Lame duck Rahm Emanuel embraces the 'Universal Basic Income' fantasy
So-called "Universal Basic Income" (UBI) is the new shiny object of progressive elites, a means of signaling their own virtue while intending to win the political allegiance of those unable or unwilling to provide for themselves. The philosophical root of this latest giveaway plan is the fear that with technology taking over more and more functions, there will be no means for less educated people to find financially sufficient jobs. (This is hardly a new concern: in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was a huge wave of concern that "automation" was destroying blue-collar jobs that are, in the now immortal words of Barack Obama justifying his miserable economic track record, "just not going to come back.")
One of the most prominent UBI enthusiasts is Mark Zuckerberg. He has plenty of company among Silicon Valley oligarchs, who must fear restless masses disrupting their accumulation of the biggest personal fortunes in the history of mankind.
The idea is absurd to anyone who understands human nature, but that group does not include many progressives, who see their ultimate goal in perfecting human nature. Finland already tried UBI out for two years and ended the experiment in failure. That hasn't stopped Stockton, California from running a similar experiment, giving 100 residents $500 a month for 18 months, no strings attached. Money for the scheme comes from private donors, necessary because Stockton emerged from Chapter 9 bankruptcy only in 2015.
The most absurd, pointless embrace of UBI comes from Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, who has presided over that city's descent into the murder capital of America and a fiscal hole that has it rated as second to last in fiscal health of America's 75 largest municipalities, with a debt load of $40.5 billion, or about $45,000 per resident (or $180K for a family of four). But that doesn't stop Rahm, as Lukas Mikelionis reports for Fox News:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will form a task force that will consider implementing the so-called "universal basic income" program in the city, as the embattled mayor seeks to cement his progressive legacy after promising not to run for another term.
The idea for the program, which would make monthly payments to a number of Chicago families without any conditions, has been floated around in the city for months now.
Back in June, Chicago's North Side Ald. Ameya Pawar introduced a resolution calling upon the mayor to launch the pilot of the program and pay 1,000 families $500 every month.
Keep in mind that just paying the debts and pension obligations of the city of Chicago requires substantial, continuous increases in taxation. There is no spare money at all. Major city assets, such as parking meters and red light cameras, have already been sold off to raise capital.
So exactly who would be willing to lend money to Chicago in order to enable it to pass out "free money"?
Of course, this is all for show. Rahm is lining up his ducks for the next stage of his career now that he has announced he won't run for re-election.
Image credit: Donkey Hotey.
Maybe he'll find a sucker foundation to fund a demonstration program that hands out half a million bucks every month in order to once again discover the reality that progressives just can't seem to accept: free stuff just makes people prefer more leisure once their basic needs are taken care of.