Advantages of Basic Income Now

We don't have to wait until AI and robots automate our jobs away. There are a lot of advantages to doing even a limited basic income right now. It would provide some extra liquidity to people living paycheck to paycheck, helping them avoid things like overdraft fees that make it difficult to build up savings when your income is low. It would also inject money directly into the foundation of the economy, which is ordinary people living ordinary lives.

I would love for basic income to become part of our monetary policy. As it is right now, we manage the value of our currency using the Federal Reserve, which tries to keep the inflation rate at about 2%. This gives it a nice buffer and keeps it from going negative, because negative inflation (i.e. deflation) has a lot of negative effects on the economy. The way the Fed manages inflation is by giving money to banks, which then loan it out to either businesses (which then invest it and create jobs for ordinary people) or speculators (who then use it to play the stock market and become extremely rich). This system is very popular with spectators, but it's been a long time since it worked very well for ordinary people.

If we had basic income, though, we would have another option for managing inflation. When the inflation rate is too low, instead of just giving a bunch of money to the banks, we could give some money to the banks and use the rest to increase the basic income. When the inflation rate starts getting high, we could lower it by giving less money to the banks and freezing the basic income (which would reduce it in real terms, but wouldn't take money out of people's paychecks). With this kind of balanced economic policy, we might see more balanced economic growth, in which both ordinary people and speculators do well, instead of what we currently have, which is speculators getting rich and ordinary people struggling to pay rent.

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