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A Guide to Basic Income: Frequently Asked Questions about UBI

Scott Santens
Scott Santens
5 min read
A Guide to Basic Income: Frequently Asked Questions about UBI

Over the years I've been asked many questions about the idea of an unconditional universal basic income guarantee. Some questions are asked far more than others, and so I've made a point of writing various articles to answer many of these questions. Whatever question you may have about UBI, please look below and see if there's a link for it. There's a good chance there will be. If there isn't, please let me know what you'd like to see me add next.


What is basic income and in general why should I support it?

Won't basic income simply lead to higher prices (e.g. inflation or hyperinflation), defeating the entire point of it?

Won't people given basic income just stop working? (Note: a peer-reviewed systematic review of the evidence can also be found here)

Where does the money come from for basic income?

Wouldn't it cost more than the entire federal budget to provide everyone basic income?

What's the correct way to calculate the cost of any particular UBI proposal?

Isn't basic income just communism/socialism/Marxism?

Should universal basic income really go to everyone, or would it be better to target it to those who need it the most?

Would it be better to use a phased-out design like a negative income tax (NIT) or a guaranteed income (GI) that phases out with income to exclude the rich?

Is basic income something that the rich and powerful are trying to trick the population into supporting in order to control the rest of us?

Won't basic income give the government too much power and make everyone easier to control by nurturing dependence?

What right if any do we have to unconditional basic income?

Do we need basic income because of automation? ... Are you sure?

Isn't basic income something we may need in the future, but not right now?

Is technological unemployment even real enough in an economy considered to be at full employment to warrant basic income?

Has the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that basic income should have already been implemented?

Didn't the stimulus checks cause high inflation and therefore prove UBI would too?

Don't policies like increased education and job training programs make more sense than basic income?

Why not just give people stuff like food and housing instead of cash they can use to buy food and housing? (Additional answer involving Soylent)

Why not just lower taxes instead of providing universal basic income?

I heard the Republican's FairTax proposal contains a basic income. Is that true?

Can we make robots pay for basic income?

Is there enough money for basic income?

No matter where the money comes from, isn't it just stealing earned money from those who work, to give unearned money to those who don't?

Is it true that basic income can even save us money? In what ways?

Can UBI reduce crime and violence by improving mental health?

What kind of taxes should exist alongside basic income?

How does basic income relate to climate change?

Would a carbon tax and dividend be a good first step toward a full UBI?

The enhanced child tax credit was essentially universal basic income for kids. Did it work? What were the impacts?

Have you crunched the numbers and have a somewhat detailed funding plan for basic income? (Here also is a very detailed plan from 2006)

How will people work if all they have is a basic income and robots take all the jobs?

Won't basic income hurt the economy and lead to lower productivity?

What are the effects of basic income on entrepreneurship?

Won't many people just waste their basic incomes on things like drugs, alcohol, and gambling?

Won't many people just waste their time watching movies and playing video games with basic income?

Won't immigration skyrocket as everyone rushes into the US to get their basic income?

What about kids? Should kids get basic income too?

Can universal basic income replace minimum wage?

Aren't jobs greatly responsible for our sense of community? So won't universal basic income decrease social cohesion?

Isn't basic income anti-freedom/anti-liberty?

Is basic income anti-market or can it actually improve the way markets function?

Don't we already have basic income, and we just call it welfare?

Won't the wealthiest be worse off with basic income?

Why would those in power ever support a basic income?

Why should we give money to anyone who doesn't need it?

Why is the unconditional aspect of UBI so important?

Isn't $1,000 per month too low to be considered sufficient for basic needs?

Should the amount of basic income vary by city because some places cost more than others?

Shouldn't all this talk about basic income actually be talk about basic resources?

Does basic income reduce or increase income/wealth inequality?

I've read that basic income will actually increase poverty. Is that true? Are you sure?

How can we design basic income policy in a way that does the most to reduce both income and wealth inequality permanently and sustainably?

How will basic income affect education and student debt?

Doesn't basic income leave traditionally marginalized groups and those with special needs worse off?

Will basic income leave single parents worse off?

Will basic income encourage new parents to work less?

Can basic income be considered a form of reparations?

Is there anyone who will be worse off with universal basic income?

Will the cost of basic income be borne on the shoulders of the middle class?

Isn't basic income simply just plain wrong in a moral sense?

Is basic income constitutional?

Did Finland's basic income experiment succeed or fail?

By what year at the latest will there be universal basic income in the United States?

Can we circumvent government and directly implement basic income via cryptocurrencies? | (See also: $UBI)

I read the above links and I laughed. Basic income is impossible. Are you stupid?

Questions About Me

Have you written any books about basic income?

What got you so into the idea of basic income?

What do you mean when you say you personally already have a basic income?

What's it like having a basic income?

What kind of work do you do every day other than writing?

Where can I watch the interviews and podcasts you've done?

Have you created any basic income slide decks I could study and even adapt/use?

Have you created an ongoing list of names of well-known people and organizations who support the idea of basic income?

Basic Income Movement Materials

What organization can I join to be a part of the basic income movement?

Where can I find a list of books about or involving basic income so I can study it in greater depth?

Where can I find a list of YouTube videos to learn more and share about basic income?

What are the top 25 best videos to watch about UBI?

Where can I study and discuss the idea of basic income with others?

Do you have a list of evidence I can research and use?

How do I add the rounded #basicincome hashtag to my name like you have on your Twitter account?

How can I keep up to date on everything basic income all over the world?

What can I do to help grow the movement for basic income?

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Scott Santens Twitter

Unconditional/Universal Basic Income (UBI) advocate with a crowdfunded basic income; Founder and President of ITSA Foundation, Author of Let There Be Money; Editor of

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