Giving $10,000 to Each Adult American Would Cost 13% of GDP

(p. A2) Imagine you’re president and Congress gives you a huge chunk of money to spend as you wish. Instead of cutting taxes or splashing out more on health care, infrastructure and defense, why not send a check to every adult?
That’s the essence of universal basic income, a centuries-old idea now enjoying a revival across the political spectrum.
. . .
To send every American adult $10,000 a year would cost $2.4 trillion, or 13% of gross domestic product. Junking the current safety net wouldn’t come close to paying for this: Scrapping income support for the poor, disabled and unemployed would save just $500 billion. Get rid of health care for the poor (mostly Medicaid), and the savings rise to only $900 billion. Getting rid of Medicare and Social Security would balance the costs, but that would leave the average retiree considerably worse off–politically (and ethically) a nonstarter.

For the full commentary, see:
Ip, Greg. “CAPITAL ACCOUNT; Payout Proposal Ignores Labor Needs.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., July 14, 2016): A2.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 13, 2016, and has the title “CAPITAL ACCOUNT; Revival of Universal Basic Income Proposal Ignores Needs of Labor Force.”)

One thought on “Giving $10,000 to Each Adult American Would Cost 13% of GDP”

  1. actually, if every adult spent the $10,000 that was given to them, it would add about 13% to GDP (less any inflation adjustment)
    furthermore, as the US is the creator of its own currency, there would be no need to “pay for” such a citizen bonus…we certainly managed to conjure up trillions of dollars to bail out the banks a few years back without “paying for it”; we could just as easily do the same for this case..

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