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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 04:47 PM
Original message
The Case for a Guaranteed Minimum Income
Simply put, a Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) is any program which guarantees that no American citizen will fall below a certain pre-selected amount of income. There are a number of proposals through which this could be accomplished, such as the Negative Income Tax proposal which received very serious consideration under Nixon (of all people), and the Basic Income Grant model, which is fully or partially implemented in certain nations and is being considered in others. Briefly stated, a Negative Income Tax model is means-tested and supplements an individual's income up to the specified lower boundary, while a Basic Income Grant is not means tested and goes to all citizens, with the cost being made up through progressive taxation.

My intent here is not to propose a specific GMI model, but simply to make the case for considering a GMI at all. Naturally, in our work-centric American culture, the most immediate and invariably the loudest objection to any GMI proposal is that it would allow people to receive "something for nothing" - that is to say, it would de-couple economic work from basic survival. While I and certain other GMI proponent do not necessarily see this is a problem (and potentially as a huge step forward), I recognize that in the American mainstream, it is an objection which must be taken seriously. So, I would offer these practical points in favor of a GMI, which hopefully will convince some to at least consider the idea:

1. A GMI will instantly and permanently end poverty in America. Unless a citizen, for whatever reason, were to refuse the GMI, he or she could not be poor. With the elimination of poverty would come the eradication or amelioration of the countless (costly) social problems it engenders - problems not limited to crime, poor health practices, a certain number of mental or physical illnesses aggravated by degrading living conditions, etc. The potential for tangible social equity is enormous, and may in time more than offset the entire cost of the GMI.

2. Contrary to uninformed claims and our own intuitions, studies show that a GMI would NOT be a significant disincentive to work, and would not result in unmanageable numbers of people refusing traditional employment. An important Canadian study showed only a 2-3% reduction in total hours worked when a GMI was offered, exploding the myth that nobody would stay gainfully employed. Even if we were to triple these numbers for the sake of argument, a 6-9% voluntary reduction in total hours worked could ease unemployment woes for job-seekers and have a positive impact in multiple other areas.

3. Although a GMI will involve significant cost, it will also also offer the opportunity for considerable savings to taxpayers by making obsolete all of the current social service programs such as welfare, SSI, disability, retirement benefits, food stamps, etc. The billions now spent on these programs could be redirected to the GMI, offsetting a large portion of its cost.

4. By providing income security and de-coupling basic survival from employment, a GMI will allow for much greater flexibility in employment arrangements, allowing employers and workers to explore departures from the traditional "full time/part time" model. By giving both employers and workers more genuine choice in their employment options, new jobs will be created which may not have been economically feasible before.

5. A GMI has the potential to vastly improve workplace productivity by ridding the workplace of unmotivated workers and "free riders" who are "only there for the paycheck." As all employers and business owners realize, such workers drag down workplace efficiency and atmosphere through chronic under-performance. By ensuring that all employees truly want to be at work, employers can become and remain more competitive.

6. A GMI has the potential to reduce excessive consumption by creating a small but significant class of people who voluntarily live with less in order to pursue interests other than traditional employment. Such voluntary simplicity could positively impact problems such as the energy crisis, global warming, pollution, etc. If we are serious about "saving the Earth," perhaps we should consider strongly motivating people to live with less.

7. A GMI will strongly encourage the development of a culture conducive to effective democracy by allowing citizens much greater freedom and flexibility in pursuing cultural pillars such as education, art, civics, etc. When basic survival is de-coupled from labor, more hours can be devoted to personal development of the kind our founding fathers deemed necessary to effective democracy.

8. A GMI has the potential to strongly encourage the formation and continued development of profoundly liberal and progressive values. Human nature being what it is, we know that only when a society puts "its money where its mouth is" can its inspiring rhetoric and its professed values be taken seriously. By ensuring once and for all that no American will ever do without the basic necessities of life for ANY reason, we demonstrate a firm and uncompromising commitment to the compassionate values we hold dear.

9. A GMI allows the uniquely American emphasis on "freedom" to be expressed in a way that is profoundly meaningful in our daily lives. Personal liberty is sharply abridged and even made a mockery of when citizens are forced by economic circumstance to spend the majority of their waking lives doing work that is not meaningful to them as individuals. Reporting daily to a degrading job one despises just to keep food on the table and the lights burning is not "freedom" in any meaningful sense, and if we are serious about being a beacon of human liberty, we must make people free in the tangible and immediate ways that really matter each day of their lives.

10. Last but far from least, a GMI will cost a lot less than we might imagine. Prevailing estimates put the annual cost at $60-90 billion - which may sound like a great deal of money, but it does not take into account any of the potential institutional and social savings mentioned above. Factoring in such savings as well as the considerable social capital a GMI could create, the "net" cost might be little or nothing. Even so, the un-adjusted full cost of $60-90 would represent just 1/7 to 1/10 of the Pentagon's annual military budget.

So, there you have it - 10 arguments for a GMI. For some, all ten of these arguments put together will not be enough to overcome the "freeloading" objection. But for others, perhaps, they will be sufficient to at least open the subject for consideration.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. won't eliminate poverty
Edited on Mon Aug-18-08 04:57 PM by provis99
You forgot we live in a capitalist system, where poverty is a necessary requirement for the system to work. If a GMI were installed, demand for the products the poor buy will increase, leading to price inflation. The people who receive GMI will then slide back into poverty, as they cannot afford the increased prices. Inflation generated in this manner will lead to decreased production, as price increases take the place of increased goods manufacture. The quality of life for those on salaries or fixed incomes will also decline because of demand-driven inflation.

the bottom line is no matter how you try, capitalism needs an impoverished class to prosper, or the system collapses.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. It would if it were tied to a COLA index.
:shrug:
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
96. It would have to be...
a real COLA index with the REAL numbers, not the way it is set up now for Social Security recepients.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. The class recieving the GMI is still far below median income
So there is still an "underclass" - it just isn't one that can't even afford food and electricity.

The economy will be fine. You claim that "demand for the products poor people buy will increase," but what products are you referring to? Food, clothing, and shelter? Demand for those products is already universal - some of it simply isn't being met. I would hope that you aren't suggesting we ignore poverty in order to protect the economy from the strain of meeting currently unmet demand for basic necessities.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Im not saying to ignore poverty, far from it
No one should be poor. I'm saying the way the capitalist system works is that it requires a poor underclass; every capitalist society in history has needed one. That's why we need a fundamental rethinking of capitalism.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. I'm not necessarily opposed to that, BUT...
If we're tossing out the GMI as a pipe dream, I really don't see how we can put any stock in achieving socialism. In terms of being realistic and comparing the probability of unlikely outcomes, we'd have a $50k annual GMI for every American long before we'd jettison capitalism altogether.

Unfortunately, they already had a revolution in the 60's and not enough people showed up. Worse yet, too many of those who did had their 30th birthday, popped out a kid or two, and promptly became Starbucks-drinking entrepreneurs.
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JFN1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #13
75. What we really need is a maximum standard
Edited on Tue Aug-19-08 11:22 AM by JFN1
Why does ANYONE "need" a billion dollars? More than a minimum standard, we meed a maximum standard, whereby what an individual produces above the maximum is returned to society.

Crazy? Why?

Think about what changes this could produce - for one, it would temper this fascination with extreme wealth we all seem to carry with us. For another it would FORCE the wealthy to be socially responsible. And most of all, it would remove the specter of financial obesity from our culture, to be replaced with...well, I don't know what, but it has to be better than the simple pursuit of personal wealth - which is the entire focus of our culture now...
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #75
89. A maximum doesn't do any good without a minimum
You can tax away all of Bill Gates' excess billions, but if there is nothing to ensure they actually get to those who need them, we're back at square one. Income caps do nothing to directly address poverty. A GMI does, and it does so without such draconian measures.
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #75
118. Unfortunately, on a big scale
socialism and communism really didn't do any better than capitalism. Poor motivation. I think the only reason it works in my family is because we all share similar values. It's hard to get a whole nation to share the value of equality.
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #13
117. I agree that there are far less practicing hippies than in the 60s,
but I would argue that it was the hangers-on who inflated the numbers of hippies in the sixties and as soon as the next fad came along, they abandoned ship as fad obsessed hangers-on tend to do. Those ones are your Starbucks yuppies. The truly committed are still out there and there are others who were born too late for the sixties hippie boom who are quietly living a subversive life. To look at me, you would think I'm a middle class mom, but I live in a socialist commune (we call them intentional communities these days, but it is what it always was) and have two live in lovers and one who lives in another commune. Every Sunday, about thirty of us from various communities get together and have "Family Dinner". I use to bemoan that I missed the flower power generation by just a few years but now I see that I didn't really miss it at all. I live it.
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MiniMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 06:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
62. It also depends on how you spend it, If a person spends unwisely, they
will still be in poverty.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #62
91. Not true. Poverty is defined solely by income level.
How a person spends their money is their own business. If they choose to blow it on things you and I might (somewhat paternalistically) disapprove of, it's their choice. Free country. Nobody in their right mind would imagine that we can micro-manage people's spending habits. What we CAN do (if we have the will) is make sure everyone has enough to afford the basic necessities of life. If they choose to forgo such basic necessities, it's their own problem - although I don't see that happening too often because most people really can't forgo food, clothing, and shelter for very long.
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #91
119. Exactly!
I recently mentioned something very similar about my giving money to people on the street. A friend used the old canard that I shouldn't give people money because they'll just buy booze. I think I floored her when I said that the moment that money left my hand, it stopped being my concern where that money was going to be spent. And that is the only way I give money - if I can't give it cleanly like that, I don't give it. Yesterday a man came by asking for money for a charity that helps homeless vets get back on their feet and I liked his demeanor, he seemed genuine, so I donated. One of my housemates asked me later if I thought the group was legit and my answer was "I did in the moment and that's all that matters to me. In this moment, I need to go do the dishes". He laughed and of course dropped the subject because he knows as well as I do that what I do with my monthly stipend is wholly my choice. I have loaned money to people but always with the caveat that if they can't pay it back, I give it to them as a gift and ask only that the money not be the reason for their leaving the friendship. Some have paid the money back, some have not but I'm doing fine and so are the friendships.
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #1
106. I have to admit
my first instinct is to put my back up against the GMI idea. Having said that, can you explain to me why it is necessary for capitalism to have an impoverished class to prosper? Why would the system collapse if everyone could participate in such a system?
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. Heh. We can't even pass a progressive income tax...
much less a living minimum wage. Much less universal health care. Much less a universal minimum income.

Interesting idea though. I don't think our plutocracy is very interested in the kind of freedom that would give the working class.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Agreed, but can it hurt to throw it out there?
I advocate for this because I think it moves our thinking in the right direction. We don't have to be able to put this through Congress to understand that idea has merit.

And 100 years from now, who knows?
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. But of course...
throw it out. This is a forum. And it's the inter-tubes.

It's interesting, and the argument reminds me of the argument for universal health care. Or, at least certain arguments for universal health care. The freedom from having to organize our lives around paying for health insurance, dealing with health insurance companies, etc. As you say, a concrete embodiment of freedom.
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Redbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. We already have a smaller scale negative income tax model
with the Earned Income Tax Credit. I don't see too many Republicans complaining about it. If we proposed expanding EITC, that might be an issue we could get people excited about.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. It could be a start. I'd definitely support it as a first step. (n/t)
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. This idea was even favored by Barry Goldwater's adviser!
"To many Americans, the idea of a guaranteed income smacks suspiciously of a dole to people who refuse to get a job. Others argue that this would not be the case with a guaranteed-income scheme called the "negative income tax." Intended to preserve at least some incentive to work, the proposal has at tracted remarkably disparate support ranging from University of Chicago Economist Milton Friedman, a 1964 adviser to Barry Goldwater, to Yale's James Tobin, a former economic adviser to President Kennedy. Last week the idea got a big boost from inside the business community when Ford Motor Co. President Arjay Miller endorsed it as a key step toward "the elimination of poverty."

Basic Allowance. Speaking at a National Industrial Conference Board meeting in Manhattan, Miller assailed the "unsatisfactory progress" of the nation's existing welfare system by pointing out that there are some 30 million low-income Americans, of whom fewer than 8,000,000 receive public assistance. Present programs, said Miller, "are failing to reach many of those who need help most. Some of the poor now receive help from two or more programs, while others in desperate need receive nothing at all."

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,844271...
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Yes. Arch-libertarian Milton Friedman also supported it
Being thoroughly evil didn't stop Uncle Milty from looking at the Negative Income Tax and coming to the rational conclusion that it simply made practical economic sense. Don't get Friedman wrong, he didn't give a damn about the poor and homeless as human beings. He simply saw that an NIT would cost America less overall than either band-aid solutions or ignoring poverty and paying the eventual social costs.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. People who think long-term can arrive at common conclusions,
despite coming from different ideological perspectives. Only true misanthropes reject a reasonable idea outright because it might help a few "undeserving" individuals.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. Indeed. And "undeserving" is a pretty debatable term to begin with
Edited on Mon Aug-18-08 05:41 PM by Naturyl
It is always instructive to consider that those branded "undeserving" in any culture are usually given such a label either by those who stand to benefit from maintaining that perception, or those who are simply angry and/or jealous that others are unwilling to be subjected to the same hardships they choose for themselves.

Thanks for the support, and at the risk of raising some hackles, I'd have to admit that I also find it hard to see people who would oppose something like this in terms other than "misanthropic." But it isn't necessarily entirely their fault - in a culture where misanthropy and blatant social Darwinism are celebrated, one has to expect certain attitudes to prevail.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Thank you for the initial post!
The misanthropes among us were waiting for Ayn Rand to lend intellectual credibility to their selfishness. I wonder if our present incarnation of neo-conservatives would have been possible without Rand's objectivism offering a theoretic base?
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Yes, exactly
I'm glad you brought up Rand and you did it in just the right way. "Waiting for Ayn Rand to lend intellectual credibility to their selfishness" is a very concise and accurate way of putting it. That bitter woman did incalculable damage by finally finding a palatable way to tell people exactly what they long to hear - that selfishness is okay and even "for the best," and that any pangs of conscience can be safely disregarded.

As you probably know, Greenspan was a dedicated Rand student and wrote a chapter for her "Capitalism." Reagan's cabinet was full of Randroids, and many of them are still shaping our culture today.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. The problem is that we haven't worked to develop an effective counter to it.
People would understand how wrong it is, if we would frame it correctly.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #23
82. It wasn't until Rand, that it became "immoral" to tax the rich to apy for
the health and human service needs of the poor. I never heard "moral" arguments being used in discussions of transfer payments between socioeconomic classes, they were always economic like "no nation ever taxed its way to prosperity!" Even Calvinism came with a strong charitable component. Ayn Rand was Adam Smith on steroids and the Greenspans and Friedmans a receptive audience!
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #20
120. Imagine
Such a prescient man was Joshn Lennon, eh?

I know that seemed a non sequiter, but these two threads have that song going through my mind. If it can be imagined, perhaps one day, it can be.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
10. I'm all for it, but good luck trying to get people, who have been brainwashed
to accept a commercial, capitalistic economic system, as the only one and to try to think outside the box for a moment and examine what could be done and still preserve our system of free enterprise, which incidentally, we have given up for fascist corporatism.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. Tell me about it, lol
I've been advocating this for years and have been jeered and dismissed in just about every way I can imagine, even on "friendly turf." So you're preaching to the choir on that, but you're absolutely right nonetheless.

Interestingly, I think a GMI would actually empower free enterprise enormously, because it would de-couple employment from survival and give every American a very real opportunity to work for himself/herself without risking starvation or total financial ruin. I can imagine all sorts of new business getting started in kitchens and living rooms - businesses that never get further than the idea stage currently because too much is at stake.

Come to think of it, I should have listed that as one of my arguments, heh. Thanks. :)
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #16
121. I just popped over to the website on your profile
Just glanced really, I will look more after I sleep. You are amazing.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #10
105. A new "Great Depression" followed by an FDR-like president would deprogram them!
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
15. funny thing is, actual businesspeople should love this
the surest way to make sure that money gets spent, and usually spent here in the u.s., is to put it in the hands of the poorest people.

and spent money is money that can work its way into the hands of business owners. in theory, they should love the idea of taking money from the middle class who might save it or spend it on a vacation in a foreign land or on imports from another country, and putting it in the hands of people who are more likely to spend it on a product sold by an american business.

but instead of actual businesspeople, we have short-sighted, lazy, greedy fools who would rather cling to a nickle than actually earn a dollar.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Absolutely. Another excellent point.
Low-income people tend to spend their money at home - in local American neighborhoods and local American businesses. Just about every dollar spent on a GMI would go straight back into the American economy - and as you point out, the same cannot be said for the rich and middle-class.

Thanks for pointing out another reason the GMI makes practical sense even for those who tend to oppose it most vehemently. Their short-sightedness is not only the loss of the poor, it's their own loss as well.
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patriotvoice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 06:50 AM
Response to Reply #18
61. How does that follow?
A shop is either a "Mom & Pop" independent, a local franchise, a regional franchise, a national franchise, or an international franchise. The further away from Mom & Pop you go, the less money you are spending at home. The further you go from Mom & Pop, the lower the prices of comparable goods and services. Therefore, you spend the least money on comparable goods by shopping at big chains: Wal-Mart and McDonald's come to mind.

Given this, why do you assert that low-income people tend to spend their money at home? I would think they would spend their money at big chains to maximize their dollar. That is, a low-income family is more likely to spend their grocery money at Wal-Mart than the farmer's market.

Thus, I don't see how you can assert that "just about every dollar spent on a GMI would go straight back into the American economy."
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #61
80. well the main point is that they'll spend it all, period
as opposed to better off people who are more likely to save some of it.

you have a point that even the poorest people effectively import goods (and therefore export capital) via big box retailers and the like. however, even a good portion of that money remains local as much of that is returned to the community via employee pay and local suppliers. yes, the franchiser gets its royalty; yes the foreign supplier gets a chunk for the original goods. so not all of the money spent remains local, a good chunk does.

but i'm not sure i believe that richer people will spend a margial dollar locally so much as to overcome the savings effect. the middle class shops at big boxes as well, though they might prefer target to wal-mart. not to mention that the even the mom & pop shops import these days as well....

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patriotvoice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #80
81. Right, everyone is exporting captial.
I assume that the amount remaining local for payroll is constant for all types of enterprise, but the use of local suppliers who do not import is limited to the Mom & Pop nearly exclusively. Thus anyone -- regardless of economic class -- who doesn't shop at a Mom & Pop is exporting a maximum amount of capital.

However, I can give two prime examples of how the higher economic classes spend more locally: food and furniture. Locally grown, fresh food is more expensive than processed imports. Hand-made furniture (hard wood especially, but even MDF) is 3 to 4 times more than comparable pre-fab import. Only the "more well off" can afford these "luxuries", and conversely the "less well off" must resort to options that maximally export capital.

But you raise a good point about saving. Few do, and that is extremely ill-guided. When you have very little, saving seems horribly foreign -- been there, done that. But it is a necessity. While "forced" savings like Social Security are "fine", they are not nearly liquid enough for weathering economic storms before people retire. Therefore, I would like to suggest that any GMI plan must include a mandatory, nearly-liquid savings plan.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #80
104. Retailers in poorer communities would benefit, as would schools depending on local property taxes.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
44. the surest way to make sure that money gets spent, and usually spent here in the u.s., is to put it
it in the hands of the poorest people."

Which is why those of us on SSI didn't get that "Economic Stimulus" check.

Go figure.

:grr:
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #44
50. Yeah, that was one more slap....
I remember learning that I didn't qualify and being not the least bit surprised. Of course I don't qualify - I actually NEED it.

Backward, backward, backward. They ought to call it "Acirema" sometimes...
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #50
77. And where was the outrage? Where was the Democratic concern about us?
Sorry you got caught in that, too.

One more reason why I don't trust my damned party anymore.

:grr:
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #77
83. Well, I'm no longer under the delusion the Democratic party cares about me.
Haven't been for a long time. That's not why I'm a Democrat. I'm a Democrat because my concerns go beyond simple self-interest. Even though Democrats don't seem any more concerned about my existence or my problems than Republicans, they are still the major party with the best values and principles.

If I cared only about my own self-interest and concerns, I'd vote and advocate for Greens, socialists, or something like that. But such fringe parties can't win and supporting them only helps Republicans get elected. While that doesn't make much practical difference in terms of my monthly check (which Obama has no more intention of improving than McCain does), it would be very bad news for America as a whole.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #15
79. Maybe We, The People, would actually start VALUING those doing necessary
but unglamorous jobs?????

Maybe that could happen?
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mwooldri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
101. Small business would thrive under this IMO.
Incentive to start your own business if you know that the bills are going to be paid and you're going to have a roof over your head.

Might just work.

Mark.
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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
17. Agreed but it can't happen
Edited on Mon Aug-18-08 05:36 PM by Prophet 451
Remember Clinton's gutting of welfare? Remember how many people loved that and the many more who think there should be no welfare at all? That's why it'll never happen. Just as the defining trait of puritanism was the suspician that somebody somewhere was having fun, the defining trait of conservatism is the suspician that someone, somewhere is getting something for nothing.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. "Never" is a big word.
Will it happen anytime soon? Unlikely. But "never" is excessively pessimistic, especially when we consider that a GMI proposal once made it all the way to Richard Nixon before being rejected after serious consideration. This was before Reagan, Clinton, the Bushes plus Limbaugh and his imitators made "welfare" the dirtiest of dirty words.

In today's warped right-wing climate? No, it's not going to happen. But give us 20 years of Democrats and ask again. Nobody would have thought the New Deal conceivable during Hoover's term - but the very next president made it happen nonetheless. Things can and do change - sometimes favorably.
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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Fair point
I'm just feeling excessively cynical today.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. One more big argument -- there is no longer enough work for everyone
As a result of automation, it is no longer possible for the entire adult population of the planet to be given gainful employment making stuff and moving stuff around. All the chatter about the service economy is a reflection of this fact -- but service jobs along won't fill the gap either.

The growing scarcity of jobs compared to workers is a major reason why the middle class has gotten so dicked around over the last few decades. If the unemployment figures weren't being manipulated, we would realize that the jobs are no longer there. It isn't that the economy needs to grow more -- the economy *has* grown, but productivity has increased even faster.

Perhaps in the long run, we will find new things to set everyone's hands to -- just as manufacturing moved in to employ the displaced peasants in the 1800's. But in the short run, a guaranteed income will both prevent the social turmoil that would otherwise accompany the transition and also provide opportunities for people to experiment with completely new lines of work.

This is not a new ideas -- you can find it in science fiction going back to at least the 1930's -- but it no longer seems like wild-eyed utopianism. At this point, it's really just old fears and prejudices about "freeloaders" living off the efforts of the productive people that keeps it from being taken seriously as a solution to many of our current problems.

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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Well-put and thanks for making another good point. n/t
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Understand that the value of the productivity gains have gone into the pockets of the owner class,
not into those of the workers whose productivity increased. We are now forced to surrender MORE of our work product to the owners than in the past, and of course there's no limit on how much they can turn the screws on us. We're disposable labor units to them, not human beings.
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WHAT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #24
59. Could it work without population control?...
I've been attracted to this idea for a long time but I could see it leading to population growth which would ultimately sabotage the "numbers" and make it unworkable. Sometimes I wonder if the platforms pushing no abortion coupled with no contraception realize this and are setting-up a foil to equitable distribution of necessities because it engenders a type of tribalism that rewards group think while simultaneously making groups easier to manipulate

(a lot of science fiction in my "theories")

The consequences to population growth and demographics ...that's what I wonder about with respect to gmi...other things, too..

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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #24
98. I'm familiar with the sci-fi ideas
Look, I think this is a good idea. We have something vaguely similar here (England) called "Income Support" but it's on a much, much smaller scale. I just think that, in a nation where you can't even talk about universal healthcare without someone screaming "socialism" (like that's something to be afraid of), you'd have a real problem selling it to the public. I agree that the stuff about "freeloaders" is just old fears and prejudices but I also have a fairly low opinion of the general public and I know that massive portions of the public, maybe even most of the public, still believe them.
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Captain Sensible Donating Member (200 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #19
66. Maybe....
I'm reading this wrong but why would anyone work cleaning sewers if they could get paid not doing it. You say that businesses would flourish because only people who want to be there would show up... who is going to show up in the 105 deg heat in Ariz to shovel dirt?
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #66
74. A negative income tax works in concert with labor demand
Edited on Tue Aug-19-08 11:03 AM by wuushew
Onerous jobs would still exist, but since far fewer people would apply to do them they would have to offer a superior wage than currently. The whole setup has a nice self-balancing aspect.
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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #66
99. Did you ever watch the show "Dirty Jobs"
The one where the host, Mike, goes around and helps people do their nastiest jobs? It is amazing, but pretty much every person that he works with seems to get a satisfaction with their job beyond a simple paycheck. He's worked with septic tank pumpers, sewer cleaners, cleaning animal waste, just plain horribly disgusting jobs. But the men and women do seem to enjoy themselves.

Not to say that there are people doing that kind of job that hate it, but humans can find a sense of accomplishment from the strangest things whether or not they make a lot of money at it.

I suspect that there would be jobs no one would want to do or that people might try out for short stints. But I'd bet we would all be surprised at what people would be willing to try out.

The other part is why are the "disgusting" jobs low paid? If they are necessary and required maybe the people doing that work should be paid at a rate that fits the inconvenience and nastiness.

It has been said in these forums that our current economic system is not working - maybe we need a fresh look at how pay and jobs are related.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #19
95. Anything worthwhile...
is worth fighting for and that is why it WILL take time to implement a GMI. Look at the evolution of these right wing mainstays such as the Heritage Foundation and others. When they first organized back in the 60s and 70s they were on the fringes at best, now they run the country. The same thing will have to be done to change the government and the American people's thinking back into a "New Deal" type society. One thing I believe though, is that the time is NOW to start this change.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #17
28. You're right. It can't possibly happen.
UNLESS "PROGRESSIVES" DECIDE THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO END POVERTY AND HOMELESSNESS!

Peace can't happen either, unless/until we decide to make it happen.

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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #28
47. Hear, hear
Its all up to all of us to decide that Poverty and homelessness need to be ended. It just takes some work, direction, and tenacity...
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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #28
97. Geez, I get downhearted for an evening....
...and everyone's trying to revoke my progressive card.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #97
113. There's a difference between being "downhearted" and naysaying.
Put your energy into it, and maybe we can actually make it happen.

You're the only one who has the power to "revoke your progressive card."
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #113
122. Last week it seemed everyone here on DU was dissing, well, everything
this week, these two threads provoked thoughtfulness, kindness and an awful lot of thinking outside the box. I have to say I have a preference for this angle.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #17
51. Yet they have no problem with rich people getting a whole lot for nothing,
ostensibly because they imagine that 'someday it will be me' that is rich and can get paid a bunch for doing nothing, at least that's what I think.

This seems to be a symptom of our lost ability to think beyond whatever TV show is on tonight, and our complete lack of empathy.



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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #51
56. Bingo. They don't care if Paris Hilton lays around all day long...
But if they see somebody with a food stamp card in the grocery line, they are fuming. The rationalization, of course, is that Paris is "self-sufficient."

Well, no... lol. Her granddaddy's overpriced hotel chain is self-sufficient - she is just a genetic lottery winner. I'm not asking that anyone be allowed to live like Paris on the taxpayer's dime. But is food, clothing, and shelter too much to ask? For many, it is. They are too busy condemning "the lazy" while simultaneously hoping to one day join Paris and her friends at poolside.
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #56
123. Damn, you hit that nail straight on!
I think our biggest hurdle is going to be getting people to stop believing that the size of one's paycheck has anything to do with how much they are worth. The amount of money one happens to have is much more about factors outside of one's control. We need to disconnect money from worthiness. I make 6 times the dollar bills than my family member who is disabled and yet when we walk into our house, we each take the same monthly stipend and we are each equally worthy. What that man can do with a few staple food ingredients boggles and amazes me. The way he brings such creativity to every project he takes on thrills me. We are all very unique but equally worthy in this house.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
27. Thanks for bringing this up! All along I've thought the Nixon proposal had merit.
Edited on Mon Aug-18-08 08:02 PM by bobbolink
With the severe lack of low-income housing being what it is, and no proposals in sight for creating the necessary housing, a minimum income that INCLUDES reasonable housing would be wonderful!

I hope people are ready to start listening... this would get millions of people off the street in a much shorter time.

:applause:

I'm going to edit this to say that I'm assuming you are meaning a minimum income for EVERYONE, and not just people who are working.

I'm very disgusted with the current attitude that "the working poor" are the only ones worthy of thought and "assistance."

Disabled people and elderly people are getting shafted, and it's time to open our eyes and include EVERYONE.

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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:10 PM
Response to Original message
30. Rather than redistribute money, it might be better to "de-profitize" the necessities of life
The model would be Medicare: take the profit out of water, food, clothing, shelter, health, edu, communication, and transport. Those are all utilities needed by everyone in urbanized cultures, so there is no defensible reason for anyone to make a private profit from them, and if providers aren't going to be part of the profit system, then we should take the risk out of them too (i.e., socialize the risk of crop failure, the cost of medical training and malpractice insurance, etc).

Make it easy for people to become nanoproviders by making community-owned tools available to all on a booking basis. So someone who has such a bumper crop that he even overwhelms the local grocer shops can bring his excess excess produce to a community kitchen where there's an industrial-quality pressure canner available. Or someone who has a new idea for a vehicle can bring her drawings to the community machine shop and work up a prototype. Someone who has a good eye for clothing and the ability to make a pattern can book the use of expensive speciality sewing equipment. Et almost endless cetera.
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. This is a good idea
A GMI would reduce poverty but could not completely eliminate it. There will always be people whose cost of living exceeds both their ability to earn, and any guaranteed minimum income - such as the permanently and severely disabled, or their parents or caregivers, for example. On the other hand, de-coupling the basic necessities of life, up to and including advanced medical care, medical equipment, and assisted living (including transportation), from the profit motive would ensure a decent minimum standard of living for everyone, without removing the motivation to strive for something more, and work for it.

I think the best solution would combine a Guaranteed Minimum income with your suggestion.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. I don't see why...
If all citizens are guaranteed an income above the poverty line, how can anyone remain in poverty? What would disability or any other factor have to do with it? Those are exactly the kind of distinctions a GMI gets rid of - with a GMI in place, no one can fall into poverty regardless of their circumstances. The situations you describe are those that occur under the current insufficient social safety net - not under a GMI.

Are you sure the trouble isn't just that you don't like the idea of giving people cash?
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. were is the all that cash going to come from?
and- have you ever heard of the term "inflation"? how about "hyper-inflation"...? :shrug:
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. Already addressed these objections.
It will cost $60-90 billion annually, which is a fraction of the Pentagon budget, and a large part of the cost will be offset by savings in numerous areas.

As for inflation, there is no evidence to suggest that hyper-inflation would occur as a result of a GMI, nor has any reputable economist studying the proposal suggested such a scenario, ever.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 06:19 AM
Response to Reply #36
60. Maybe you're not defining GMI the way other people do?
Let's say that the GMI is $20K (your example a few posts down). Let's presume we have a person whose body was wrecked at birth and who has no earning capacity in a profit-oriented economy. So he gets the full $20K.

But what happens to him if that $20K isn't enough to cover even his special needs for shelter, personal support, and transportation? Where does the money for the rest of his life come from?
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #60
84. Ugh...
That's what poverty guidelines are for.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #84
88. Perhaps you could explain what you mean in more detail?
As far as I'm aware, you're talking about handing over the cash needed to bring someone up to some minimum standard, say $20K (or $100K, the example numbers don't matter). Right?

So someone who has no special needs is going to do very well on that in East Cornpone Mississippi...but someone who lives in Boston where rent can be $2000/month and who needs full-time live support plus custom adaptive equipment and vehicles...what about that person? That $20K or whatever is going to vanish like spit on a stove.

Or are you talking about having everything finely titrated according to location, expenses, etc with lots of justifying paperwork to make sure the person in East Cornpone isn't collecting at the level of the Bostonian and even the Bostonian isn't putting anything into his pocket?
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #88
90. We need universal single-payer health care along with any GMI.
I mentioned that earlier. I agree that without universal health care (which your example specifically pertains to), a GMI will fail in some cases.

What we really need, and what a GMI is part of, is a guarantee that all American citizens are unconditionally entitled to the basic necessities of life as an essential human right. Those necessities, as I and many others define them, are nourishing food, adequate clothing, safe shelter, and necessary medicine. In other words, a GMI + single-payer health care.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #90
92. So you are using "GMI" in a special way? You're not talking about making sure that everyone
has a certain minimum amount of cash in their pocket at the start of the year, from which they then pay all their expenses?

Are you talking about providing access all the necessities of life and then cash on top of that? So that someone who needs $1M worth of services gets that PLUS $20K or whatever?
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #92
93. Yeah, that's what single-payer health care means.
If $1m is the health care bill, then that's what it costs. Yes, the GMI would on top of anything like that, to make sure non-health necessities are never denied.

But health care is a separate issue. Let's not confuse this. If someone needs $1m in health services then that's what it costs the government under ANY single-payer plan, with or without a GMI.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #93
94. No, that's why I said "services", so that we're not talking about healthcare
It could be anything. It could be someone who legitimately needs to travel a great deal, or someone who needs a special, expensive diet, or someone who needs a particular kind of living space, high-bandwidth communication, special clothing. Anything.

So are you talking about supplying everyone's basic needs, whatever they might be at whatever level they might be needed, AND cash on top of that?
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #36
102. It couldn't be a single number then
either that or we need to continue to spend on social programs. Both would be needed because with a "flat" GMI you can't take into account the variable cost of living in different regions, or the special needs of some.

At minimum, we'd need universal health care, education, and assisted-living housing avaialable to all. No matter how high you raise the ceiling on a GMI, there will still be people who need more.

The bottom line is everyone's needs are not the same - a young, healthy, single person with no children will not need the same income as a wheel-chair bound parent of two, for example.

I'm not worried about giving money to people who aren't making enough of it to survive in the US. Quite the contrary. I think we need a GMI that adjusts to cost of living in different areas, AND we need to focus more on "social" spending and far less on corporate welfare and military pork. That's all.
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patriotvoice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 06:59 AM
Response to Reply #30
63. Or socialize the profits.
An industry funded by the people should have the profits returned to the people. Take the military and defense contractors, for example. If Boeing receives 70% of its gross income from the military, 70% of the net profit should be immediately returned to the US Treasury.

(Of course then they'd just artificially raise the costs of everything -- payroll for the top heads, most likely. Suddenly they're making 2% profit and officers are making 100 times what they were.)
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #63
71. That would be the advantage of defining the necessities as public utilities
rather than allowing them to remain profit centers for the few. Once the universal human needs are taken care of , everything else becomes a non-essential that can be chosen or rejected.
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #71
111. This is the concept I agree with
although I do think it should be *combined* with a GMI and I don't think either solution would eliminate poverty by itself.
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Captain Sensible Donating Member (200 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #30
67. WOW.........
put the government in charge of clothing...... can you imaging how crappy fashion would become. lol
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #67
70. In your ideologically-driven haste, you apparently missed the part where
the providers would be people who know how to do the job. You'll notice that under Medicare, for example, fully-trained doctors and nurses, not bureaucrats, provide the healthcare.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:21 PM
Response to Original message
31. a 'guaranteed minimum income' is utterly meaningless without an enforced 'maximum income'...
with the 'enforcement' most likely coming through tax policy.

you lost me at number 1- 'A GMI will instantly and permanently end poverty in America...'

no, it won't. if you honestly think so- then you really don't understand the issue and/or economics.

but i blame the american educational system- not you.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Hehe... I'm self-educated
Edited on Mon Aug-18-08 08:35 PM by Naturyl
And I stand by what I said. Poverty cannot exist if it is made impossible to meet the criteria by which the term is defined. If one has an income greater than a certain pre-defined level, then one is not poor. In order to eliminate poverty, all that is necessary is to bring all incomes above this level. "No, it can't be that simple!" I can hear those Pavlovian thoughts fermenting in American minds. But it IS that simple. We pretend it isn't simply in order to get ourselves off the hook.

In other words, as much of a shock as it may be to indoctrinated Americans, the way to solve poverty IS to give people money (or in-kind resources with monetary value) - and in fact it's the ONLY way to do so. The only reason people don't understand this is that American culture will do anything to avoid admitting that the way to end poverty is to give poor people money, because then we might feel an obligation to *actually do that.* And heaven knows that's an obligation we'd rather not feel.

But, to return your condescending tone to you, I don't blame you for failing to see this, I blame American culture. And, for the record, any time you want to cast aspersions on my educational level (in a grammatically-atrocious post with a dearth of capital letters), I'd be glad to sit down and take a standardized test with you. :)
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. throw out some numbers- at what guaranteed income level would you eradicate poverty?
:shrug:
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. If the poverty line for a given family is $20k per year, for example...
Then you supplement the income up to $20,001 and tie it to an annual cost-of-living adjustment to ensure that the amount stays above poverty guidelines permanently.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. is $20k the number you're going with, then? for how many people?
since you say 'given family'- what's needed are your HARD numbers...what about single people...? and starting at what age is the minimum income guaranteed? these are all important factors to help explain why it just won't work.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. $1 above the poverty line, adjusted annually for cost of living
If you want to know the actual poverty lines for American families in 2008, it isn't difficult to look them up. The type of GMI I propose would supplement ALL incomes below those figures, with the supplemental amount adjusted annually based on cost of living.

The GMI, if implemented as a negative income tax, would be an entitlement available to all American citizens, should their income fall below the federal poverty line.
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #35
41. You see, "ideas" are useless...not even worth talking about...
get back to us when you have a 2000 page document, fully footnoted of course, with a completely fleshed out proposal. Be sure to include reams of BLS and Census data and statistics. And charts. We love charts. The prettier the better.

Without all this stuff, ideas aren't even worth discussing.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. You're being sarcastic, I assume?
Or not?
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. Oh, 100 percent.
Maybe.

Yeah, I am.

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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #31
45. I actually don't agree with you on this point
Edited on Mon Aug-18-08 09:40 PM by wuushew
In my mind's eye I picture a wealth distribution curve for a given population. The left of the curve has a clear delimiter at zero under the current system. What is the the counter part to the right?

Is the overall wealth of the system increasing or static? Nothing limits the further accumulation of wealth under our current bracket system nor would it under a constantly increasing rate of taxation which asymptotically approaches 100%.

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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:41 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. Yes. We had a 90% top tax bracket at one point...
And the rich didn't go hungry. They still had mansions and fortunes and servants and all of it. Their "crushing burden" of giving back to the society that made their wealth possible didn't stop them from living the high life, due to the simple fact that in order to qualify for the 90% bracket to begin with, you had to be quite obscenely rich.

The rich do not need, and have never needed, our concern. They will be just fine.

But will we?
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #46
48. Maybe
If we start to watch out for all of us below the wealth line, and demand economic justice; I like this idea of such a huge tax, would Bill, Warren, or Rupert miss it? thanks Naturyl!!
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Nope, they wouldn't miss it.
I believe that guys at that level are only in it for "the game" anyway. To them, it's like a sport - seeing just how far they can go in accumulating these vast fortunes. If the rules of the game are changed, that's just all the more challenge. Some of them might even secretly enjoy it.
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Kat45 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
52. In order to do this, there would have to be single payer health care.
Currently, a lot of people need to work full time just to have access to health insurance at a reasonable cost. In that situation, people wouldn't want these flexible arrangements. Don't get me wrong, I find the idea intriguing and I plan to read more about it. I'm just pointing out that the health care/health insurance situation would have to be resolved first.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. I don't disagree.
I tend to assume that single-payer health care will be in place long before anything like this is seriously considered, simply because it's a much less radical proposal that is being discussed even in today's political climate. A GMI would definitely work much better with universal health care.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
54. In theory, maybe.. In practice..not so much
People do not always "perform" the way a model says they should, or might.

There will always be a need for a parallel "service sector", because there will always be irresponsible parents who would blow any amount of money they would get...on themselves..to the exclusion of their children.

and without a national health care system in place, NO "GMI" could keep up the pace ..

The same amount of governmental expense would be better spent to set up a "free college" system for all students who achieve a B or Better GPA...and national health care system, paid for by taxation.

With those two items in place, middle classers could once again actually start saving, and regaining what they have lost.

A GMI also would dump a whole lot of "former employees" on the street..All the people who now work in the sector that serves the poor, would all be jobless..

What needs to happen is this:

Job-related health care insurance has to be made ILLEGAL
The money that employees are told is paid FOR their care, has to be ADDED to their income.. It IS part of what there real wages should be.

Taxation needs to be figured on that NEW real wage..

3 times whatever the poverty rate is, should be exempt from taxation

..........................

Social security deductions need to be upped to 8% and all upper limits eliminated..and it needs to include ALL income..not just "wages"..( I would exclude the first $5k of interest/dividend payments)

............................

Unemployment benefits should be beefed up and extended

............................
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #54
55. And what happens to those who don't fit in with such an approach?
"The same amount of governmental expense would be better spent to set up a "free college" system for all students who achieve a B or Better GPA...and national health care system, paid for by taxation."

What happens to the disabled, the non-working poor, and those who cannot achieve a B or better average? Throw them to the wolves? And if everyone has a college education, who will do the "unskilled" jobs?

Single-payer health care and free college are fine. I support both ideas, but they aren't comprehensive solutions to poverty and they would leave many Americans in need. A GMI would include all Americans and end poverty permanently. I know of no other proposal which would do so.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #55
57. What do they have now? a patchwork quilt of endless paperwork
and denials of service.

The B or better is a "carrot".. For students who are under that, there could be remedial classes to help them catch up..or assistance to attend.. there will always be kids who do not want to attend college, no matter what is done for them.

Trade schools & job training have to be a part too.

There is no safety net strong enough to catch everyone..no matter how much we would like it to be so.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-18-08 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. Saying don't make it so.
Edited on Mon Aug-18-08 11:06 PM by Naturyl
"There is no safety net strong enough to catch everyone..no matter how much we would like it to be so."

I strongly disagree. There IS such a safety net, it has been proposed, and I have made a case for it in this very thread.

No matter how much we wish it weren't so, a GMI is a universal safety net through which no American can fall. In fact, that's the whole idea. Why would we wish it weren't so? There could be any number of reasons, but the most likely suspect is always a simple awareness that if we admit such a safety net is possible, we might have to give in to our conscience and pay for it. And that would hit many of us right in the wallet (or so we believe), which is where it really hurts.
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patriotvoice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 07:32 AM
Response to Original message
64. Various arguments.
No matter their income level, people prefer to party -- the rich buy cocaine, codeine, and Lamborghinis; the poor buy booze, pot, and lottery tickets. The difference is that the rich really do have disposable income, while the poor really do not.

This addiction to unnecessary things is not a class condition, it's a human condition. The argument for GMI is to end poverty by simply erasing the very conditions under which "poverty" is defined: "you are poor if you make less than $X, so we will make sure everyone makes $X+1." But that doesn't address the human condition, the preference to buy discretionary before mandatory, to buy before save.

How would GMI address the human condition? How would GMI guarantee the income is spent on the things necessary to actually reduce poverty?

* * *

Let us compare minimum wage (MW) to minimum income (MI). The idea behind MW is simple: work 40 hours per week, 50 weeks a year and the average American should be able to survive. When initiated, the program worked well. But it has not kept up with cost-of-living. How would MI be any different? How would it fight inflation?

* * *

"Guaranteed income" slaps many in the face: regardless of what you do, you get a minimum. A guaranteed wage is more palatable: you work and you get a certain minimum.

* * *

The use of an arbitrarily income line to define poverty is ripe for abuse. Let us assume GMI is $20,001 per year. Suppose I have $40,000 in savings, no employment, and expenses of $20,000 per year. Should I receive the GMI? If I did, that would guarantee I never had to work again: I would receive enough each year to pay my expenses and I would never have to work again.

* * *

What causes poverty? Lack of money.
What causes a lack of money? Expenses exceed income.
GMI addresses the income side of the equation with liquid cash.
Why prefer that over addressing the expense side with tangibles?

In other words, why not provide:
- Guaranteed maximum housing cost,
- Guaranteed maximum grocery cost,
- Guaranteed maximum heating/cooling cost,
- Guaranteed maximum health care cost?
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 07:38 AM
Response to Original message
65. Interesting proposition
Would you require American citizenship to participate, or would the program apply to anyone in the country that qualifies.
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joeglow3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
68. What happens to low paying jobs???
Suppose there is a job that pays $10 an hour ($20,000 a year). You and I both know few people will work this job if they can get the exact same amount of money without giving up over 2,000 hours of their life every year. Thus, the only answer is for these jobs to pay more, forcing employers to hire fewer people and/or increasing prices. With increased prices comes a higher level to meet for your program. With fewer people to work these jobs, there are now more people who will need to participate in the program.

How would a $30,000 a year job fare much better. This program ensures I would get less that $5 an hour for my time (as the first $10 an hour is mine with no work needed). Sorry, I just don't see how the economics of this can NOT result in increased inflation, increased unemployment and massive failure.
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robcon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #68
72. You took my argument right out of my keyboard, joeglow3
The impact on the poor will be horrible. As someone who has a $34,000 a year job, I won't work for the first $20K, and go off the books for the rest.
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #72
73. well, that explains the "con" in your username.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #68
76. Just like what happens in many other (enlightened) countries.
The government pays the difference.

The job gets done.

People are working.

Businesses are doing business.

People are able to live on what they do for a living.

Actually, it's quite simple, if we are willing to adjust our thinking TO THE BENEFIT OF THE POPULATION, and quite the damned RW talking points.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #68
103. A negative income tax would bring them up by reimbursing them for the difference!
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Regret My New Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #68
115. Well... My first thoughts...
If such a thing as this was implemented, then there would still be plenty of people willing to work those jobs. Basically, they would want those jobs because they are stress free easy jobs to earn extra spending money...
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #68
116. If a job doesn't pay a living wage, it isn't worth doing
And if our system is going to collapse the minute everyone is paid what it costs to live, then it's not worth keeping.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
69. Our nation, our system,
is not about empowering people.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
78. number 10 is ironic
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #78
85. Why is that?
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #85
86. because even an idea that sounds like pie in the sky idealism is nickel & dime compared to military
spending.
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Naturyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #86
87. Yeah. Nobody could dream of spending so much on poverty...
But spending far more on tanks and bombs is fully accepted and considered "necessary."

Boy oh boy. Luuuuucy, you got some evolvin' to do!!!
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #87
108. Dr. Evil: "Keep people from STARVING?! But I need sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads!''
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-19-08 11:39 PM
Response to Original message
100. Too late to recommend, but kicking anyway. n/t
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ItNerd4life Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
107. How about a maximum ratio instead. Now it's 500 to1 and growing!
Set the maximum a person can make to be no more than 300 to 1 of the average employee within the company or any of it's subsidiaries or children companies. The only way executives can make more is if they pay their employees more. Force the profits to be shared with the employees.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #107
109. And what about people too young or too old or too disabled to work?
Shove us off a cliff?
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
110. Certainly in favor of this . . .
and didn't have time to actually read the whole thing ---

but has to be paired with a "Living Wage" -- otherwise taxpayers would

simply be subsidizing corporations and slave labor ---

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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #110
112. "but has to be paired with a "Living Wage" -- otherwise taxpayers would" IF you read it,
you will find that that's not true.

NOW we need to put our shoulders to the wheel, and start working on this!
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Regret My New Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-20-08 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
114. That would never happen here...
heh, I admit I do find it an interesting idea.

Has any other country applied this?
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