Economy

Apr 10, 2018

Universal basic income? More like universally bad idea.

The fact that those spruiking universal basic income are also those crushing workers' rights should signal the true designs of this so-called "leftist" policy.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Elon Musk

Universal basic income isn't likely to disappear off the policy agenda any time soon. That's not because it's some "leftie nonsense" as some in the media would suggest -- even though the Greens in both the UK and Australia have adopted it. Quite the opposite -- UBI is a neoliberal solution to a particularly neoliberal problem.

As New Daily's Rob Burgess has noted, one of the early spruikers of UBI was, famously, Milton Friedman, who called it a "negative income tax". Friedman also wanted a road pricing scheme in which roads would be painted with radioactive paint and each car would be equipped with Geiger counter to measure the distance it travelled, so Friedman's tendency to devise Rube Goldberg machine-style solutions to policy problems should be enough to warn us of the flaws of UBI.

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