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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  •  May 13, 2020   

Pandemic handy for 'universal basic income' push

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As the Wuhan virus pandemic continues, many on the Left are trying to capitalize on it.

The late Milton Friedman, who won a Nobel Prize in economic sciences, once said: "Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. ... The actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around."

Attempting to use the pandemic to reshape the world, the Left is pushing an old idea that's been lying around for a while — universal basic income, a government program for periodic payments sent to everybody individually without means tests or work requirements.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Others have suggested a minimum income [for] — a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so."

With headlines like "The Coronavirus Crisis Could Pave the Way to Universal Basic Income," CNBC, The New York Times, Forbes, TIME magazine — leftist publications are helping Democrats promote the idea.

And the progressive push is not limited to the United States.

A senior official of the United Nations, Kanni Wignaraja, says: "The spread of COVID-19 has fundamentally shaken economies, and people are beginning to question existing economic models ... [and that] it is so essential to bring back a conversation about universal basic income, and to make it a central part of the fiscal stimulus packages that countries are planning for."

Spain's economic minister, Nadia Calviño, says work is already being done in Spain to establish a permanent universal basic income:

I can assure you we are working to implement universal basic income as soon as possible; [it's] not only effective for the exceptional transient circumstances of COVID-19 but to help in the future (forever) — a structured instrument, a lasting tool!"

Onboard with globalists worldwide, Pope Francis wrote in a letter on Easter Sunday:

I know that you have been excluded from the benefits of globalization. … Street vendors, recyclers, carnies ... you have no steady income to get you through this hard time ... and the lockdowns are becoming unbearable. This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out."

Some, like Michael Hichborn of Lepanto Institute, think universal basic income is a terrible idea: "The very idea of a universal basic income is nothing but the Marxist dream of wealth redistribution, which is more famously lampooned in St. Thomas More's work called 'Utopia.'"

While the idea is being attempted right now in Brazil, Hichborn is confident the effort will fail: "Unless the United States and every other country out there in the world wants to go the way of Venezuela and ever other failed socialist regime, then the idea of a universal basic income must be buried forever!"

Non-Marxist nations have always panned basic universal income as one of those ideas that looks good on paper, but in practice, is a dismal failure — a cure worse than the disease.

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