Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Welfare

Andrew Yang is Playing Hide and Seek With the Left Press

When a politician is caught out for taking the wrong position or constructing their proposals poorly, they often try to cover their tracks. If they change what’s on their website or in their policy white paper and remove all traces of the previous language, most voters will never know they’ve flip-flopped. Andrew Yang does this in an especially flagrant way. It’s a game of hide and seek. Let me give you two examples. Read the rest of this entry »

Andrew Yang’s Basic Income is Stealth Welfare Reform

When I first heard Andrew Yang was running on a UBI platform, I thought he was running to popularise universal basic income as a policy option for the future. It has become increasingly clear, however, that Yang thinks he is a real presidential candidate and that his UBI is for now, not later. The thing is, UBI is traditionally marketed as a post-work policy. The point of UBI has always been to give every citizen a large enough basic income to give them a real choice about whether or not they take a job. This levels the playing field between employers and employees, forcing employers to offer people more substantial inducements to get them to work. But it’s increasingly clear that this is not what his UBI is for. Its purpose is more sinister–it is a vehicle for legitimating benefits cuts for the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society.

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Universal Basic Income Isn’t About Now–It’s About Later

In reading the recent piece by Daniel Zamora at Jacobin and some of the reactions to it, I’ve been struck by how limited the conversation about universal basic income (UBI) is. For the uninitiated, UBI is fairly straightforward–instead of having social programs like welfare or food stamps which people qualify for on the the grounds that they fall below some income threshold, UBI gives everyone a set minimum income. UBI has fans and detractors across the political spectrum because depending on how it’s constructed it could be made to do very different things. Some on the right want to use it to reform welfare and some of the left want to use it to make work optional. Some in both camps want to use it to help workers displaced by automation or outsourcing. The key problem with the conversation is that it tends to be based around whether we could or should implement UBI now, or very soon. This misunderstands what makes UBI interesting. Properly understood, UBI is not about today. It’s about capitalism’s endgame–what the world looks like when capitalism truly exhausts itself.

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13 Terrible Tory Counterarguments

A few days ago, I wrote a post called Britain: For the Love of God, Please Stop David Cameron. I didn’t expect much out of it, because my usual audience is predominately American, and many Americans take little interest in the British elections. So I was pleasantly surprised when it went semi-viral in the UK, quickly becoming the most popular post I have written. Naturally, with a larger audience comes more critical (and sometimes just aggressively hostile) comments, and my usual policy of responding to every critical or interesting comment I receive is increasingly no longer practical. So instead, I’ve decided to write this all-purpose response to the most common bad critiques I’ve seen levied at my post. If you’re one of the wonderful people who read my post and deemed it worth sharing, I hope that this post will help you deal with any Tory supporters you may run across who may try to give you grief about it. So let’s get started.

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Candidate Evaluations: Hillary Clinton

The inevitable has happened–Hillary Clinton has announced that she’s running for president. And so it’s once again time to continue my Candidate Evaluations series, where we examine a candidate’s background, policy history, and explicit statements in an attempt to figure out whether the candidate would actually be any good at being president. Too often, no one bothers to ask these question, focusing instead on electability or likability. So far, we’ve covered Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, neither of which did especially well. Will Hillary Clinton fare any better?

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