How Much will a Universal Basic Income Plan Cost?
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Universal basic income plans have been much in the news. Switzerland even had a referendum on establishing such a program, and a number of researchers and businessmen are advocating a universal basic income plan both as a way to eliminate poverty in the USA and as a way of handling the job displacement that they see being caused by technological change. These plans are not without controversy. One of the most contentious debates relates to costs. Critics such as Bergman (2004), Greenstein (2017) and Tcherneva (2017) claim that any substantial plan would be excessively costly. Proponents, such as Widerquist (2017), disagree and argue that the costs of a program are far less costly than critics suggest.
The goal of this paper is to provide insight into those costs and into how design characteristics of a universal basic income plan affects cost. Specifically, I argue that if the basic income plan is simply added to our current system of personal income taxation, critics are largely...
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