The proposed legislation does not include a funding mechanism. Generally the only way to pay for anything in this state is through a regressive tax. I assume that's the plan here; is that correct?


Universal basic income is the economic equivalent of "defund the police," reparations, and open borders. It's a fundamentally stupid, fantastical, utopian idea that does nothing but (A) alienate Americans who still have to live in the real world and (B) distract us from all the practicable and reasonable progressive ideas that are out there, ideas that have already been successfully implemented in other nations in ways that are applicable here.

The only thing stupider than UBI, as envisioned at the federal level by the political dilettante Andrew Yang, is UBI at the state level, where we struggle to come up with the funding for anything and where our state doesn't exist in a vacuum where we can just seal ourselves off from other states. Let's remember the names, Shaun Scott and Liz Berry—if we're serious about progressivism and, y'know, making progress, we should not view these people as our friends; we should view them as fools who need to be rendered irrelevant.

I'd love to elaborate, but I don't have time. Happy to be told that I just don't get it, as I'm sure I will be.

This reminds me of a story I read yesterday in The New York Times, "Confessions of a Liberal Heretic:"

I'm surprised there was no mention of UBI, although I imagine it's something that hasn't escaped Ruy Teixeira's attention.


Nevermind the inflationary pressure that this causes which then puts pressure on those who are on a fixed income which enlarges the pool of recipients which then creates more inflation which requires you to bring a wheelbarrow of cash to pay for a loaf of bread.


UBI can be an interesting conversation if part of it includes welfare reform as well. Instead of having vouchers and programs and other government led bureaucracy can we just provide people funds to do what they need? I don't know the answer to that and I also don't know how you would put rails on it to make sure the money goes to the intended use and doesn't get wasted on frivolous stuff. The one thing I do know is if you would want to have a serious discussion about this Shaun Scott is not the person to lead it. Every campaign he has touched in the last few years has come up woefully short. Even Jayapal wouldn't endorse him when he ran for SCC despite him working in her office. Maybe he would be less toxic if he slowed down and played a few rounds of golf on one of the city's courses.


@2 is correct, this is an amazingly stupid idea. You would need an income tax to fund it and then watch anyone of talent or means flee the state.


A basic income is not fundamentally different than a negative income tax. The idea has been around at least as long as Richard Nixon, who proposed it during his term. Yes, that's right you right wing idiots (@2, @6) the idea was proposed by a Republican president, back when Republicans actually came up with worthwhile ideas. The advantages should be obvious to anyone who has even a pea size brain: smaller government. Instead of dozens of different programs, with dozens of different agencies all trying to deal with the symptoms of poverty, you simply address the root cause of it. Nixon might have been a dick, and he certainly was a crook, but he wasn't a fucking idiot.

The current debate reminds me of Obamacare, which was also originally proposed by Nixon. Back in the day, the Democrats rejected that approach, thinking that with Watergate, Nixon's days were numbered, and a Democrat would soon take office. The Democrat would then pass a single payer program. (They were half-right). Now, of course, this right-of-center proposal is rejected as being too far to the left, as the country has moved to the right of Calvin Coolidge. While America has moved to the extreme right, other, more centrist nations have simply passed us by. We built the greatest middle class the world had even known, and now it has collapsed, passed up by pipsqueak countries like Finland. We used to be the best at damn near everything, now we are best at only the military and the universities. We mismanage the former, of course, and ignore the recommendations of the latter. No wonder we completely fucked up the pandemic response, we have more billionaires than anywhere else and we can't even deal with hunger within our borders.


The reactionary comments about such a simple, sensible program like a negative income tax make we wonder how people would view Social Security if proposed now. Not too hard to imagine the following:

1) Social Security is the economic equivalent of "defund the police," reparations, and open borders. It's a fundamentally stupid, fantastical, utopian idea that does nothing but (A) alienate Americans who still have to live in the real world and (B) distract us from all the practicable and reasonable progressive ideas that are out there.
2) It is clearly socialist -- it is right there in the title! I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a socialist country.
3) The government is going to tax me, and then someday I might get some money back. I would be much better off just investing the money in the stock market.
4) The guy who proposes this (FDR) is nothing more than a political dilettante.

Social Security, of course is one of the most successful and popular government programs every implemented. It has created a much more stable economy, and dramatically reduced poverty amongst the elderly and disabled. But of course it would be met with derision if proposed now, because the country has moved so far to the right.


This proposal specifically prohibits the income recipients would receive from affecting eligibility for other government programs. So it will not achieve the efficiency envisioned by @7, nor is it paired with any broader welfare reform as @5 would hope.


Ross @7: "Yes, that's right you right wing idiots (@2, @6)"

Ross, I have no problem with you calling me an idiot. Goodness know I am an idiot, and name-calling is always an effective way to make one's point. And surely you are a person of far higher intellect than I to be able to spend your seemingly vast amounts of free time pontificating in high-profile forums like Seattle Transit Blog.

But to suggest that I'm a "RIGHT WING idiot"--if I'm a right winger, then I think that would put about 90% of the American voting population in the right wing category. And that's a conservative estimate. Oh, forgive me for using the term "conservative."


Oh, and just to show how far right things have moved, consider that Milton Friedman was a proponent of a negative income tax. Friedman was an economic advisor and speech writer for Barry Goldwater when he ran for president. He was a consultant to both Reagan and Thatcher. He stated that he was a libertarian philosophically, but a member of the U.S. Republican Party for the sake of "expediency". But, he said, "I think the term classical liberal is also equally applicable." Clearly the man was on the right. But when you look up negative income tax ( his name is featured prominently (as well it should be).

It is just one more example of the fact that the right really doesn't give a fuck about the poor. Let them eat cake, and all that.


cake's Good
once it hits
the floor

great comments


Social Security is an insurance program, at least in terms of those working and contributing. You don't pay in; you don't get anything. Not a good analogy to UI.

I'd be happy to fund UI under the following conditions: each recipient has to track everything they spend UI funds on, backed up by receipts which they file every year with the IRS. I want proof its being spent on essentials and the UI funds must be assessed within the context of other earnings.




Everything is liberal pie in the sky fantasy until it isn't:
Outlawing slavery; Giving women the right to vote; The 40 hour work week; Social security; Collective bargaining; Leaving the gold standard; The GI Bill. Desegregation; Gay marriage.

The list is almost endless.

Every single one of these policy changes was predicted to be impossible; an Armageddon of one kind or another; leading to disastrous inflation. The same unimaginative reactionary voices scrambling in fear every generation.


@13 Clearly you have never heard of non-working spouses. Spouses, ex-spouses, children or parents are eligible to collect spousal, survivor or children's benefits based on the qualifying worker's earnings record.


This is an idea worth looking at. BUT - it absolutely has to come with an iron-clad rule that if you were not here before (say a year before, and continuously present) this bill was introduced, you are simply not eligible and never will be.

Otherwise we will be telling everyone within Greyhound range that rent is free in Washington, and especially in Seattle. We already suffer from an influx of those who cannot or will not take care of themselves **, and who have come from less accommodating areas (thanks, Redmond and Mercer Island). Extending this statewide and paying people to live here would result in a never ending spiral of more people = more payments = more people etc.

So if you want any buy-in from the public, this has to be restricted to actual Washingtonians. I think that there may be real constitutional problems with that restriction, which might make this a non-starter.

The way to prevent this is to do it at a national level. It is not something that a single state ought to be taking in without real safeguards.

** Yes, I know that most of the homeless population here is at least quasi-local. But consider the math: estimates of King County homeless that I have seen are in the 5000 - 10000 range. If even 10% of those have come here since becoming homeless (I believe that is low based on survey answers that have been reported in TS and elsewhere), that would be 500 - 1000 new arrivals.

Most of them are in Seattle, which means they would be eligible for the $1900/month mentioned in the article. That is $950,000 - $1.8M per month, or $11M - $22M per year just for that small part of the population. What do you think would happen to those numbers if the "free rent" sign got lit up? I suspect there would be basically no end to the numbers of new arrivals claiming payments and the resulting demands on other services.


I can tell this is a good idea just seeing who is against it


Probably the best you could do for that is to use the same criteria for establishing residency for in-state tuition.


I wonder if anyone has ever done a study looking for correlations between people who scream bloody murder whenever a concept they think of as "getting free shit" is introduced and those who frequent casinos, buy scratch-off and lottery tickets, consistently enter The Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, or go to The Olive Garden just for the "Never Ending Soup, Salad & Breadsticks" (tm)?


@19 - agreed.


Speaking of guaranteed income, don't forget the EITC - earned income tax credit - started in 1975, and expanded multiple tines, including 1986 under Reagan. Congress has expanded EITC - and until the most recent stalemate, expanded refundable child tax credit as well.
OK it's not exactly the same as Yang's give everyone $1K per month, but it's a type of income subsidy that is widely accepted.


No proposal more guaranteed to wipe out the Democrats than this one.


@7, @8, and @11: Ross for the WIN!!!!

@12 kristofarian, @18 Brent Gumbo, @20 COMTE, and @23 pat L: Agreed, seconded, thirded, fourthed and fifthed.


@2, @3, @4, @6, @10, @24, @25, and 26: Awwwwwww, whassa matter, lil MAGAs.....are you afraid of losing your Free Dumbs?


I think this country has moved too far to the right. The city of Seattle has certainly moved too far to the left. That said… where will everyone work when robots are driving every truck, working in restaurants, working every factory job, and going every other job that can be done by them? If that happens…. And it sounds like it will… for those of us that can… where will we all work?


@15: Outlawing slavery was a Republican victory.


@26, ...but American society simply has too many elements that are quite happy to lay around and live off the sweat of other people's brows.

Wir nennen sie, Arbeitscheu, mein Führer.


@30 A post of reason.
@28 Time again for your medication.


@30 I’m one of those in this economy that retired early…. At 55. If you work hard and you put your nose to the grindstone you still may be able to retire at 65. Cut back on the weed. The reality is if robots take over a huge percentage of jobs there won’t be enough left over for everyone to get a trade job. Is it because they are all lazy? If all the early retirees went back to work now there won’t be nearly as many jobs available.


@33: Down, Muffy, down.


@35: Maybe cut down on the booze, but weed adds fun for creating powerpoint presentations or programming asynchronous methods to pull down cloud data.

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