I posted this in my Humble Americans for Math and Reason because this question of an American Renaissance raises all sorts of detailed questions that I’d like to find the answers to.
The idea behind HAMR is to apply math and reason to more political discussions. But this is hard, hence the need for curiosity and humility.
I’ll start by identifying the main questions that I want to pull data for.
- How much basic income can the country afford easily? The $11k number comes from a proposal that I read and didn’t bookmark to simply rework existing entitlements.
- What’s the best someone could live on $11k? That’s not very much money.
- How much basic income could the country afford if it got more creative and aggressive? I pulled the 50/50 wealth redistribution number out of a hat — basically it’s just mimicking the NBA distribution.
- What do studies show about a reduction in incentives for the wealthy? I’m pretty sure that small scale reductions make no difference. People with money are in the business of turning that money into more money. The incentive structure is more boolean than a matter of degree.
- What do studies show about the motivation of people with basic income? What do they do with their lives? Do they find purpose? Or do they feel useless?
- What is the breakdown of people who are going to lose their jobs to automation? I was mostly extrapolating from this McKinsey graph.
- In the status quo case, how realistic is the path to retraining. This WashPo piece is pretty confident that America creates more jobs at the same time that it destroys them. But the frictional costs for individuals in this system seem enormous.