Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Universal Basic Income Gets a Reality Check

Bob Wilson

This week it was announced that Finland, which had launched an experiment deploying “Universal Basic Income,” is stopping the project. Universal Basic Income, or UBI, is the socialistic dream of those who envision a more equal world by guaranteeing a base salary for everyone, regardless of whether they work or not. Finland has been testing that program and seems to have discovered that handing out money without restrictions is somewhat expensive. It doesn’t seem to work. And surprisingly, neither do the people receiving UBI.

Wow. Am I surprised at that. No one could have seen that coming.

Interestingly, Finland seems to be reversing course, and will now be increasing its requirements for welfare payments. According to the New York Times, Finland is “adopting rules that threaten to cut benefits for jobless people unless they actively look for work or engage in job training.”

And we were so close to achieving a socialistic nirvana. Between that and the stunning success we are witnessing in Venezuela, the socialists of the world would have really been on a roll. If only their policies would actually work. For those who are so inclined, they should not yet give up hope. Other areas are still looking into this concept, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Ontario, the Netherlands and Kenya.

I certainly wish them luck in their future endeavors.

The NYT article contained a quote that really hit me as ludicrous. It made the observation that, “For centuries, thinkers across the ideological spectrum have embraced the notion of basic income.”

No, they haven’t. Dreamers may have embraced it, but true thinkers understand the inherent conflicts and issues with confiscatory policies and unfettered wealth redistribution. Again, just ask our extraordinarily successful friends in oil rich Venezuela, who have resorted to rummaging through landfills and eating zoo animals to stay alive. UBI proponents today cite robotics and automation in the driving need to guarantee a basic income for all. I am not sure what excuse they used centuries ago, other than, “I think, therefore someone owes me an income.” As British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

As shocking as it is that paying people to do nothing promotes more “do nothing,” there are those who will continue to insist that they can do better with your hard-earned dollars than you can. But, for the moment, I wouldn’t waste a lot of time running to the mailbox to see if your UBI check has arrived. We all would be advised to hang on to our day jobs just a bit longer.

After all, someone’s got to pay for these hair brained schemes.