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We Are All Disabled

My first post mentioned that the most remarkable thing about basic income is that it’s actually possible for us to hand out money to people. Interestingly, what makes basic income possible is also what makes it possible for us to pay out other cash benefits. Namely, the economy has sufficient resources to produce what people will buy with the money. In March of 2013, This American Life aired an episode about the increasing number of Americans receiving federal disability benefits instead of working.

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Tax Revenue Is Meaningless

Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Imagine that the government is a black box whose internal workings are completely opaque to us. We know that this black box can add money to the economy through spending or remove money from the economy through taxation. But we have no idea why the government is administering fiscal policy (spending and taxing) the way it is. This thought experiment allows us to consider the effects of fiscal policy without becoming distracted by its underlying politics.

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How I Cracked the Code on Basic Income

I live my life the way a procrastinator browses Wikipedia. Sometimes that literally means spending hours perusing Wikipedia. More generally, I have a compulsion to understand how things work and I’m at my best when I allow myself to pull on interesting threads to see what unravels. My background is in software development, but for the better part of the past decade I’ve been pulling on threads in economics. I came up with the idea for basic income in 2011 when it occurred to me that eliminating intellectual property laws would eliminate a large number of jobs without actually damaging the productive capacity of the economy.

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