When it comes to big government and big legislation, it is not unusual to find the these ideas come from big thinking progressive elites. The Founders of our once great nation must have been small thinkers. They wanted a small federal government with only few powers. The constitution they produced was only seven pages long. Contrast that with big thinking progressives who gave us the New Deal and Social Security and a War of Poverty and more recently a more than two thousand page Affordable Care Act, which was followed up by hundreds of thousands of new regulations that no one read and no one can understand.
So, as we march down the road that will inevitably lead to universal health care and an unimaginably huge bureaucracy, we should be scared out of our wits wondering what’s next on the big thinking progressive agenda. We know the appetite of the progressive Leviathan is unsatisfiable.
Maggie at Maggie’s Notebook may have the answer for us. She posted a reblog of an article from Faultline USA by J. D. Longstreet. Mr. Longstreet believes the big thinking progressives are really thinking BIG this time. BIG, he informs us, stands for Basic Income Guarantee. These big thinkers are organized and have been for some time. They call their organization The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network and they are affiliated with a longer stand group in Canada called the Basic Income Earth Network. If you go to their home page you’ll find there is a call for papers (you may want to submit your ideas) to the 15th International Congress of the Basic Income Guarantee Earth Network in Montreal starting on June 27, 2014. Their theme is “Re-democratizing the Economy”. Mr. Longstree borrowed some quotes from the US BIG home page too explain what these BIG thinkers are thinking:
The basic income guarantee (BIG) is a government insured guarantee that no citizen’s income will fall below some minimal level for any reason. All citizens would receive a BIG without means test or work requirement. BIG is an efficient and effective solution to poverty that preserves individual autonomy and work incentives while simplifying government social policy. Some researchers estimate that a small BIG, sufficient to cut the poverty rate in half could be financed without an increase in taxes by redirecting funds from spending programs and tax deductions aimed at maintaining incomes.”
Got that? BIG will be efficient and effective and if Big doesn’t go too big, no one will have to pay more taxes. But, there is more. These BIG thinkers want to ensure the incentive to work and promote individual freedom and a functioning market economy.
“The Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is a government ensured guarantee that no one’s income will fall below the level necessary to meet their most basic needs for any reason. As Bertrand Russell put it in 1918, “A certain small income, sufficient for necessities, should be secured for all, whether they work or not, and that a larger income should be given to those who are willing to engage in some work which the community recognizes as useful. On this basis we may build further.” Thus, with BIG no one is destitute but everyone has the positive incentive to work. BIG is an efficient, effective, and equitable solution to poverty that promotes individual freedom and leaves the beneficial aspects of a market economy in place.”
Wow! These BIG thinkers have thought of everything, haven’t they? But, the small BIG mentioned above only reduces “poverty” by half. So, if all “poverty” is to be eliminated, they would have to go big BIG. How would they propose to pay for big BIG to put an end to “poverty” once and for all? Mr. Longstreet’s digging indicates that the most commonly the BIG thinkers are thinking a flat income tax of maybe 40% would pay for the Basic Income Guarantee to eradicate poverty and pay for all other government spending.
A flat income tax! That is right out of the conservative play book, right? What’s not to like? I note that the BIG thinkers are careful not to define “poverty”. That makes sense because poverty is relative, right? And, I’m thinking that the BIG thinkers are thinking too small at a 40% flat tax rate. More typical in socialized Europe would be a rate of 50%. So, since the BIG thinkers don’t want to define what Basic Income Guarantee should be, let’s see if we can help them out.
If we said a basic income should be $60, 000. after paying the flat tax the use-to-be poor would be left with $30,000. Hmmm! That doesn’t seem to be enough. If the basic income was set at $80,000, the-use-to-be poor would be left with $40,000 per year to live on. I don’t know; but I think that would be a stretch. If we set the basic income at $100,000, they would have $50,000 per year to live on. Okay, that wouldn’t be great, but it might be good enough for those who not work at all. So, those that do work would obviously have to make more than $100,000 per year. Someone who earned say $150,000 per year would after paying the flat tax have $75,000 to live on. This person then would have a life style 50% better than his neighbor who doesn’t work. And a person earning $200,0000 per year could live twice as good as a person who didn’t work at all. Yup! There is an incentive to work. The BIG thinkers have thought of everything, right? And, here I’ve been worried about the future for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I don’t have to worry anymore. The BIG thinking progressives are going to take care of everybody. What a relief!
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?