Regarding James McCusker’s Dec. 1 column “Should people be paid to do nothing?”:
Mr. McCusker opposes the Universal Basic Income (UBI) movement, aka Guaranteed Annual Income or “Negative Income” tax proposals being tried out in Canada, Netherlands, Finland, and even in the Oakland-Stockton, California, areas.
McCusker concludes UBI will not increase people’s “trust” in anything. He surely must remember conservative Republican president Ronald Reagan’s famous quote “Trust, but verify.” And now, the conservative Republican former Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State James Baker supports UBI with quarterly rebates to all citizens based on income.
Further, Nobel prize winner in economics, the conservative Milton Friedman, supports the UBI movement as the most efficient way government can solve inequality.
Instead of devoting a whole column about “trust,” McCusker should’ve been addressing the extreme level of technological transformation happening all around us (such as robots, driverless cars and trucks, artificial intelligence) creating evermore inequality.
Personally, I’d like to see McCusker write about real tax and entitlement reform based on the UBI principle. In other words, a rewrite of our social contract between corporations and the citizens. Our robot economy needs to work for all of us.
We already have “people paid to do nothing:” our U.S. Congress.