Tulsi Gabbard’s OFF-Fossil Fuels Act, Peace Dividend and Basic Income working in tandem.
With Andrew Yang suspending his campaign in 2020, there is still one champion for Basic Income.
Most of the credit goes to Andrew Yang and his campaign to make this a topic of conversation in America.
I have been concerned about automation for a long time, in part, because I work in automation, and I see the rapid development of our tools.
I can tell you that this video “Humans need not apply” while old, is extremely accurate as to the challenges of automation, and for the longest time I could not see a solution.
Then, I started looking into Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a possible alternative. For those not familiar with the concept, this is a very objective and approachable description of UBI.
Now the question was, can we (The United States of America) afford it?
The problem is that when you take a look at the numbers, UBI itself does not solve the problem of job losses due to automation.
This job loss, in turn decreases overall revenues and increases the deficit thus negating its positive effects. Let me emphasize, UBI doesn’t cause job loss, in fact it slows it down, but the question is: Is UBI alone sufficient to address the challenges automation force in our society?
There is an optimal threshold at which UBI makes sense. The size of the economy and the expenditures need to be high enough that UBI becomes a baseline for everyone. But people still need to have jobs and careers to aspire to.
This is where a combination of UBI and market driven growth comes really handy.
The Off-Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act introduced in 2017 by Tulsi Gabbard not only mandates a transition to renewable energy sources to save the planet. It does it in a way that improves the economy and creates jobs.
While Automation is on its way to reduce the need of transportation workers, salesman, administrative workers, and food preparation, it is still in its infancy to automate infrastructure development and construction, installation of solar panels, design of new systems of generation, distribution and transportation.
In other words. The Off Fossil fuels act, requires the creation of new jobs that the existing and future workforce can focus on, while giving time to the economy to grow enough to fully deploy UBI.
Right now, the implementation of UBI would increase the deficit from 665 billion dollars a year to 1.4 Trillion dollars in one year.
Without a specific focus in industries that are not subject to the pressures of automation and outsourcing (one cannot build electrified railways in a different country, and then ship them to the US).
The table shows how even by removing medicaid, food stamps (income security programs), and ALL non-defense miscellaneous spending, and even with the optimistic introduction of a 10% Value Added Tax the deficit more than doubles.
Worse, by itself cannot prevent the creation of not-yet-automated jobs, and even a 10% of loss revenue by individual income and payroll taxes would add almost 200 billion dollar more to the deficit a year.
This is where the peace dividend and Off-Fossil fuels act come in. By reducing military spending, and by investing those resources in our infrastructure, the reduction of jobs due automation is not as severe, and in addition there is enough money to prevent huge deficits.
Many will ask you what the difference is between the Off-Fossil Fuels Act and the Green new deal, and I ask you to read the companion article.
The benefit of the OFF-fossil fuels act is that it re-directs fossil fuels subsidies to new renewable infrastructure, and it uses market forces to create jobs, while saving our environment.
I for one thank Andrew Yang to be a champion for UBI and Tulsi Gabbard for the peace dividend, and the Off-Fossil Fuels act.
Many people have criticized Tulsi Gabbard because she has departed from “Medicare For All” in favor of her own universal “Single Payer Plus” plan, and I expect that many people may criticize Tulsi for diverging from Andrew’s implementation of UBI. However as exemplified by Tulsi’s Single Payer Plus Plan, it remains a universal single payer program, but the implementation details are geared to increase chances of bi-partisan support, as well as encourage health provider participation, while still delivering the savings and coverage that Medicare for All provides.
Given her record, I expect Tulsi’s solution to UBI will look different than Andrew Yang’s. One of the current main differences is that her Basic Income ($1000/month) applies to people making $200K/year or less per individual. So in pragmatic terms it would not be Universal, but it would cover about 98% of the American population. In my case, I would not receive it, but my wife would, and that is fine with me.
While I distrust most politicians, there are those few who fight for a brighter future for our nation and the world. They have earned our support and trust.
But as we always say: Trust but verify.