I thought I'd muscle in on Mungo's turf and post about a guaranteed income for all Americans.
In principle, I'm in favor. Shall we say $12,000 / year for every American 18 and over?
But as always, the devil is in the details.
(1) Is this going to add to our current mish-mash of "safety net" programs or replace it?
Obviously, I'd like to see it replace the current set of arrangements. I would think many libertarians would love this. Reduce paternalism, shrink the size of the state, what's not to like? If we used it to replace the current system, it wouldn't even be all that expensive. If we also phased out social security, we could up the annual guaranteed number to maybe $16,000 or so?
(2) Can a guaranteed income be compatible with significantly increased immigration?
In other words, if we allow more immigration must we restrict the guaranteed income program only to citizens for fear that masses of people would show up just to collect the 12 large and sit on their butts?
But I think there is a fundamental unfairness of collecting taxes from people to pay for a "universal" program that excludes them.
And, even if we did limit it to citizens, would we still fear that masses of people would show up, wait to become citizens, and then collect the 12 dimes and sit on their butts?
We could only allow increased immigration for higher skilled immigrants for whom $12,000 would not be a magnet, but that really reduces the incredible poverty-fighting power of allowing increased numbers of low-skilled immigrants.
If a guaranteed income program was an addition to existing safety net programs and required choking off immigration, I am not sure it would be worthwhile, no matter how attractive it is to me in the abstract.