Basic assistance

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The Uniting Amendment provides for financial assistance to all those in need. We are entering a era when there will be massive underemployment due to technological innovation and vocational realignment related to climate change. If we do not provide a simple, efficient way to provide for the needs of those who are unable to care for themselves, it will lead to widespread dissatisfaction and eventually a revolution. Providing assistance to those in need will eliminate poverty, protect against domestic unrest and preserve our liberty. And providing for those in need is morally consistent with civil society.


Helping the poor improves our national security

The primary function of government as established by the Constitution is to protect our rights, property and lives. Members of our military and Congress take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Our military is the most powerful in the world and it is unlikely that an attack from any foreign enemy would result in the defeat of our country. However, under conditions of extreme dissatisfaction among the people of the United States, domestic unrest could result in a usurpation of the government and the protections it provides for our freedom. This has happened many times throughout history, even in powerful, well established countries. Enemies of domestic origin are more of an existential threat than foreign enemies. But what future events or conditions would cause people to turn against the country, and how can the country defend against it?

The future of employment

There has been an acceleration of increased productivity due to advancements in information technology, robotics and other automation. That trend will likely continue: more stuff will be produced with less labor. Our labor-saving devices will save labor, duh! Going forward, the long-term demand for workers is going to decrease and that decline in demand for labor will accelerate. There will be fewer and fewer jobs available, while at the same time increased productivity will create less aggregate scarcity of the necessities of life. This will cause an increase in wealth, however, that wealth will be less evenly distributed while more unemployed people slip into poverty. Ironically, we'll have more wealth, yet more poverty. The effects on society will be profound as we approach the technological singularity.

More and more people will not be working; at least not working in the traditional sense. And this will happen as the baby-boom generation has left the workforce for retirement, further exacerbating the problem. Many of those people will not be able to support themselves, paradoxically, at a time when there will be a general abundance of the necessities of life. We are already seeing these effects in the widening of the distribution of incomes. Those with the talent and skills to adapt, and the privilege to avoid discrimination, will continue to work while many others will be unemployed. Current policy makers, from both government and business, are attempting to address the issue with outdated hegemonic tactics and bloated, inefficient government assistance programs. If this continues, large segments of the population will become unable to support themselves, politicians will demand even more power to “fix” the problem and the result will be political instability and the potential for loss of our liberties from domestic enemies and authoritarian government power.

Domestic security

How can we defend against this threat of domestic unrest while preserving freedom? We can't continue to hand over our freedoms to the politicians. Private charity should be the primary source to help people in need but relying on voluntary charity may not be sufficient to accommodate everyone in need. Simply allowing people to languish is inconsistent with a compassionate society and can result in a revolution with loss of liberty.

Basic assistance, not basic income

To defend against domestic unrest, the Uniting Amendment establishes a single Basic Assistance Fund to provide direct cash transfers to those in need. Even the most ardent free market advocates support a safety net for those in need. (see F. A. Hayek's, The Road to Serfdom; Chap. 9, "Security and Freedom") This is not a universal basic income which would be distributed to everyone; it only goes to those who are in need. A universal basic income, on the other hand, is a fixed amount paid to everyone. This is wasteful because it pays benefits to people who don't need it. Basic assistance provided by the Uniting Amendment only goes to those who need it.

Funding for basic assistance comes from a special fund set aside for that purpose. A portion of tax revenues goes into the fund each year. Money from the fund may be used to provide for those who cannot care for themselves and are unable to obtain help from private sources. Payments from the fund are sufficient to provide for basic needs. The payments are in lieu of all other government assistance and there is no byzantine bureaucracy needed to administer dozens of different programs. Since anyone can request assistance, the system is fair and effective. Recipients voluntarily provide whatever value or services they can to society in exchange for the benefit and they repay back into the fund when they are able. It provides for all people in need and costs less than our current programs, and it completely heads off any "justification" for more bloated, inefficient government programs and regulations. It's simple and fair.

But what if people cheat?

If anyone can request it, won't people cheat? What if people who don't need assistance request it? Isn't that unfair?

The system of distribution of basic assistance implemented by the Uniting Amendment doesn't allow the government to decide who gets assistance and who doesn't, it let's those in need request and receive it without interference. It is likely that some people who don't need it will request it. Studies done on our current food assistance programs (which are administered by the government) show that about 1-2% of people lie to get benefits. Without any enforcement by the government, that would likely be higher. But how high would it be, maybe 10% or even 20%? The worst theoretical case would be if 100% of the people request benefits. That would be universal basic income. Basic assistance under the Uniting Amendment is much more efficient than that because only a fraction of the people will request assistance, which means less money will go much further than with a universal basic income. Most people are honest and many people have an aversion to receiving charity, so only a minority of the population will actually request and receive benefits. Also, the names of all of the people who request basic assistance, along with their financial information, is made public, so those who are well off will likely not apply because of the perceived loss of prestige that would result when their names are made public.

No need for a minimum wage

Having a simple method to provide basic assistance also means that there is no need for a minimum wage. If people know that they have a reliable safety net to fall back on, they will be in a position to demand a higher wage within a free market and would-be entrepreneurs will be more willing to take the risks necessary to start their own businesses. Wages will be higher without imposing pricing mandates on businesses and more businesses will be created.

Basic assistance provided through the Uniting Amendment is entirely consistent with the government's fundamental function to preserve our lives, liberty and property. Instead of using the force of an oppressive police state to quell domestic unrest, the Basic Assistance Fund helps to prophylactically protect against the conditions that could lead to that kind of rebellion.

From a macrocomonic perspective, the Basic Assistance Fund provides a massive buffer that keeps consumers spending during rough times to help smooth out the effects of periodic volatility while significantly reducing risks to political stability.

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