The Universal Basic Income: A Proposal to Reshape the American Welfare State
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a proposal that can be dated back as far as the American Revolution, though the concept is foreign and new to most Americans. A UBI is a payment made to all members of a society without any conditions such as work requirements. Philosophers have designed many different forms of the UBI, but in this paper I will be examining three of the leading proposals. Philippe Van Parijs argues for the highest sustainable level for all permanent, adult members of society. Charles Murray proposes his "Plan" to replace all current transfer programs, such as Social Security and Medicare with an annual payment of $10,000. Finally, Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott propose the Stakeholder’s Society in which all citizens will receive $80,000 upon reaching the age of twenty-one. After examining what a UBI entails and then describing these three proposals, I argue that Murray’s Plan is more politically feasible in the American welfare state. The paper concludes with an analysis of the current costs of variations of the Plan to show that a UBI is a real solution to the problems facing the American welfare state.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Philosophy, Politics, Economics, & Law