This week, we’re proud to present British historian Andrew Roberts on the decline and fall of American imperium, the sociopolitical effects of this hegemonic reconfiguring, and whether the fall of the United States is, indeed, inevitable.
In addition, we have Joel Kotkin on the importance of work, and Brian Stewart also brings us a prescient piece on the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.
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Quillette Circle Comment of the Week
The assumption that a UBI would need to be paid for with higher taxes is ill-founded. Adding a UBI as an additional government poverty alleviation program would need to be paid for with higher taxes, esp. on the middle class. However, Charles Murray has run the numbers are shown that replacing all of the United States’s current poverty alleviation program with a UBI would be cheaper than what we do now. His UBI would be $1000/month per adult citizen or permanent resident plus a subvention to pay for a catastrophic health insurance policy.
The idea for his program comes not from anyone on the Left, but from one of the harshest critics of socialism, Frederich Hayek, who held that a UBI was the only poverty alleviation program that did not create distortions in the labor market, while allowing a state role in provision of health insurance – not pre-paid healthcare, medical insurance so catastrophic illness or injury will not bankrupt anyone – since people by and large do not rationally provide against low-incidence catastrophic events.
The point is that a UBI pays people whether they work or not, while our current means-tested poverty alleviation programs effectively pay people not to work, since entering the formal work force leads to loss of benefits, effectively a confiscatory tax on the first income earned.
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