An unconditional basic income (also called basic income, basic income guarantee, universal basic income, universal demogrant, or citizen’s income) is a proposed system of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, in addition to any income received from elsewhere.
A basic income is typically intended to be only enough for a person to survive on, so as to encourage people to engage in economic activity. A basic income of any amount less than the social minimum is sometimes referred to as a ‘partial basic income’.
Affordability of a basic income proposal is a function of the social/government services it replaces, any tax increases, and the less tangible positive effects on spending and tax receipts associated with wealth redistribution towards the poor, and any social savings as a result of less crime, or fewer incarcerable offenses.
Measurements were made by Pascal J. for Canada. A 2004 taxable basic income benefit of $7800 per adult could be afforded without any tax increases by replacing welfare, unemployment, and core Old age services. This would be $20,000 for a family of four.
An analysis by USA Today shows that living the American dream would cost the average family of four about $130,000 a year. Only 16 million U.S. households — around 1 in 8 — earned that much in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
There is a gap of about 6.5 times to make an American Dream lifestyle affordable via basic income and services.
USA Today added up the estimated costs of living the American dream:
• Owning a home is central to the American dream. So, we took the median price of a new home ($275,000), subtracted a 10 percent down payment, then projected the annual cost of a 30-year mortgage at 4 percent interest. We also added annual maintenance costs of 1 percent of the purchase price. Total: $17,062 a year.
• We used the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s April 2014 figure of $12,659 for a moderate-cost grocery plan for a family of four.
• In May, AAA estimated it would cost $11,039 a year to own one four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle.
• The Milliman Medical Index pegged annual health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses at $9,144.
• We used various estimates for the costs of restaurants and entertainment; one family summer vacation; clothing; utilities; cable or satellite; Internet and cellphone; and miscellaneous expenses.
• Total federal, state, and local taxes were pegged at 30 percent for households at this income level, based on a model developed for Citizens for Tax Justice.
• USA Today calculated current educational expenses for two children at $4,000 a year and college savings — all of it pretax, we assumed — at $2,500 a year per child, based on various rules of thumb.
• Finally, the maximum annual pretax contribution to a retirement plan for people under 50 is $17,500. That’s slightly less than 15 percent of this American dream household’s annual earnings, in line with financial planners’ recommendations.
Could technology drive down costs enough to achieve American Dream level of Basic income or services without causing the crime and other social problems of previous housing projects ?
Housing and buildings can be made at lower cost. However there is the costs and operating costs for electrical, water, plumbing and transportation infrastructure. Previous problems with low cost housing has been the creation of crime ridden slums.
Would government scale and supported Airbnb systems work to make lower cost housing sustainable ?
Costs could go down but this would in general sacrifice the size of the housing.
Using the National Guard and automation could make it easier to scale up Habitat for Humanity community construction of housing and community facilities.
More highly maintained public facilities would make it more comfortable to have smaller housing. A widespread system of highly maintained public showers and restrooms can be done and if also mixed in with offices and sporting facilities could have high usage and maintenance. The creation of public or semi-public or shared usage of facilities like Starbucks, satellite offices and 24 hour fitness could create higher end third places. Homes and offices being the first and second places.
Could advanced Uber and self driving cars remove the need for private vehicles or lower the cost ?
Large scale sharing of self driving cars could reduce the need for cars while still maintaining the convenience and quality of life. This could also be supplemented with paying for bicycles that are everywhere for use. It costs about $75-88 per year for access to a network of public bicycles that can be picked up and dropped off every two blocks.
Elio Motors claims it will begin building a car in its Louisiana factory that will get 84 miles per gallon on the highway and that will sell for a base price of $6,800. It won’t be a tiny little deathtrap, either. It’ll get top crash test scores.
The Elio Motors car — it has no model name and they plan to keep it that way — is a three wheeler. There are two wheels out front, separated from the rest of the body, and one back wheel. The engine — 3 cylinders producing 55 horsepower — rides in the nose driving the front wheels.
The weird three-wheeled shape optimizes aerodynamics by cutting way down on frontal area and giving the car a nearly ideal “teardrop” body. Having only three wheels also allows the Elio car to be, in legal terms, a motorcycle.
Uber and other ride sharing combined with safer lower cost cars would allow people to have access to the right size car as needed. Self driving cars would allow more utilization of cars.
Lower cost education with Massively online open courses and lower education costs in other countries
Health care costs are lower in other countries and the health results can be superior
If sustained cost of living is lowered then less retirement income would need to be saved
Bringing the costs down 2 or 3 times seems doable, but for the near term it seems there would be to be discounted versions supplied to match the budget.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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