Fusion: Give People Free Money Instead of Jobs

They did it. Fusion has officially gone off the deep end.  Making a case for just giving everyone free money so that they don’t have to work (and I quote) “bulls**t jobs” any longer? Are you kidding me?

This isn’t even left-wing anymore, this is something much, much worse. It’s like a fantasy dream-land where Bernie Sanders is President, the planet is just one big safe space, Donald Trump never happened, nobody has a brain, and gender neutral bathrooms are available for everyone (yay!).

Does Fusion still have an editor? Seriously. How does something like this get out there? “Hey guys, I’m going to write an article about giving everyone free money!” “Yeah, ok, that sounds like a great idea!”

I’d be willing to bet that is more or less exactly how that conversation went.

The author of the article, Rutger Bregman, just released a book titled (and I’m not making this up): “Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-hour Workweek” and it currently ranks #12,785 on Amazon’s bestselling books and has 5-stars based off one review (so yeah, kind of a big deal).

The Dutch edition of the book, according to an editorial review on Amazon, “became a national bestseller and sparked a basic income movement that soon made international headlines.”

The author goes on to list a couple reasons as to why we should buy what he’s selling – because he’s a genius and can’t understand why everyone else isn’t jumping on the free money bandwagon. In doing so, he throws out probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read on Fusion (and that’s saying a lot) “It’s difficult to imagine that we’ll ever be able to shake off the dogma that if you want money, you have to work for it.” The man actually compared working hard for your money to a form of dogma.

Unbelievable.

But just as currency and prices are necessary elements of a successful free market system (prices rise because the amount demanded exceeds the amount supplied at existing prices, prices fall because the amount supplied exceeds the amount demanded at existing prices) the labor and innovation of individuals is also necessary in order to generate the wealth that must be created so that supply of products and services keep up with the needs of entire societies. Otherwise, see Venezuela and every other nation that tried socialism to disastrous results.

By reducing the number of productive individuals in society, we increase the burden of productive individuals to a point that a decent quality of life for the vast majority becomes unsustainable. These are basic economic rules, but Fusion doesn’t seem to care for rational and reasonable public policy. As the economist Thomas Sowell put it “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

The author strikes at the idea of welfare as nefarious when he underscores, “The third reason we need a basic income is that it would pull the plug on a welfare system that has devolved into a perverse behemoth of control and humiliation.”

Yet, the concept of free cash without accountability would make welfare seem tame – inducing idleness, lack of innovation would slowly but surely destroy a person’s self-worth and dignity.

Mark Stein said it best, “When it comes to welfare, it’s not so much about the wasted money, it’s about the wasted lives.”

Below are excerpts from the April 26, 2016 Fusion article “Why free money beats bull**** jobs”

RUTGER BREGMAN, AUTHOR: The universal basic income is an idea whose time has come. And, slowly but surely, it is converting members of the tech elite. It’s a radical idea: everyone should get an unconditional, monthly allowance, whether you’re rich or poor, old or young, overworked or out of work. An allowance that should be enough to live on, and how you spend it is up to you. The only condition, as such, it that you have a pulse.

To begin with, basic income would give us all genuine freedom. Nowadays, numerous people are forced to spend their entire working lives doing jobs they consider to be pointless. Jobs like telemarketer, HR manager, social media strategist, PR advisor, and a whole host of administrative positions at hospitals, universities, and government offices. “Bullshit jobs,” the anthropologist David Graeber calls them. They’re the jobs that even the people doing them admit are, in essence, superfluous.

What is more, the very reason we don’t have personal robo-butlers and flying cars yet may be precisely because we don’t have a basic income. How many brilliant would-be entrepreneurs, inventors, and musicians are at this very moment flipping hamburgers or driving for Uber? And imagine just how much progress we’ve missed out on because thousands of bright minds have frittered away their time dreaming up hypercomplex financial products that are ultimately only destructive.

The second argument for free cash is that it would wipe out poverty once and for all.

The third reason we need a basic income is that it would pull the plug on a welfare system that has devolved into a perverse behemoth of control and humiliation.

The welfare state, which should foster people’s sense of security and pride, has degenerated into a system of suspicion and shame. It is a grotesque pact between right and left.

These days, the idea of a basic income for all Americans is as unthinkable as women’s suffrage and equal rights for racial minorities was in the past. It’s difficult to imagine that we’ll ever be able to shake off the dogma that if you want money, you have to work for it.

And yet, the inability to imagine a world in which things are different is only evidence of a poor imagination, not of the impossibility of change. Basic income remains a tremendous idea. We don’t have to wait for robots or for Silicon Valley. If there’s one economic reform that everyone who has been getting the short end of the economic stick these past 40 years – that is, practically everyone – should be championing, it’s universal basic income.

MRC Latino Fusion

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