Flat Forbes Aikido
By Brian Small at Apr 02, 2009
Remember when Forbes (Cut out the Middle Man!) ran for President wanting to institute a flat tax? Well how about a little aikido - Yeah sure we'll go for a flat tax, just throw in Capital Gains and all the other rich people income that isn't taxed and a flat guaranteed income too. So Forbes (and Petersen and Rubin) won't only be taxed just like everyone else at 30 to 45 percent but also get 500 or 800 or 2000 dollars a month just like everyone else.
Think how much of a difference a basic income would make for the Nickelville residents compared to the AIG, Goldman Sachs millionaires - all the Wall Street and other corporate welfare recipients. Tanaka Yasuo's (Ja) scheme is to charge a flat income tax of 30% then pay every citizen 500 dollars a month. Shunji Ozawa in Syukan Kinyobi (Ja editor argument for html ja list, Ja pdf)has a scheme for a 45% income tax and 800 dollars a month. I should sit down and put his calculations into a table, but it looks like people with median incomes and below end up with more money - the Basic Income more than makes up for the 45% income tax.
I imagine the problem is that, with a Basic Income, the Milton Friedman-philiacs/Wall Street/Forbes People will then say now that everyone has money there is no need for public services. Everyone has to buy bottled water and sewage treatment on the free market, and here comes cholera. I should probably take time off writing these blogs and work through the three Japanese books I now have on the subject, 'might find some answers to these questions. But if the policy was instituted with arguments for solidarity and caring we all might live a bit longer.
The Basic Income proposal also seems to take Welfare out of technocrat's control. No more technical designs for overlapping safetey nets to keep people from hitting rock bottom. Toru Yamamori's arguments in Beginning Basic Income (Ja blurb/pic, Ja Blog Review ) make this point. Only 20% of people in Japan that should be getting welfare actually recieve it. Having the worst capture rate among industrialized countries, rather than being an embarrassment is being used as an excuse to cut welfare budgets. He also engages in a thought experiment about a virtual world where only means tested welfare recipients can attend public school to show that insituting a basic income is more politically feasable than increasing weflare budgets. I didn't expect to see anyone try to argue that a Basic Income is politically possible. I'm not alone here as David Swanson's book review attests, but overcoming a media blackout of the idea might change expectations, just as with single payer health care.