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Key Facts

Why a Universal Basic Income Won't Work
Universal Basic Income
The massive US income transfer system is rightfully criticized from both the left and the right. It often gives too much money to families who don’t need assistance and often gives too little to those that do. Worse, the system’s incentives encourage recipients to act against their long-term interests. Some people think a universal basic income—a UBI—is an attractive alternative.
Making Things Worse
This program would provide a guaranteed income to all with no strings attached. Its supporters say a UBI would lift millions out of poverty and allow individuals more freedom to pursue their dreams. But, in reality, a UBI would make matters worse.
A Poor Replacement
To prevent a UBI from adding trillions of dollars in government spending and to fix the current system’s problems, the UBI must replace existing transfer programs, health care, housing, and nutrition programs for poor, disabled and elderly persons. And, a UBI would impose no obligations on recipients, giving them less reason to work, develop their skills, or improve their situation in life.
Just Human Nature
At its core, the UBI wrongly presumes that it doesn’t matter whether individuals achieve material well-being through their own efforts or from government-mandated payments from others. This presumption is dead wrong. An individual’s efforts and sacrifices to achieve personal goals are crucial to living a fulfilled life. The UBI’s failure to understand this key aspect of human nature makes it a destructive policy for the very recipients it is intended to help.