcare practitioners are ripping you off. You have no choice. You want to live, you want to survive. I am not going to get into costs. It is outrageous and criminal. 

 

III. The prison industrial complex and the whole criminal (in)justice system. From virtually no private “gulags” until the early 1980, between 1990 and 2009 the number of prisoners in private prisons increased by approximately 1600% [American Civil Liberties Union, “Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration”, ACLU National Prison Project and Center for Justice, November 2, 2011]. We should add here the war on drugs and generally the aberrant sentencing terms. Poverty is a key factor here, in David Shipler’s words, “free citizens imprisoned by the unyielding laws of economics”. [D. K. Shipler, The Working Poor – Invisible in America, Alfred A.Knopf New York 2004]. Since 1970 prisons population has grown 700 percent and the expenses have quadrupled, being the fastest growing budget after Medicaid. [C. Henrichson & R. Delaney, “The Price of Prisons – What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers”]. The United States has only 5 percent of world’s population but is leading in the number of prisoners produced, with a staggering 25 percent of world’s prisoners [Adam Liptak, “U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations”, NYTimes.com, April 23, 2008].

I suppose there are still states that are building more prisons than schools. An interesting fact to check.

The American cultural value of self-reliance? This is the tune we always hear from the powerful elites… while they suck and wasting your tax dollars (paying symbolic taxes, corporate welfare, etc.). You are at the mercy of so many known and unknown factors in this complex world. Nevertheless, the tune of “self-reliance” is one more to keep you self-deluded and appeased. Yeah…They will make America great Again…If you pay attention this is exactly the areas that the current administration wants to “improve” – to make you even weaker! I hope I already cured you previously from “exceptionalism” and “indispensability”?

I will stop here!

 

How to cure poverty (I) – implement the Universal Basic Income

The laissez-faire economic euphoria will push back periodically over the “edge of destitution” [Shipler, David K. The Working Poor: Invisible in America] many more millions; and according to the conservative argument this is the result of their individual bad choice… They won’t mention structural violence which is the real cause (automation is another reason to be concerned, not because it is bad per se, but because it will further be used as a tool to push many more millions into poverty).

edited-poverty-mandela

Jeremy Rifkin in The End of Work put it very nicely “The death of the global labor force is being internalized by millions of workers who experience their own individual deaths, daily, at the hands of profit-driven employers and a disinterested government. They are the ones who are waiting for pink slips, being forced to work part-time at reduced pay, or being pushed onto the welfare rolls. With each new indignity, their confidence and self-esteem suffer another blow. They become expendable, then irrelevant, and finally invisible in the new high-tech world of global commerce and trade.”!

Money rules. And in the foul air democracy chokes and gasps,” [Joel Schwartzberg, “Money in Politics: Where Is the Outrage?”] With Citizens United the union between democracy and money was completed and I think this is precisely Madison’s tragedy and farce, where “it is possible to vote and still be disenfranchised” [Michael Schudson, “America’s Ignorant Voters.”]

I am sure that some elites and many statesmen do not sleep well at night. They are feeling the speed at which the system becomes dysfunctional. But there are no quick fixes. The advancement of Artificial Intelligence, of automation overwhelms even them. That means less jobs, a weaker economy (although with an increased productivity), and many more poor and hungry millions. Universal basic income is a beautiful idea. Still, I do not see it implemented in USA anytime soon. We cannot agree on a healthcare system for all! The idea of a basic income system seems even more far-fetched. It might be that social unrest will be something unavoidable. The current administration has no solutions. All it does is to awaking the social ills: racism, bigotry, international tension. It can only divert the attention from the real problems. The changes are a lot more speedier and people becoming angrier. The huge investments in the militarization makes perfect sense now. That is their answer to the current issues. David Frum summarized it well, “the U.S. political system becomes more polarized and more dysfunctional every cycle, at greater and greater human cost. The next Republican president will surely find himself or herself at least as stymied by this dysfunction as President Obama, as will the people the political system supposedly serves, who must feel they have been subjected to a psychological experiment gone horribly wrong,” [David Frum , “When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?”]

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