A 2% Financial Wealth Tax Could Provide a $12,000 Annual Income to Every
-by Paul Buchheit
It’s not hard to envision the benefits in work opportunities, stress reduction, child
care, entrepreneurial activity, and artistic pursuits for American households with an extra $1,000 per month. It’s also very easy to justify a financial wealth tax, given that the dramatic stock
market surge in recent years is largely due to an unprecedented degree of technological and financial productivity that derives from the work efforts and taxes of ALL Americans. A 2% annual tax on
financial wealth is a small price to pay for the great fortunes bestowed on the most fortunate Americans. (Remember: Just five men own almost as much wealth as half the world’s population.)
The reasons? Careful analysis reveals a number of excellent arguments for the
implementation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
1. Our Jobs are
A 2013 Oxford study determined that nearly HALF of American jobs are at risk of being replaced by computers,
AI, and robots. Society simply can’t keep up with technology. As for the skeptics who cite the Industrial Revolution and its job-enhancing aftermath (which actually took 60
years to develop), the McKinsey Global Institute says that society is being transformed at a pace “ten times faster and at 300 times the
scale” of the radical changes of two hundred years ago.
2. Half of America is Stressed Out or Sick
Half of Americans are in or near poverty, unable to meet emergency expenses, living from paycheck to
paycheck, and getting physically and emotionally ill because of it. Numerous UBI experiments have led to increased well-being for their participants. A guaranteed income reduces the debilitating effects of inequality. As one recipient put it, “It takes me out of
depression… I feel more sociable.”
3. Children Need Our Help
This could be the best reason for monthly household stipends. Parents, especially
mothers, are unable to work outside the home because of the all-important need to care for their children. Because
we currently lack a UBI, more and more children are facing hunger and health problems and educational
4. We Need More Entrepreneurs
A sudden influx of $12,000 per year for 126 million households will
greatly stimulate the economy, potentially allowing millions of Americans to TAKE RISKS that could lead to new forms of innovation and productivity.
Perhaps most significantly, a guaranteed income could relieve some of the pressure on
our newest generation of young adults, who are deep in debt, underemployed, increasingly unable to live on their own, and ill-positioned to take the entrepreneurial chances that are needed to spur
innovative business growth. No other group of Americans could make more productive use of an immediate boost in income.
5. We Need the Arts and Sciences
A recent Gallup poll found that nearly 70% of workers don’t feel ‘engaged’ (enthusiastic and committed) in their
jobs. The work chosen by UBI recipients could unleash artistic talents and
creative impulses that have been suppressed by personal financial concerns, leading, very possibly, to a repeat of the 1930s, when the Works Progress Administration hired thousands of artists and
actors and musicians to help sustain the cultural needs of the nation.
Also see: Overwhelming Evidence that a ‘Guaranteed
Basic Income’ Will Work
The usual uninformed (and condescending) opposing argument is that UBI recipients will waste the money, spending it on alcohol and drugs and
other ‘temptation’ goods. Not true. Studies from the World Bank and
the Brooks World Poverty Institute found that money going to poor families is used primarily for essential needs, and that the recipients experience greater
physical and mental well-being as a result of their increased incomes. Other arguments against the workability of the UBI are countered by the many successful experiments conducted in the present and
recent past: Finland, Canada, Netherlands, Kenya, India, Great Britain, Uganda, Namibia, and in the U.S. in Alaska and