My Case for Universal Basic Income (i.e. The Andrew Yang Plan)

Andrew Yang is proposing providing a Universal Basic Income funded primarily by a value added tax (i.e. a tax that makes everything more expensive). For an average earner with average spending, the increase in prices will roughly offset the amount of money received. For a high earner with high spending, the increase in prices will cost them more money than what they will receive from the government. And for low earners with low spending, they will receive more money from the government than they will have to pay through increased prices. Note that even though the 2018 median per capita income was $33706, mean was $50,413, so if you make less than $50k a year you will probably see financial benefit from the Yang plan.

Aside from that, my #1 favorite reason for this plan is that it creates a “rock bottom” that is still livable. Mentally ill homeless people generally do not receive social security disability checks from the government because of the bureaucracy which intentionally makes it difficult to get said checks. There is a process where a psychiatrist has to convince a disability determination officer that the person in question is totally disabled (i.e. not able to do any job in the economy) due to mental illness. It’s actually a fairly difficult process – there is a severe lack of psychiatrists, many mentally ill people (especially those exhibiting manic symptoms) don’t believe that they are crazy, the process is slow and beauraucratic, and the majority of applications are rejected. The crazy homeless people you see on the street generally aren’t receiving any money from the government (with the exception of possibly food stamps, but in some areas it’s impossible to get food stamps without working, and mentally ill homeless people generally fall into the crack where they can’t work and also can’t get disability checks). Basically the current “rock bottom” that exists is sleeping on a bench begging on the street for money to buy food. A universal basic income will provide a rock bottom that is a little higher than that, reducing human suffering. Even a small universal basic income (too small to cover the cost of rent) would allow people to live more comfortably, for example by allowing them to get a rain proof tent, decent food (most grocery store food requires cooking and homeless people don’t have a kitchen), a gym membership which they can use to shower in the locker rooms, etc.

My #2 reason for the Yang plan is that it would ever so slightly deter illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants wouldn’t have the documentation necessary to get government benefits, so they wouldn’t receive UBI checks. What they would get if the came over illegally is higher prices through the value added tax which is necessary to raise money for universal basic income. Basically, the UBI with the accompanying VAT would make it less desirable for people from poor countries to come here illegally because it wouldn’t be as much of an improvement for them in terms of quality of life.

My #3 reason is the practicality of this progressive tax (as opposed to the impracticality of the wealth tax that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are proposing). The VAT with UBI will cause high spenders to pay more in taxes, while giving more money to people who spend less. In that sense it is a progressive tax. In addition, as has been shown through Alaska’s “oil checks“, repealing cash that people expect to receive from the government is “politically suicidal”, so politicians don’t do it. In contrast, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have proposed an annual wealth tax on total wealth, which in the majority of cases does get repealed and also has serious problems. A wealth tax is basically an estate tax, but broken up into annual chunks and applied to people who are still alive. The estate tax has been a total failure – “the estate tax raised $8.5 billion in 2012 — less than 1% of the $1.2 trillion inherited that year. Only 1 out of every 700 deaths results in paying the federal estate tax today.” In addition it’s not uncommon for rich people to take measures to avoid the estate tax, as they will do with the wealth tax. History has shown that the wealth tax raises far less money than expected, causes a “capital flight” (where people leave the country to avoid it or cancel plans to become citizens so they will never have to pay it), it usually gets repealed, and is messy to implement due to the speculative and rough values of certain forms of wealth like certain businesses. For this reason the VAT which Andrew Yang is proposing (along with ending the favorable tax treatment for capital gains/carried interest) is a more practical tax plan than the wealth tax that Bernie and Warren are proposing.

Some conservatives think that a Universal Basic Income will disincentivize people from working, but in practice “universal income study finds money for nothing won’t make us work less“. People will still work if they get checks from the government. All in all the positives outweigh the benefits and I am in favor of the Universal Basic Income plan.

“A Redistribution of Wealth” or “Libertarian Communism” by John Reed

In a previous article, I talked about how all people are created equal. I will go further and say that all people are equal, although some people have more money than others. I will not fight capitalism because I don’t believe that is necessary. I will say though that people should receive from their government what they need to succeed in life (such as an education and healthcare).

In the USSR, they had this sort of pipe dream of Communism where the government owned everything and gave everyone a job. I don’t believe that is necessary in order to establish that all people are equal (although they have different amounts of wealth). I don’t believe in cash handouts – for example there are countless tragedy stories about lottery winners, and people can just waste their winnings. People don’t need cash – they need things that can be purchased with cash, like an education. Ultimately I envision a global redistribution of wealth such that every person gets what they need to succeed in life, but no more. Every person receives an education and healthcare. Every person receives a “safety net” to catch them after they fall in life – after catastrophic failure. Ultimately, the human race is one species – one race, and there is one Earth, and we are all one team.

Imagine four different versions of me. Version #1 has no money and no wealth and continues on that trajectory, Version #2 has no money and no wealth but becomes wealthy, Version #3 has plenty of money and wealth and continues in that trajectory, and Version #4 has plenty of money and wealth but becomes poor and wealth-less. Regardless of which one I am, I deserve the basics. We are all created equal. Fundamentally, when I am born, I don’t know if I am going to be a person who makes a fortune or is constantly poor, but either way I should get support. Some people have a very supportive or wealthy family, and that is great, but not everyone does. The people who don’t should receive that support from the government. For example, not everyone has parents who are willing and able to pay for higher education or re-education. But everyone should have those sorts of opportunities. That is why I envision a massive transfer of wealth (i.e. taxpayer dollar spending) that does not significantly interfere with capitalism and that does not naturally interfere with free trade or the conducting of business transactions.

I envision a redistribution of wealth. For example, something like Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax that takes money out of billionaire families and puts it into the hands of working families for things like childcare. Simply put, just because someone is born with parents who have a lot of wealth doesn’t mean that they deserve or ought to have lots of wealth. That being said, even if someone is born to parents who don’t have a lot of wealth (or who don’t have supportive parents), they still deserve support. Morally, there ought to be this sort of redistribution so that all people on Earth are supported. We are one people, one team.

I call this Libertarian Communism because it seeks to keep government as small as possible and protect freedom while simultaneously eliminating class barriers and giving all people what they need. Not socialism. Even billionaires like Bill Gates have realized how unequal things are and put their money into charitable causes, like for example fighting malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, one of the best ways to make sure that people are supported is to raise the status of women. When women make money, the entire family is uplifted. Just another reason to have a woman president like Elizabeth Warren.

My Politics: Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, and Conservativism

Communism and socialism are on the political left while capitalism and conservativism are on the political right. Socialism and capitalism are fundamentally at odds with one another, but so are communism and conservativism. Allow me to explain.

A socialist institution is owned and operated by the government for the benefit of the voters while a capitalist institution is owned and operated by the private sector for the benefit of its shareholders. For example, a public library is a socialist institution while a for-profit, publicly traded corporation is a capitalist institution. A given institution can’t be both socialist and capitalist – like there is no such thing as a for profit library that sells shares on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, when a for-profit, publicly traded corporation does something good like for example planting trees, they tend to pick things that they can use to make their company look good in say advertisements – these sorts of charitable corporate things do not replace government services like public schools or hospitals. Socialism versus capitalism is fundamentally about government ownership versus private ownership.

Communism and conservativism are less about government and more about society (i.e. the comm-unity). For example, an extreme Communist in China might notice that the country is over-populated and install a one child policy while an extreme conservative might notice that the book of Genesis says “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” and ban birth control because the Bible says for people to multiply. It is possible to be pro small government and also a social communist just like it is possible to be pro big government and also a social conservative. Communism and capitalism tend not to go together, but it’s not physically impossible for them to go together. For example, China appears to me to be Communist, but with openings for capitalism. I think communism tends to be more secular or atheist (see and Twitter thread ) where as conservativism tends to be more religious, with things coming more from the Bible rather than from science. When secularism goes too far or is corrupted, it can potentially result in bad or cruel science (like and, but hopefully it is based on truth and tempered with some sort of morality or moral judgement. Like I personally try to tell the truth, see good things in the Dali Lama, and am not against The Church (heck, I live in Charlotte, which has a church every two blocks). In my opinion, a church like the Catholic Church should provide moral guidance, and when I look at Pope Francis, I (at the very least) see an effort to provide that.

Going back to talking about government, communism and socialism historically have been associated with one another (ex. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels), but I believe that is possible to have anti-big government (or libertarian) communism, where as it is impossible to have anti-big government socialism. I’m not an expert and to be honest I am winging it, but I think it is possible to be communist and also against the state, or at the very least to try and provide freedoms. Maybe in a perfect world there could be a “stateless society”, but that’s not real. If all people were perfect and nobody ever did anything wrong, there would be no need for rules or laws, but that isn’t reality and there has to be rules and laws, but if that mentality is taken too far you end up with “tyranny in sheep’s clothing”, as Pete Buttigieg described communist China.

I think my notion of communism is more in line with modern China’s communism than with old Russia’s communism, but to be honest I don’t really know what I’m talking about because my specialization is in pre-medicine and computer programming, not in government. But I think Friedrich Engels (who worked with Karl Marx) had this notion of “utopian socialism”:

Although I see the need for some government services such as schools and healthcare (ex. public hospitals), I do not consider myself a Socialist. I see utopian socialism as pie-in-the-sky bullshit. I think that some proposals from communism can be taken without taking all of them, like for example some of these proposals: . My knowledge of government is weak, but I think even the founding fathers were in favor of taxing inheritances to prevent the formation of an “aristocracy” that just sort of lives off their family’s inheritance and passes it down from one generation to the next (which I think was the case in Britain back when the US was a colony). The issue I see with the inheritance tax is that I think rich people will sort of try to get around it, but honestly I’m not an expert in money and wealth management, so I don’t exactly know the way they do that. If I am elected I will get and consult with really good advisors, a good running mate, and delegate to people with more knowledge and wisdom than me, because frankly I can’t be good everything and know everything. To be honest, I think the founding fathers must have had good ideas because if they didn’t their ideas wouldn’t still be the foundation of this country, so I think a sort of combination of ideas can be created, where good ideas are pulled from multiple different places and bad ideas are tossed. Pete Buttigieg graduated with honors in the subject of politics from a top-tier University, so I think he could provide his expertise in this subject if we were running on the same ticket one day.

Please take my opinion here with a grain of salt because government isn’t my area of expertise, but anyway, a Communist catchphrase is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” So for example, each person needs to get enough food to survive, healthcare, and some education (in order to be able to get a job that pays). To each person, these needs (not cash handouts or welfare, but needs) are provided by their country, sort of like an investment into the people and their future well being. From each according to his [or her] ability I interpret as each person contributes to their society or to their country how they can. Different people can contribute in different ways because they have different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and each person can contribute to their society in the field where they have strength in. So for example I am strong in computer programming, so I can contribute by doing computer programming. Maybe someone else is really strong in criminal investigations, so they can contribute by doing that. Maybe one person is a really good mother and they do social work and volunteer, and that’s fine too. Each person contributes to their society, and their society forms a government which makes sure that they (its people) at least get the minimum that they need. No person goes hungry because they don’t have food or dies because they don’t have a doctor. I haven’t actually read The Communist Manifesto, so I am just kind of winging it, but my idea is basically that not everyone has parents that can afford to pay for private education all the way up through say medical school or who can afford to pay for that catastrophic medical, family, or mental health emergency, so the government needs to invest in its people and provide a “safety net”. I believe that there should be a “safety net” that actually works, and that can be proven to actually work in the case of a say a family emergency (like a medical emergency or a serious mental health problem) or an economic crash (like we had back in 2008). Note that government “safety net” does not mean “cash welfare checks from the government”. The USA isn’t Saudi Arabia or Alaska where people get “oil checks”. No cash checks – people waste handouts on stupid stuff and the government is in way too much debt. Former President George W Bush gave everybody a cash rebate check and in the process blew the budget surplus, and frankly I don’t think it actually helped with jobs very much. My mom just deposited her Bush “economic stimulus check” and forgot about it. George Bush was an idiot (just look at this moron announce that the War in Iraq is over back in year 2003) and he should never have been president. Seriously, we should have at least gotten the smart brother, Jeb Bush, instead.

Anyway, going back to the subject of government, I personally don’t believe that each and every person should work for the government. Like in 100% pure socialism, everyone works for the government and the government owns everything. In my opinion, this is literal insanity. There would be no private sector. How would wealth be generated? What about small (and growing) businesses?

Ultimately I consider myself a sort of libertarian communist, not a socialist communist. I like the idea of adding libertarianism to communism because the libertarianism can kind of combat tyranny and big, wasteful, expensive, and inefficient government. My ideology is fundamentally the opposite of old social conservatism, but it is not fundamentally anti-capitalist. Me personally, I am not big on money, but some people are, and good for them. I personally don’t want to step on you just because you want to build a small business, and I understand that we need good banks and good bankers (as opposed to people who build a portfolio of “toxic assets” and “Madoff” with money). Switzerland, which has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world, has a lot on money and is apparently very well run financially, and I don’t think that would be possible without their banking. Heck, I live in Charlotte, which is a banking center, and I have nothing against Bank of America (which bought Merrill Lynch after “toxic assets” bankrupted them and unfortunately produced the biggest economic crash since the Great Depression). Money making and science needs to be tempered with some source of morality or moral judgement, or else you end up with “Bernie Madoff” and human experimentation.

In terms of beliefs, I think what I am really pushing against is old social conservatism. For example, if you wanted to ban all birth control and overcrowd the Earth by having each person have ten babies, then I have a problem with you. The Earth simply can’t sustain each person on Earth having ten babies. If for every two people on Earth there were two children and everybody was taken care of, then the population of the Earth would be relatively flat, but that’s not how the population curve looks. The Earth isn’t getting any bigger, and if the population of the Earth multiplies that fast, people are going to kill each other, especially in poorer countries. Ultimately some problems like global warming and international tax havens cross national borders, and I believe there needs to be some sort of universal, Earth-wide governance. There is ultimately one Earth and everyone has to share it – we are not moving to Mars anytime soon.

Going back to my beliefs on people and government, I imagine a sort of classless, “flat” society. For example, I personally like power or status more than money, but I don’t consider myself above homeless people. Like regardless of whether you have a hundred billion dollars or zero dollars, to me everyone is sort of equal in terms of self-worth as a person. Like I sort of separate the person from what they have, and the self-worth of the person is based on the person (as a person), and not on what that person has. Nobody is God (regardless of how big they write their name on a building or how many portraits or statues of themselves they commission). I believe in a person-first or human-first approach (“all people are created equal”), where people are not the same, but their self-worth as a person is, and that’s what really matters. Unlike the way I see things, conservativism tends to be less “flat” socially. Like a conservative might see someone else as above them or below them. Like for example, they might look up to billionaire Donald Trump and down to homeless people. Conservatives also tend to be more religious than I am.

I think something about the notion that people are above you has something to do with it, like because God is traditionally thought of as above ☝️. There is this religious notion of choices that are made by and come down from God. I personally don’t see a God actively doing things on Earth, but that’s just me. Pope Francis may be very religious, but he apparently has no issue with an individual’s absence of religiosity, so I see no reason to have a problem with his plethora of it. I have a big tall ego, am not religious, am not particularly attracted to money (but am to power), and I like urban areas, and these things affect my political leaning. Ultimately, I am on the political left, and I am a registered Democrat, but I will cross party lines if and when I determine that it is necessary and right. I personally think there is too much groupthink or “lemming mentality” within groups of Democrats, and I will try to look for and borrow good ideas from everywhere rather than limit myself or my thinking. I don’t really know what the word is to describe my political beliefs, but at the time of writing I would describe it as “libertarian communism”, with a balance between socialism and capitalism.


p.s. I’m not the one who picked my name, but I think that political leanings do get passed down from parents to kids.

Balancing Government (Socialism) With Corporations (Capitalism)

A corporation’s profits should be tied to the benefit it provides to people (i.e. beneficial and desirable products or services). If a business’s profits are tied to harm, inefficiency, waste, and damage, it should be penalized, reduced, or regulated accordingly. Pollution (including greenhouse gases), usurious and entrapping loans, for profit prisons, for profit healthcare, for profit war industry, and for profit harmful substances like cigarettes and harmful drugs should be regulated or reduced because their money making is tied to harm.

Does this mean that we should get rid of capitalism? Absolutely not. But a capitalists’s stock prices should be tied to the benefit that they provide to the public. If their stock prices are tied to doing bad things or harming people, then they will be incentivized to do bad things and harm people. Cigarette companies make more money and see their stock prices go up when they get more people hooked on cigarettes. For profit prisons get more money the more people go to prison. War companies don’t want peace because that would cut their flow of money. Someone making money off a high interest rate loan has a financial incentive for the borrower to remain indebted. Healthcare companies see more money the more people need expensive surgeries. It is not in a their interest to end disease and suffering in the population as a whole because then they wouldn’t make a cut off all the surgeries and treatments that people need.

There should be an alignment of interests between the companies and the people. When companies that do not benefit the people lobby Washington to bend the rules in their favor at the expense of what is best for the people, these companies do not deserve to profit. They should see their stock prices go down, not up. The healthcare industry is an industry where I have seen this conflict of interest. One big centralized electronic health system built by tech companies would be faster and more efficient than a bunch of spread out systems built by hospitals and health insurance companies, but people who make money off the healthcare system do not want one centralized system with transparent prices because to lose money (and some jobs, but we can help cushion that).

There must be a balance between government and private sector, and if elected, I will do my best to uphold and maintain that balance for the benefit of all. When government is too big and inefficient, I will try to cut government. When corporations are bad or inefficient, I will try to cut, reduce, or regulate them. I will balance capitalism with socialism using my best judgement and as appropriate for the benefit of all.

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#Corporate #Capitalism #Government #Socialism #Industry #Regulation #Regulate #Corporation #Economy #USA #World #People #Humans

The John Reed Healthcare Plan

In this article, I will describe my healthcare plan for America. The plan will revolve around reducing cost and increasing care for all Americans. Its effectiveness will be measured via benchmarking the health of Americans and measuring costs, and the plan will be adjusted as needed to maximize effectiveness.

This is my idea. Right now, eligibility of healthcare services for the poor is dependent on the poverty level (ex. 133% of poverty level), and the US poverty level in 2018 is $12,140 for one individual according to this site:

We will gradually increase how poor you have to be to be eligible for services such as Medicaid and we will improve existing services. We will reduce costs by providing free preventive care and screenings that will prevent costly emergency room visits. Medically necessary things will be heavily subsidized by the government through the taxpayers. In addition, we will provide a safety net to protect people in case of economic crashes or catastrophes.

Right now, the poorest of the poor are lone, single people who are too poor to afford a place to live. These people beg on the streets and sleep on benches, under bridges, on grassy elevated hills, in sleeping bags, and even in tents. One (rather convoluted) way for these people to receive benefits is to get a PO Box from the United States Post Office (USPS), get their proof of identity or citizenship (ex. ID, Driver’s License, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Birth Abroad, or Passport), get their proof of past income, and apply for Social Security disability benefits and opt to have their disability check mailed to their PO box, then re-use that same PO box for Medicaid and SNAP (Food Stamps). That way they can get their benefits without having a home address.

This is incredibly convoluted and results in people not getting their benefits. Having a PO box is helpful for all people because it can hide one’s home address (for example in the case of stalking) and it separates the address where one receives their benefits from the address that they live in. By having a PO box that is separate from a home address and receiving benefits at the PO box, it is possible for people to keep receiving their benefits even after they lose their house. This is helpful in cases of an economic crashes or catastrophes. As part of the safety net program, I want all people below the poverty line to be eligible for a free small sized PO box and be able to receive their benefits at this PO box so that their benefits would not be tied to having a home address. In addition, I would like to gradually raise how poor one has to be in order to be eligible for benefits. Finally, I have a plan for illegal immigrants.

I feel that some Republicans have this notion that an illegal immigrant can just walk up to the government and say “Hi. I am an illegal alien and I have no proof of identity or citizenship. Can you give me free benefits?” and expect the government to give them benefits. This is not the case. In fact, in some states, under the law, they can even get deported. The problem with this is that because they don’t get things like Medicaid, they have to go to the Emergency Room of a public hospital instead of getting preventive care. This actually increases healthcare related costs because the ER is very expensive. Under my plan, I will reduce healthcare costs by giving everyone cost saving preventive care and I will benchmark and create metrics to measure healthcare outcomes and costs to produce the best, most efficient possible healthcare system. Right now, America has the world’s most expensive, least financially efficient healthcare system and my plan is to change that. We will no longer have the highest medical bills of any country in the world, and I have a plan to control bills as well.

In most US industries, it is illegal to charge one customer a certain price for a good and then charge another customer a different price for another instance of that same good. Imagine that you walked into a grocery store and the person in front of you was charged a quarter for a piece of fruit and then your were charged ten dollars for that same piece of fruit. That would be an outrage! Well that’s how medical billing in America works. The same item, procedure, or service costs different amounts of money depending on who is paying for it. In addition, it is impossible to compare prices because there is no way for people to look up how much a given medical item, procedure, or service costs ahead of time. Basically, it is easy for providers of these medical items, services, or procedures to totally rip people off and get away with it. Just ask Florida governor Rick Scott, who oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in US history. Under my plan, there will be measurements, benchmarks, and metrics to control cost and prevent people from getting away with medical scams or fraud. We will substantially cut medical bills, provide everyone with a safety net to protect them in case of emergencies or catastrophes, and improve the overall health of all Americans.

And of course, don’t forget the power that you as an individual have in improving your own health. By taking care of your health, you can reduce your risk of various illnesses and conditions. By not consuming unhealthy amounts of unhealthy foods or substances, you can improve your own health. Despite having the highest medical bills in the world, the average lifespan in America is several years less than that in other developed countries such as Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Spain, Italy, Sweden, France, and Canada. To give you an idea of how bad the health of Americans is compared to other countries, our average life expectancy is between that of Costa Rica and Cuba according to Wikipedia. Just look at these statistics:

Life expectancy by country

US life expectancy

America’s healthcare system is so bad that we have the highest medical bills in the world and in terms of life expectancy we are losing to Costa Rica. At the very least, I think we should beat Costa Rica.