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Basic income guarantees are going to be one of the more interesting progressive social programs to watch. They drastically simplify the welfare system, removing a great deal of bureaucracy, inequality, and upside-down incentives that plague the current systems.

I'd also suggest that it would drastically lower the risk to starting a new business, potentially increasing the overall productivity of a country. I can tell you for sure that our Canadian health care system has easily contributed to my comfort in being an entrepreneur.
Alyxandor James's profile photoGuy Vancollie's profile photoJared Swets's profile photoMark Essel's profile photo
+David Haddad Yes, but Switzerland can afford it... the US can't.

The Swiss have a highly specialized work force, and profit immensely from foreign banking and investment.

They don't spend rashly, and force their government to spend wisely (see Swiss debt brake). The US government spends very poorly, with Obama being one of the worst offenders. Unless we want to end up like Greece, universal healthcare is irresponsible.
And I can tell you that American Heathcare is one of the top 2 obstacles that kept me from being an entrepreneur. Currently, heathcare costs for my family considerably exceed housing costs. Quick math suggests that heathcare costs shorten my runway (how much time I have to either become profitable or secure additional funding) by as much as 1 year ... and I consider my situation to be extremely fortunate.
America has a basic income guarantee. We call it minimum wage.
Ironically, this was one of the things a large number of the US founding fathers really wanted.

Unfortunately, some of our founded ended up thinking their way int a logic trap, and that is why only land owners got to vote for the first 80 or so years of our country.
+Michael Silverton Ah, so you take the time to post a snarky comment about how I am wrong, but you "don't have time to explain it". Why don't you humor me and try to explain it. #doyourhomework
Hasn't the idea that malpractice insurance and torts are at the root of the cost of medicare care been debunked for a long time? Malpractice is 1-1.5% of all medical costs and cannot explain the compounding geometric rise of costs.
+Ray Cromwell Not just that. 60+% of malpractice costs are amassed by less than 1% of physicians. We just don't have a effective ways for people to get their license yanked nationally.
+Jared Swets 30.4 billion, out of the $2 trillion dollars a year the US spends on health care? puh-leez.
Sure, there could be the fear factor for doctors, but the reality is, patients also demand tests. I had this experience myself recently, after a year or two of unexplained abdominal pains, even after regular diagnosis methods failed, even after an endoscopy, my doctor told me it's 'dyspesia', which simply describes the symptom, not the cause. I kept pressuring until they did a CT scan and they did find something (thankfully not cancer). My point is, I put the pressure on my doctor, he was resisting further tests.

People like to see objective measurements, even if they are useless. And they want prescriptions that 'fix' the problems. All of this leads to a medicine that is heavily test and drug driven.
Isn't it really the case that the largest driver of costs is end of life care?
+Ray Cromwell Not so much anymore. IIRC, drugs/management of chronic conditions is the plurality of costs now.
+Ray Cromwell I would think that the largest driver is end of life care... that is the most advanced (technologically speaking) health care available. If we really want the nuts and bolts, here my belief on why the US has horrible health care (including torts/malpractice):

1) Not enough exercise when compared to other countries
2) We eat like crap
3) Monopolies control the drug industries (see patent reform)
+Robert Cooper Ah, cronic conditions, that would make sense that it would be more than end of life care.
This will probably fail because its the first time... everything new and dangerous fails until finally someone gets it right. But we have to start somewhere. Eventually someday we will need a system like this to bring start the next revolution of man kind. When we are freed of our need to earn a slave wage and can truly open up our creative minds.
As +Jared Swets defends that the majority of the cost of "defensive doctor actions" are hidden, I feel the need to point out that the immense benefit of universal income or universal health care are equally immeasurable.

How do you measure how much productivity and human satisfaction we lose simply because we require all talented entrepreneurs to work crappy day jobs rather than pursue their dreams? Think of how many jobs that could easily be replaced by robots, but we cannot, as people need those jobs to deserve food. Take most of the sales clerk and service industry people; we don't need a human to ring in our purchases and collect our money, but if we sent all those people home without pay, they would starve, despite the fact that our supply and scarcity of resources did not change whatsoever.

Let that logic sink in... Every-man-for-himself economics is not compatible with the fruition of technological evolution. What's the point in automating away jobs when we need to make up more jobs to keep propping up the economy? To increase humanity's Quality of Life to Energy Spent Working ratio, we need to destroy work, rather than create jobs, but we can't do that if the only excuse we can come up with to keep someone alive is based on monetary income.

If Google's self-driving car can make millions of taxi drivers obsolete in a few decades, by what logic must we make those out-of-work humans starve? If all the work still gets done, do we have any less of everything humans need to survive?
Break your mindset free from the construct of money, and just think about how humans get what humans need and want.

There are real and imaginary costs to every human decision ever made; the real costs are raw resources and human labor, and the imaginary costs are the $$$ backing those resources. We need to make money work for humans, rather than the other way around.
Interesting initiative ... not sure all potential unexpected consequences are understood, but good to have a society debate on the concept.
+David Haddad Comparing how we can't afford health care to gay marriage is certainly an odd choice, and a poor one, since gay marriage doesn't cost anything. A rather horrible comparison.

We can't afford health care because of the cost... pure and simple, there is no arguing this. If we continue on our current trajectory, we will become the next Greece. We need to get our expenditures under control before we can focus on providing health care. The Netherlands system is much cheaper than the US system, but it still uses government money, and since the US can't even balance the budget, it won't work.
+Alyxandor James Ah, this is a rather convoluted argument, and has several logical flaws, so lets get started.
1) As for entrepreneurial startups I agree that may increase the startup of them, but they will still need money for food/clothing/etc so they may still need a day job for some time, and that doesn't include the massive amount of potential seed money lost to increased government taxes spent on hypochondriacs that use the system, as well as other system abuses.
Onto your next, separate point.
2) Robots replacing humans. This is the logical error, I have seen it before. First off, you are implying that UHC will somehow provide them with everything they need... it won't they will still need a job for food/clothing/etc.
Your assumption is essentially this: If we take away jobs and give them to robots, THERE WILL BE NO JOBS FOR HUMANS. This is a VERY poor statement to make. Those taxi drivers will just need to become software engineers to fix the cars, or run the help line for people in the cars that need more than a robot to help them.

For example, lets take a look at the industrial revolution. The weavers were put out of business by looms, where one person could weave WAY more than several people could at one time. Did those Loom weavers starve? No, they either found work fixing the loom when it broke, or found jobs in selling the increased number of shirts available, or found jobs in transporting it, etc. If you had asked a person 200 years ago what they would do if most of their jobs were gone, they may have said (like you).. well, we will all starve... what could people possibly do to earn a living!?

As you can see, more jobs/new jobs are created by increases of technology. They will be different types of jobs (not manual labor jobs) but there still will be jobs.

So lets break free from this construct of money: Money is essentially a medium, in this case it is a medium for resources.

"the real costs are raw resources and human labor, and the imaginary costs are the $$$ backing those resources."
The money is TECHNICALLY imaginary, but is a representation of the raw resources and human labor, described in terms that make it universal to exchange these resources and labor... nothing more... there is no magical paradigm shift that allows money to work for humans, rather than the other way around.
a bit of star trek-onomics, but an interesting experiment. Can this be tested on a smaller scale to determine viability?

If there is enough wealth, without work to continue production, then this could be sustainable. Alternatively if enough of the folks who are freed up to pursue other interests generate new business, there could be a net gain from the initiative.

And of course it could sink the economy into an unsustainable form (costs > revenue). For the sake of comparison the us debt which grows a trillion or two per year (which is only ~$5000-10,000 per adult per year if equally distributed or $400-800/month).

It's hard to simulate what may happen, we need more radical social experiments, but it's people's lives and livelihoods so caution rules the day.
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