Replace Safety Net With UBI

Solution To Poverty


Universal Basic Income (UBI) would solve involuntary poverty, encourage work, boost the likelihood of retiring comfortably and avoid breaking the national bank.      –Charles Murray, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

What if every American were government-provided disposable cash, a “universal basic income,” and welfare programs were eliminated?  This is a concept being researched in the U.S. and being experimented with in some European countries.  It is viewed as a potential alternative to the existing social safety net of welfare and other “money transfer” programs.

Responses are mixed–a great thing or a disaster.  Murray, quoted above, and author of In Our Hands: A Plan To Replace the Welfare State, proposes dispensing with all money-transfer programs, including programs like Social Security and Medicare, in favor of a roughly $13,000 annual payment (UBI), divided into monthly electronic deposits for adults.  He would hold back about $3,000 to buy health insurance, with the remaining $10,000 disposable income.

The UBI idea isn’t to be the sole income for an individual or family.  It obviously falls short.  It would be a supplement to employment to about guarantee individuals wouldn’t be impoverished. Proposed is a small graduated income tax on earnings between $30,000-$60,000, thus creating no disincentive to work, countering the notion of a “handout.”  All Americans would get the same UBI, because it’s intended to replace not only welfare programs, but Social Security and Medicare coverage.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend is the closest “universal” income program in America.  It was established to provide all Alaskans get some personal benefit from the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System.  Since 1982, annual payments to all residents who have lived there the full year, have ranged from $300 to over $2,000 a year.  Citizens benefit equally.  Murray’s UBI proposal could “revitalize American civil society.”  All individuals could have more choice and responsibility.

Choice and responsibility are results of the primary education provided by Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center.  Formerly unsuccessful public high schoolers, immigrants and refugees, choose to earn their high school diploma and qualify for privately funded applied tech and college scholarships for the opportunity to advance to more personal responsibility.