Universal Basic Income To The Rescue?

Authored by Michael Pento via Pentonomics,

The Keynesian Illuminati that run the world are now scrambling to find solutions to the rampant condition of income inequality that they themselves have created. After a decade of global fiscal and monetary policy madness, which were in effect Robin Hood in reverse, they are now seeking to repair the damage caused to the middle classes by making them become permanent wards of the states, just as they strip away ever more of their freedoms.

A genuine solution to reduce the wealth gap would be to eliminate central banks and replace them with a gold standard of money. This would automatically fetter the monetary base to the increased mine supply of gold, which historically has closely matched the productive capacity of the economy. This leads to stable growth without asset bubbles, which serves to eliminate trenchant differences between the classes. But that type of solution wouldn’t achieve their real objective, which is to increase power. Therefore their answer to the imminent manifestation of the next global financial crisis, of their own making, is to invent another government wealth redistribution scheme of even greater proportions.

Despite historical proof that economic systems premised on government redistribution, such as communism and socialism, not only lead to stagnation but in fact exacerbate income inequality, they still cling to the hope that if marketed under a different name their idyllic welfare state will eventually yield prosperity. Enter their latest indulgence:  Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI--comes in a variety of flavors but all are predicated on the government making payments to people for doing absolutely nothing.

This re-packaged “solution” takes money from the productive part of the economy and re-purposes it into non-productive efforts. At least communism operated under the pretense of work:  a communal utopia “from each according to ability…to each according to need.”

UBI is predicated on a handout with no incentive for people to live up to their potential.  As bizarre as this may sound, it is rapidly gaining worldwide traction. 

Before the Great Recession, nobody would have envisioned a Zero Interest Rate Policy, or even Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP). Let alone central banks buying stocks--in Japan, they own over half the ETF market--but these things have unfortunately now become commonplace. Likewise, a few years ago few would have envisioned the war on physical currencies – recently India took 86% of its physical currency out of circulation.

Under the guise of saving the global economy from the fast approaching greater depression, governments’ inexorable move towards the abrogation of free markets will soon take a quantum leap forward. In the wake of the last Financial Crisis circa 2008, public and private balance sheets were stretched to the limit. The usual approach from central banks to save the economy is to simply lower interest rates. But borrowing costs are already in the basement of history. Hence, even more egregious and extraordinary steps will be needed to push asset prices higher in the next crisis.

These desperate measures may include more NIRP, making physical currency illegal and UBI. Paying people to lay fallow is the perfect recipe for a massive plunge in worker productivity and economic contraction. It also paves the way for a rapidly expanding rise in the broad money supply.

The economist Joseph Schumpeter described innovation in a free-market economy as the “gales of creative destruction.” There is nothing inherently wrong when new innovations destroy old ones. The car replaces the horse and buggy; the cell phone renders the beeper obsolete. The labor force is then forced to re-invent itself, pushing productivity and humanity on an upwards trajectory. Hanging your hat on being the Lotus 123 expert in the office is a dead-end career path--thriving economies move fast, and a motivated labor force always keep pace.

Doling out free money stifles the incentive for latent workers to adapt. We see these effects when there are long extensions in benefits for unemployment, just like we had during the Great Recession. While unemployment insurance is useful as a short-term stopgap between jobs, continuous extensions of unemployment leads to complacency. During the Great Recession, we witnessed a deterioration of skills by those who opted for the continual extension of unemployment benefits. Many transitioned off unemployment onto long-term disability, depriving themselves of the integrity of work and putting a drain on the current social safety net. 

Comprehensive welfare programs such as UBI, soon lead to a perpetual condition of economic stagnation, higher interest rates, currency depreciation, rising debt to GDP ratios, onerous tax rates and rapid inflation. 

Finland underwent a two-year experiment in basic income where a select group was given the equivalent of $670 a month with no strings attached. The Finish government just ended this program citing very high costs that didn’t yield the intended results. Finance minister Orpo confessed to the Financial Times that the UBI system made people “passive” noting that when they paid people to do nothing, job openings were left unfilled. He concluded, “We have to look at the incentives to work.” Finland has decided against renewing the program at the end of this year. Instead, they have introduced legislation to make some benefits for unemployed people contingent on the completion of worker training. Finland’s failed experiment with UBI hasn’t deterred Italy from delving in the same experiment. The newly empowered Five Star Movement (M5S) had an incredible campaign promise: a guaranteed income of €780 ($960) a month for everyone.

But facts don’t seem to matter to liberal elites who view UBI as a great tool to deploy once artificial intelligence turns people into gelatinous masses of useless goo. The ultra-liberal co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, blames the growing difference between the wealthy and working-poor on the same market forces that made Facebook’s rise possible. He believes people don’t want a handout, but he intends to petition for one on their behalf anyway. He is pushing for a guaranteed income of $500 a month for every working adult who makes less than $50,000, paid for by raising taxes on people who make over $250k or more. And by working he doesn’t necessarily mean having a paying job – working can be defined as just having a dependent child or parent.

One of the primary dangers here is that UBI will undoubtedly end up being inflation adjusted. In other words, the argument will be that it will have to be pegged to the CPI in order to maintain the purchasing power of its monthly stipend.  Of course, since UBI is at its intrinsic core a deficit-busting, productivity-killing inflation machine, the result could lead to a death spiral of rising deficits and inflation that in turn serves to drive up the amount of UBI transfer payments...and around again we go. Of course, UBI also provides an ever-growing voting class that will become dependent on the government for everything. Perhaps this is more the elites’ real goal.

The primary driver of the wealth gap between the one percenters and the poor is the result of central banks’ falsification of money, interest rates, and asset prices. This is because the vast preponderance of their money printing efforts ends up in stocks, bonds and real estate, which overwhelmingly boosts the living standards of plutocrats, as it eviscerates the middle class and pushes the lower class further into penury.  Until governments acknowledge the real culprit behind income inequality, they will never arrive at a viable solution.

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Michael Pento is the President and Founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, produces the weekly podcast called, “The Mid-week Reality Check”, is Host of The Pentonomics Program and Author of the book “The Coming Bond Market Collapse.”

Comments

Cognitive Dissonance pods Tue, 05/15/2018 - 17:37 Permalink

Universal Basic Income

The bottom line is obvious. The more dependent upon a system you become....ANY system.....the more likely it is you will support that system regardless of how totalitarian it may become....or already is.

UBI creates mass dependency which creates blind and unwavering support.

(edit: as long as the EFT deposits keep coming.)

In reply to by pods

Luc X. Ifer D503 Wed, 05/16/2018 - 07:20 Permalink

Are you fucking idiot or dyslexic?! Which other specie works for fiat or gold as living resource?! Fiat or gold are a representation of resources value in the humans world but any other living being besides parasites - and that's questionable because parasites still work but in their own way as found efficient for their niche by evolution, work for their needs procurement.

In reply to by D503

boattrash bobcatz Tue, 05/15/2018 - 18:42 Permalink

UBI sounds good to Politicians as a means of replacing their last Ponzi Scheme, Aka Social Security. Look at the reality, there aren't enough "producers" coming into play to support the rising numbers of people going onto SS.

I believe it will be used to wean people off SS, all while keeping the system of theft in place. NOTE; Don't confuse this as my "support" of the plan, but rather what I expect from a desperate Govt.

In reply to by bobcatz

oneno BennyBoy Tue, 05/15/2018 - 18:52 Permalink

A million per year will not be enough when everyone is getting the same.

The correct solution is small government that is not fascistic (in the pockets of the Corporations) with permenant suspension of free-trade agreements to allow workers to compete in a global free market system. This will force true competition for production and consumption and will become a natural break for the tendency to over-populate (the real source for all the problems on the planet). Private bankers must be replaced by a country's central bank that creates money for infrastructure to facilitate an efficient economy that can compete in the global marketplace.

In reply to by BennyBoy

Escrava Isaura oneno Tue, 05/15/2018 - 19:31 Permalink

First, Zero Hedge doesn’t represent the working class, they represent the owner class, so as President Trump, conservatives, democrats. Ok, the liberals give a little bit more than the conservatives, but liberals still represents the owner class, because the Democrats current leaders are right wingers.

 

oneno BennyBoy: The correct solution is small government that is not fascistic (in the pockets of the Corporations) with permenant suspension of free-trade agreements to allow workers to compete in a global free market system.

It ain’t gonna happen? Wondering why?

It’s very simple.

Do you drink coffee?

Do you use salt?

Do you use a computer or phone screen?

If you said yes to any one of these you’re a globalist.

 

Get this over your head:

First, industrialism and capitalism are fascists’ products. Their free market propaganda is unworkable.

Second, America lifestyle, that the whole world is copying even socialist China, is fascist.

Religions too are fascist enterprises.

 

These four are fascists because these four products can’t stand democracy.

 

And government is the highest form of democracy.  

 

Note: To be fare to Zero Hedge the working classes are not really represented anymore anywhere in the world. But the myth need to go on that the problem is the working class even when they have no power.

 

In reply to by oneno

BrownCoat Escrava Isaura Wed, 05/16/2018 - 06:47 Permalink

"First, Zero Hedge doesn’t represent the working class, they represent the owner class,"

Working class, owner class... sounds like you have an old school socialist perspective.
You forgot the non-working class. There was a huge disruption to the economic system (bubble burst in 2008 and technology as two major drivers). That disruption threw a lot of people out of the productive economy.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

BrownCoat Escrava Isaura Wed, 05/16/2018 - 06:57 Permalink

"Get this over your head: First, ...."

@ Escrava Isaura,

From your perspective that all makes sense.
Is the glass half empty or half full? Depends on your perspective. A Capitalist, Communist, and Fascist can all look at the same event and derive support for their own perspective. That does not mean that any of those ideologies are accurate or that those ideologies even work in practice! Ideologies only work between the ears of those who believe. 

Economics deals with providing goods and services to people. Economic numbers are just silly measurements. It's living standards that really matter! And, the US has failed to provide an adequate living standard for its people.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Croesus Stuck on Zero Tue, 05/15/2018 - 18:05 Permalink

Yeah, great idea...

I'd love to know exactly WHY we NEED to have AI?

Whose ego is so maniacal, that they insist society be forced into accepting something we never wanted, asked for, or needed?

It is clear to me, that criminally-insane psychopaths are running this world.

This UBI bs, is just another example of:

"Let's solve a problem that WE created! Oh, by the way, you can trust us! Our track record speaks for itself. Signed, Your Friend, The Government"

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

TechnoCaveman Cognitive Dissonance Tue, 05/15/2018 - 18:04 Permalink

So what is UBI for the "Rich and famous" ? 
Is this welfare for all? LBJ promised "Once people do not have to steal for basics, there will be no more crime" 
If we have public assistance, how come we have homeless folks ??  Why is Seattle adding a "homeless tax" ? 
   Looking forward to "New Math" on how will the government will take 30% from half the population and give more back to everone while *also* funding health care, military, Dept of Energy and basic research !!

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance