This is what universal basic income looks like - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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This is what universal basic income looks like

For the past four months, America has taken part in a grand experiment. Unemployed Americans have received an additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance.

It’s our nation’s sudden and accidental leap into universal basic income, an idea that has been pushed by many thought leaders from the Left, including former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who ran on the platform of giving a $1,000 monthly check for every man and woman over the age of 18, all paid for by companies that would owe a new tax to the federal government.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook and one of the most influential persons in the Western world, supports UBI, as it is known.

Proponents say that a universal basic income would take the stigma out of getting a government check, and Zuckerberg said that such a program would “make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

We’ve now outdone Yang’s aspirational basic income by more than double, and we see the results. The “new ideas” aren’t pretty.

First, employers are struggling to entice people back to the workforce. With the $600 many receive as relief checks in addition to the basic unemployment insurance checks they are entitled to, many now admit they’re making more money staying home.

One business owner in Anchorage says that one of her drivers asked her to lay him off because he could make plenty of money if she did, and have a nice summer to fish the rivers. She refused, because as a waste disposal company, she provides a regulated service and is not allowed to stop picking up the garbage just because her workers don’t want to drive their routes.

But a large number of laid off workers are indeed bringing in nearly $1,000 a week in combined cash benefits, and they qualify for free health care under Obamacare, while federal and local moratoriums on evictions are still in place, and mortgage companies are under orders to allow forbearance.

It’s easy to live a modest life in most places in America with such government largesse. One could, of course, use the time to take online classes, learn new skills, and prepare for a recovered economy by positioning oneself for a fresh start in one’s career.

Unfortunately, there’s no indication that some Americans have used their down time in any productive or proactive way, although there may be a few more better-tended vegetable gardens in the suburbs.

Some in the Northwest liberal strongholds are reaching new skill levels in Fortnite Battle Royale during the day, and then donning homemade battle gear to engage in street revolution cosplay at night — all paid for by the U.S. Treasury, which just keeps printing the money and sending it in the mail.

And that brings us to the second unintended consequence: The wave of social unrest that has swept our cities. The violent-but-localized Black Lives Matter protests quickly spawned widespread BLM-Antifa riots, the defacing of public and private property, looting, and the destruction of cultural and education monuments.

In Portland and Seattle, a revolution is underway against what are the most tolerant governments in the world. Even the mayors of Portland and Seattle are now under attack by the Left for not being “enough.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle, who chided the president for not appreciating democracy, found her own multi-million-dollar home in a gated community surrounded by protesters from the Democratic Socialists of America. She called for police protection of her property.

Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland joined a violent protest against the federal government and found himself tear gassed, but then heckled by his fellow protesters, who said he was not doing enough to resist federal intervention in Portland. Federal officers had been sent there to protect the federal courthouse, which has been under siege for 56 days, as rioters attempt to raze it on a near-nightly basis.

Over the past two days, two black Americans who support President Donald Trump have been attacked — one murdered and one stabbed. Americans who support the president are afraid to put “Trump” signs on their lawns, for fear their homes will be torched. Political radicals have struck such fear into homeowners that they are now afraid to post an American flag in front of their homes — the radicals see that as a symbol of hate.

Third, crime in our cities has spiked as mayors stopped supporting law enforcement and started supporting the “defund the police” platform of Black Lives Matter. Violent crime, robberies, rape — the numbers are skyrocketing in urban centers. In New York, the homicide rate for the first half of the year is up 23 percent over 2019, while Chicago murders are up 39 percent over last year, and Los Angeles is experiencing a 250 percent jump in homicides this summer.

The societal devolution is paid for by this new universal basic income, that no-strings-attached payment to those who now have no incentive to work and who are getting into more than mischief and mayhem. Their basic needs met, they are now tearing the fabric of the productive society that supports them.

Alaska has had a form of universal basic income for decades with the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, the royalty share from the oil wealth of the North Slope. This year, it equated to a mere $82 a month, and yet it is lauded by proponents of universal basic income as the model for the nation.

It is not a model to replicate. The Alaska Permanent Fund dividend has caused more unhappiness and strife in Alaska in recent years because state legislators have siphoned off some of the dividend that statutorily belonged to the people and used it to pay for government services that are used only by half of the people.

The lesson of the Alaska Permanent Fund is that what government gives, government can also take away.

UBI doesn’t yield happier, more creative, or more productive people. We’ve seen what it does — it pays for the socialist, possibly communist revolution. Our government prints more money daily and distributes it to Biden voters who are burning and looting their way to the November election.

We are paying for the revolution. The bill just won’t come due until after Nov. 3.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Good synopsis of our current situation. God Bless America, because we need His divine blessings today more than ever before in our lifetimes.

  • Anyone who still thinks our nation’s sudden leap into universal basic income is accidental is either a liar or incapable of discernment.

    • Because incapable of discernment my be a little harsh, I’ll modify that to being naive.

  • There is no naivety or discernment it’s a large group of stupid people that are society raised into socialism we are one of the most undereducated and narcissistic country on earth. Lucifer is loving the United States of stupidity because we no longer have real American spirit and balls to stand up against our government. They have taught us to be afraid of them and any little flu virus that comes out. I hear people say they believe in God but sit in their homes doing nothing to put him out there in public, like California’s mandate — no singing in church or synagogue. Where the hell are the believers to stand up to the government? Why isn’t there a multi-million-man march happening with the so called people of G-D? I hear noise but no action. I make sure when I go out I’m carrying my firearm openly because it’s my right. I wear my kipa or yamica to let everyone know that I’m a practicing Jew without fear of some bureaucrat telling me what I can or can’t do. We must at all costs put G-D first and then let the world see us out in the streets celebrating His name and letting the evil ones know we don’t fear them. Please let’s do this together. If we don’t, we lose everything — freedom and our lives.

    • I’m still struggling with how God has infinite powers yet he’s also really bad with money and needs mine every danged weekend.

      Now someone with God on his side needs to open carry? Is it just you guys that killed Jesus? Does Lucifer really prefer Americans with testicles? It sounds like you are pretty certain about that. I’m on the fence. I’m pretty sure I dated Satan’s sister and she didn’t have them but He likely enjoyed her company, testicular deficit and all.

  • Please do not forget that the “free” money is being “created” by borrowing trillions from future generations and with a massive devaluation of our currency. Yes, we only “owe the money to ourselves” but we are squandering the economic futures of our children and grandchildren. If we continue on this path we will soon resemble Peronist Argentina or the current Venezuela under Komrade Maduro.

    And BTW – All lives matter. If this statement causes a problem for someone, that is their problem, not mine.

  • I disagree and believe the PUA is helping millions of families during this horrible time, if you cut their money off then you’re sending them into the streets. Once we have this virus or the politics dictating public policy using the virus, under control then we can lower or eliminate these payments. To suddenly cut them off at this stage is going to leave a lot of Americans in a lurch and I guarantee you that it will come back to haunt The Republicans in the election, it might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Trust me I am no fan of liberals, welfare or wasting public funds….i have seen lots of this when I worked in finance with Chase and Wells Fargo over the years. Then again during this pandemic, but most of it has been towards corporations or municipalities. I certainly don’t see families getting rich, so stop the BS, extend the PUA and give families some dignity instead of expecting them to drain their savings, and pawn their valuables before finally living in their cars.

    • Robert,
      I appreciate your opinion. I have one a little different than yours. I wholeheartedly agree that the right thing for the government to do is help families and small businesses stay afloat and survive through the current difficulties. What I have a problem with is the multi-million/billion dollar corporations, banks, groups, individuals, and unworthy politically patronizing programs receiving billions, while struggling families, many that do not qualify for “unemployment” assist, receive nothing except the one check (provided your taxes are paid up). That’s an insult to the very people who must ‘pay the fiddler’. The state receives billions. The cities receive multiples of millions. What the ‘common’ tax payer receives is receipt of larger utility bills, unpayable rent or mortgage, less food, “mandate” upon mandate, much less freedom, loss of freedom of speech and religion, with no voice in the political arena. Their ‘representatives’ are their ‘voice’ but many of those are fakes, liars and socialists with an anti-American/Alaskan, especially anti-Christian agenda. Who pays for the largesse and the damage caused to our communities, states and Country? It won’t be the “big boys”. This “free” stuff isn’t free. The people will pay for generations with blood, sweat and tears. The gov’t should not be paying anyone more for doing nothing than they make working. Help, yes. What is happening, no. Get the gov’t out of the “scamdemic” business and let people work for a living. Working was a way of life before January, 2020. Now “freebies” have been substituted for work ethic and an earned paycheck.

  • Linking the PFD to some notion of what has happened with the Federal Gov’t Bailout to the COVID disaster is truly remarkable… But it does show your cont’d commitment to eliminate the Alaskan’s annual Dividend. In that you have joined the wealthy liberals who find the Dividends too attractive to pass up. In reality it is the strong conservatives who back the PFD distribution to the individual owners of the Fund and resources of our State, the People of Alaska. So, Suzanne Downing, you know what side your bread is buttered on, but your arguments are specious. I would call this “yellow” journalism…

    • I’ve read your attempt at a pithy criticism twice and am guessing you intended to make a point beyond deriding Ms. Downing.

      Is it that you feel you’re entitled to a teat at the money udder? You’re not a natural Alaskan so your connection to the PFD is parasitic regardless, cast aside naked intolerance and selfish ignorance for a moment and share your actual point with us.

      Help us understand how supporting societal leeches with unearned money produces a better and more productive Alaskan. Many have rec’d @ $40k over the lifetime of the program and outside of Barb Melland and a few others most of that money has been squandered on durable goods that now reside in the landfill. Bonus points for omitting any references to “wealthy liberals”, “yellow journalism” and other poorly considered remarks. Try to stay focused here, Andy.

  • There are no words to describe how shocked I was to read this. I am still flabbergasted. And sad.
    I got the first dividend checks issued for me and the kids in 1981.
    For a single mom in the poverty lane, those checks were a Godsend that kept our heads above water, sometimes only at chin level.
    No Hawaii trips, tattoos, those checks bought school clothes/supplies, winter wear, covered Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, beater with a heater repairs/replacements, stocking up on essentials.

    I shudder to think how much harder our lives would have been without those checks.
    The government TAKES AND TAKES. Everything is taxed. Can’t believe they haven’t figured out how to tax breathing, yet. So much for each breath.
    Why begrudge when the government for the first time in my life actually gives something back?

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