Joe Biden on guaranteed basic income

As the subject of guaranteed basic income comes up on this site every so often, I wanted to share this brief audio clip from yesterday’s episode of Pod Save America, which featured a lengthy interview with Vice President Joe Biden. In this excerpt, Biden can be heard discussing why, in his opinion, the idea of a guaranteed basic income falls short.

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  1. Eel
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    TIL Biden thinks more highly of me than I do. #BeyondDignity

  2. Kat
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I like the idea of guaranteed minimum income but I agree that there would be psychological ramifications.

  3. dignitee
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The dignity line is a conservative canard. A UBI would create conditions so people can pursue work that is valuable and meaningful to them: childcare, blogging, zine making, gardening, education, etc.

    There are better resources on the pros and cons of a UBI than uncle Joe

  4. Proton
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Foolish rubbish from JB. But no surprise. He is after all an asshole drug warrior of decades standing, shameless warmonger and apologist for empire, etc., etc. STFU, Joe.

    As for the subject: the FEDERAL JOB GUARANTEE is probably generally a better idea, though UBI (or just “BI”, i.e. not universal, but supplemental income for all below a certain threshold, bringing everyone up to a decent standard) could be used as a secondary safety net.

    Bill Mitchell has argued often and eloquently for a job guarantee:

    see also:

  5. Lynne
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I will have to watch this but fwiw. I was JUST telling someone that I don’t think I can support him as a candidate in the 2020 primaries and unless he has some pretty good reasons not to support a UBI, that will probably just be another reason for me not to vote for him.

  6. Posted March 30, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, I wasn’t necessarily agreeing with Biden. I just thought that what he had to say might generate good conversation. Furthermore, I’m not sure, from this tiny clip, where he stands on the idea of universal basic income. While it’s true that he does say that he has concerns, he doesn’t say that he’s dead set against it. Or, at least I didn’t hear that. With that said, though, I do think it’s true that work, broadly defined, gives our lives meaning. People, it’s been my experience, like to contribute, and feel a part of something. And, I love the model of the WPA (Works Progress Administration), which did so much incredible work during the Great Depression. This isn’t to say I’m necessarily adverse to just giving people a guaranteed minimum income to do what they like. I certainly think it should be one route that we consider. I forget the exact number, but I believe I’ve read that, when autonomous trucks come on line, over 300,000 Americans will immediately lose their jobs. And that’s just one example. The world is changing. Retail is going away. People are being displaced. And we have to wherewithal as a nation to ensure that all of these people have their basic needs met. The question, as I see it, isn’t whether or not our social safety net needs to be strengthened and expanded, but how it’s structured. The nature of work is changing and social security has to change with it.

  7. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    “I wasn’t necessarily agreeing with Biden.”

    Fine. I didn’t think (or say) otherwise.

    “People… like to contribute, and feel a part of something. And, I love the model of the WPA ”

    Here here!

    Just keep in mind that it will never happen as long as we’re supporting Democrats and Republicans.


    Stephanie Kelton on job guarantee:

  8. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    “he does say that he has concerns, he doesn’t say that he’s dead set against it.”

    Yes, he “has concerns” and is not dead-set against it. The perfect soft enemy, aka frenemy. Just like all his buddy Democrats. The DP is where progressive ideas and energies always go to DIE. That is its purpose, and it does a very good job of it.

  9. dignitee
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I am very suspicious the “work gives people dignity” line, which has been used in support of welfare reform in the 90s. I see Uncle Joe as carrying on that tradition when he says this. Work does give people dignity; but supporting people supports work.

  10. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Here’s an idea: state and local-level guaranteed jobs. At 0:25, he suggests that a 1% additional income tax could cover a job guarantee:

    Same guy, very long vid (I have not listened to it), for ref. Covers job guarantee, plus a bunch of MMT theory and etc.:

    Another long vid — Pavlina Tcherneva, who is with Kelton one of the best voices in this area:

    Just remember: the DP will NEVER allow this. The only way the DP would ever get behind it is if the right-wing Hillary/corporate cabal were to be expelled completely by progressives. Chances of that? Slim, but non-zero, so I suppose worth mentioning.

  11. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    dignitee: “I am very suspicious the “work gives people dignity” line, which has been used in support of welfare reform in the 90s.”

    Great point. There exists a work fetish and it has ugly tentacles. However! It is a subtle distinction, but work, while it does not “give people dignity”, quite, DOES give people meaning, or allow them to find it more readily. As Mark said, everyone wants to feel like they are part of something and contributing to something; or to turn it around: no one wants to feel like their existence contributes to no one and nothing outside themselves. This appears to be a fundamental aspect of who we are: social beings.

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