Some programs penalize recipients for working by

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some programs penalize recipients for working by withdrawing benefits as people work more. Some states, including Arkansas, Maine, and Wisconsin, have even pushed to implement a work requirement for those who receive publicly funded healthcare (Cohen, 2017). These work requirements do not negatively impact those who use safety net programs effectively as a leg-up, but those who choose to rely on government aid largely and negatively impact unemployment rates. The negative income tax, passed under the Nixon administration, is similar to a universal basic income, except the negative income tax, like other safety net programs, phases out when recipients begin to work (Walker, 2017). A strong UBI-proponent argument is that a basic income does not pull money from people when they work and therefore will encourage employment, especially for people who want to work in lower-paying fields, such as invention or the arts. However, a UBI wouldn’t necessarily encourage work for all people. Those who currently rely only on the small government aid they are given are not likely to seek employment once their benefits are guaranteed- something that a universal basic income promises. People are also in favor of a UBI
WHY A UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME WILL NOT WORK Hardison 9 because if the amount is set high enough, it would pull a lot of people above poverty level. As D.H. Freedman states in his article, “Basic Income: A Sellout of the American Dream,” a $10,000 basic income would be sufficient enough to bring “the vast majority of Americans above the poverty line” (2016). Currently, the income defining poverty for a family of four is about $25,100. A basic income would place a family of four with two working adults right at the poverty line, assuming there is no other form of income. Only those who work would be brought above poverty level, but with a UBI, working is not necessarily required. Therefore, it cannot be logically inferred that a UBI would produce beneficial results. Peter Ferrara summarizes the 2010 welfare budget and projections for 2018 in his article, “America’s Ever Expanding Welfare Empire.” In 2010, the cost of the combined 185 welfare programs in America was about $700 billion, not including state spending, in which case the amount would be $900 billion. Federally funded medicaid, alone, cost $275 billion in 2010 and was predicted to increase to $451 billion in 2018 (2012). These high numbers come from funding for only people currently eligible and enrolled in various government benefit programs. If the government began to pay every adult citizen about $1,000 a month, the numbers would skyrocket. According to Freedman, it would cost the government a yearly sum of about $3 trillion to pay every citizen an annual income of $10,000, which is eight times more than what the U.S.

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