(p. A13) The concept of a universal basic income, or UBI, has become part of the moral armor of Silicon Valley moguls who want a socially conscious defense against the charge that technology is making humanity obsolete.
. . .
We need policies that encourage job creation and working, not policies that pay people not to work.
In the mid-1960s, about 5% of men aged 25 to 54 were jobless. For 40 years that share has risen, and for much of the past decade the rate has remained over 15%. Suicide, divorce and opioid abuse are all associated with nonemployment, and many facts suggest that the misery of joblessness is far worse than that of a low-paying job. According to the most recent data, only 7% of working men in households earning less than $35,000 report being dissatisfied with their lives. But that share soars to 18% among the nonemployed of all incomes. This suggests that promoting employment is more important than reducing inequality.
. . . 50 years of evidence about labor supply in the U.S. suggests that giving people money will lead them to work less.
The Negative Income Tax experiments of the 1970s–when poorer households in a number of states received direct cash payments to keep them at a minimum income–are the closest America has come to a UBI. But they did not show “minimal impact on work,” as Mr. Yang suggests. Rather, they produced a quite significant work-hours reduction of between 5% and 25%, as well as “employment rate reductions . . . from about 1 to 10 percentage points,” according to one capable study.
For the full review, see:
Edward Glaeser. “‘BOOKSHELF; ‘Give People Money’ and ‘The War on Normal People’ Review: The Cure for Poverty? A guaranteed income does nothing to address the misery of joblessness, nor the associated plagues of divorce, opioid abuse and suicide.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, July 10, 2018): A13.
(Note: first two ellipses added; third ellipsis in original.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date July 9, 2018, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; ‘Give People Money’ and ‘The War on Normal People’ Review: The Cure for Poverty? A guaranteed income does nothing to address the misery of joblessness, nor the associated plagues of divorce, opioid abuse and suicide.”)