Policy Shop Weekly Digest: Liberty, Basic Income

I had 2 posts over at Demos’ Policy Shop this week. Here is a rundown with links:

How the Left Sees Liberty. Excerpt:

The problem with the libertarian and right-wing notions of liberty is not just that they self-implode; it’s also that there is a more plausible notion of liberty offered up by the left-wing that is only really achievable through leftist political economy. Under this notion, liberty is achieved when individuals have their economic well-being so strongly secured that they can pursue their personal projects without worrying themselves about the potential of falling into utter destitution. True liberty requires, as FDR famously noted, freedom from want.

How a Universal Basic Income Would Affect Poverty. Excerpt:

So what does the calculator show us? First, we could have around a $2,200 basic income for the money we spend on the military each year. For a family of four, that would be an income boost of $8,800. It would reduce official poverty by about 16 million people, and of course boost the incomes of those who still remain in poverty by quite a bit.

What would it take to halve poverty? About $3,000 basic income. This translates to $930 billion dollars ($790 billion if you exclude Social Security recipients), which is about 5.7% of GDP. This is quite a bit of money, but we are a rich country and if we really wanted to, we could definitely make this happen.