RUSH: Remember Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, did the commencement speech at Harvard this year? You remember what the central theme of his commencement speech was? Guaranteed national income. We need to have a guaranteed national income.
Now, he sold it on the basis that there’s so much automation coming that the United States has a responsibility to take care of the employees that are gonna be rendered unemployed because of the rapidly increasing automation that is occurring in so many American businesses.
Today the San Francisco Chronicle: “Why Universal Basic Income is Gaining Support, Critics.” Apparently — and I knew it wasn’t a one-off. I knew when Zuckerberg did this that it wasn’t just something he thought of the night before amd decided to mention in the speech. I knew it was a campaign. It’s what the left does. They come up with campaigns. They strategize these things months, years in advance. Zuckerberg was the rollout of it.
The next aspect of the rollout is today in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which many renowned thinkers — including many libertarians — are eager to sign up and support this. The libertarians, one of them is Charles Murray, who is one of the most profound sociologists and political scientists in the country. Many people have assumed that Murray is conservative. He’s actually more libertarian. But he says this is a great idea if the guaranteed universal basic income replaces all welfare, all food stamps.
He says get rid of the bureaucracy, get rid of all of these welfare bureaucracies and replace it with one payment of $13,000 per year to every American to let them do with whatever they want. Except $6,000 of it has to go to health care (chuckles) or $2,500. I forget the exact number. It’s $13,000 minus whatever they are going to require every American to spend on health insurance. And it’s got every important figure in Silicon Valley signing on to it and agreeing with it. And, by the way, Silicon Valley is now the new home of the energized left-wing movement in the media.
Washington and New York are a close second, but the energy, the leadership, and the impetus for much of this is now coming out of Silicon Valley. So universal basic income. If the Chronicle story is accurate, there are more people than you would believe signing onto this, thinking it’s a great idea, and they’re using as their cover for it the oncoming onslaught of job loss brought about by robotics and automation.
They’re using the fact that we’re a compassionate country. “We just can’t leave people to be wandering aimlessly on the streets after their jobs are lost because of technological improvements such as automation, robotics, and all this sort of thing.” It’s being portrayed as a very compassionate thing. But it doesn’t erase the age-old argument about stipends, welfare: What does it do to one’s character? What does it do to the backbone of America?
RUSH: This is universal income. You may not have heard about it yet, but remember, if you listen to this program regularly, you’ll be on the cutting edge of societal evolution. You will know of things headed your way before they get there and before they show up in mass media, Drive-By, what have you.
Now, universal guaranteed income, universal basic income, not a new idea because it’s part of Marxism, it’s part of socialism and communism. It’s been around since the days of Marx and Engels. It’s taken many forms and in fact many people would argue we already have it. If you have combined welfare benefits for certain Americans, that it totals, essentially, a guaranteed income.
And if you throw Social Security into it, not considered welfare, but it is an entitlement, if you throw the income in there, throw the money at it, then you already basically do have a significant percentage of the population already receiving significant sums of money from the government, which means that people are receiving significant sums of money from their neighbors, the taxpayers.
But actually calling this universal basic income is new in the sense of the terminology, the words being used. And the first shot across the bow was delivered by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, a Harvard dropout. He dropped out when Facebook took off. He left Cambridge, Massachusetts, and moved out to Silicon Valley, which is where you have to be if you want to be big in the tech world. So he went out there and has just continued to grow, and Facebook’s what it is, now two billion users. Stop and think of that. Two billion users.
So in his commencement speech he posits the idea of a universal basic income as a compassionate thing to do, as a fair thing to do, as a sustainable procedure, guaranteed universal basic income would be sustainable income for people who are being ravaged by technological evolution in America.
One of the first selling points for this, in order to persuade people to go along with it, is, “Well, look at all the poor people who, through no fault of their own, are gonna be rendered unemployed because of automation. Artificial intelligence, robotics, it’s exploding. Self-driving cars. Eventually Uber is not gonna need people to drive their cars –” so goes the story “– and it’s the only thing we can do. A compassionate country would take care of its citizens that are forced out of work because of modernization and technology.”
And it has many more adherents than you would believe. And by that I mean it’s got many adherents that are not progressive. San Francisco Chronicle today: “Why Universal Basic Income is Gaining Support.” And what it essentially is, as it’s been proposed, is monthly cash payments from the government to every individual, working or not, no strings attached. Silicon Valley CEOs, executives, and celebrities are behind it.
One of the things that is driving this, by the way — and do not doubt me on this — these Silicon Valley people want people to have enough money to buy their products, to buy their services. And they would love for that money to not have to come from them. Facebook doesn’t want to have to subsidize some of its user base. Have the government do it.
So they come out and support universal basic income as a big-hearted idea, as a compassionate idea when it really is advocating the usage of taxpayer money to provide every American, working or not — in this case the starting number is $13,000 a year — and they would have the money to buy an iPhone. They would have the money to join Facebook. They would have the money, rather than be unemployed, and even if they’re unemployed, still have $13,000 a year to do something with.
“Some see it as a way to compensate for the traditional jobs with benefits that will be wiped out by robotics, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, globalization and the gig economy. Others see it as a way to reduce income inequality or to create a more efficient, less stigmatizing safety net than our current mishmash of welfare benefits.”
Get that. To create a more efficient, less stigmatizing safety net than our current mishmash of welfare benefits. Elon Musk of Tesla is a huge supporter. He says, “I think ultimately we will have to have some kind of universal basic income, I don’t think we are going to have a choice.”
You’ll note, folks, there’s a point here I must make. We are currently mired, and I would say we are stuck, in an economy with a growth rate of one to one-and-a-half percent a year. It has been stuck at that growth rate ever since Obama. You might say, “Well, Obama is ever since the Great Recession of 2008.” Yes, but that Great Recession of 2008 was seized upon as an opportunity by every progressive under the sun, including Obama, as the excuse why there never will be any more than one-and-a-half percent growth.
You’ll note here that this discussion of universal basic income assumes that there isn’t — let me put this a different way. When I was growing up, the talk of universal basic income would have gotten you laughed out of the group you were in. It would have been condemned. You would have been laughed at. The answer then was a growing economy that you could go out and become part of and make your mark.
And this is where the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and work hard, get your desire, have your ambition, do your education, and get going and take over the world.” That’s not part of what’s happening in America today. What’s happening in America today is nothing but doom and gloom — I’m talking about education — pessimism. Permanent decline. America has seen its best days. Generations doing better than parents? That’s over. We’re not gonna be able to do that anymore.
The experts are saying — the professors are saying, the teachers are telling us, the presidents of the Democrat Party are telling us this — that those old days of 5% growth, 6% growth? “Those were actually days of inequality and unfairness and discrimination because not everybody participated, and it was phony. It was because the United States is unjust and unfair! We didn’t deserve a growth rate like that when nobody else in the world had it. So now we’re just like everybody else, trudging along at 1% growth,” except we’re not.
The Chinese are outgrowing us like bandits and a whole bunch of other nations around the world are having growth rates in their economy much greater than ours. But we have leadership that for the last eight years was happy — and loved to tell people — about the permanent decline or the new normal that we were in. It empowered them. Because if you couldn’t rely on your country’s economy to get ahead, if you couldn’t rely on a workforce or a workplace — if you couldn’t rely on going to school, getting an education, striking out on your own and succeeding — if you can’t count on that, what do you have to count on?
Somebody’s gotta do something, and that’s the case the progressives have set up. Why? There is a specific reason why, folks, and it is crucial that you understand this. It’s not just that a growth rate of 1.5%, maybe 2% if we’re lucky on one quarter… It’s not just that that has been arbitrarily chosen, and it’s not because it’s just what naturally occurred. Have you noticed…? It’s subtle, but have you noticed that whenever the subject of economic growth comes up… When Trump prepared economic growth of 3%, do you remember what they said about him?
They castigated Trump for daring to taunt people, to tease people with the idea of 3% growth, that it isn’t possible. “It’s outrageous to suggest something like that, to create so many false expectations.” Why, then, is every progressive under the sun, every Democrat, content at 1.5% growth? And why is any growth greater than that forbidden? The answer is — dadelut dadelut dadelut dadelut dadelut — environmentalism! The left, in their pursuit of climate change, has done what? They have blamed progress for the destruction of the planet.
They have blamed economic growth and the things that result from it for destroying the planet, for killing animals, birds and plants and people. The left is simply uninterested in economic growth, because environmentalism, by definition, must be anti-growth. If economic expansion — if more fossil fuels, if more cars, if more travel, if more progress — leads to the destruction of the planet, then we can’t permit it, can we? This, as far as I’m concerned, makes the left an even bigger bunch of sitting ducks.
Because of their weddedness, because of their devotion to climate change and environmentalism, they cannot permit economic growth. They have to oppose it whenever it happens. They have to stifle it, because they’ve set themselves up as guardians and saviors of the planet. And they’ve been telling us for 30 years that it is progress and technological advancement — carbon fuel, carbon this, carbon that — that’s destroying the planet. Look at these cases out in California who just authorized cap and trade again to fight climate change. Even the Republicans go along with it out there, they have been so hoodwinked.
But if you do that — if you sign on to economic growth of 1% — it means that you have bought hook, line, and sinker the propaganda of the environmentalist movement, which is that robust economic activity and economic growth is causing environmental damage. That will lead to the destruction of the planet. This can’t be permitted. So we have the left in many cases right where we want them. They are wedded to economic stagnation. They have glued themselves to it! It is required. The economy cannot grow, the economy cannot be robust, and it’s not gonna grow with wind and solar and renewable.
It just isn’t. There isn’t enough of it; it’s too inefficient. It doesn’t produce enough energy. It’s a pipe dream. Fossil fuels are the only thing that will grow a major economy such as ours for the foreseeable future, and who is it that opposes that? The Democrat Party, the American left, and the media. So because they have wedded themselves to a radical environmental agenda, they have automatically also wedded themselves to economic stagnation. In fact, economic stagnation is the cure for their primary cause of mad environmentalism.
Well, in the midst of economic stagnation, what do you have? You have poverty and you have more and more people in the lower middle class. “We need a guaranteed universal income.” That is their solution. Their solution is not economic growth. Their solution is not rising standards of living. Note this, particularly if you’re a Millennial. Today’s progressives, Democrats do not support economic growth. They support basic sustenance, sustainable — what would you call it? — minimalism, giving you just enough, $13,000 a year.
So that you could join Facebook, stream some audio and video, and buy some food, and save the planet at the same time. The way children are being inspired, motivated, and educated today is totally different from when you and I were growing up, folks. Now there is no magic available. There is no great success momentous progress, because that will destroy the planet. So right on schedule, here comes guaranteed universal income.
RUSH: About this guaranteed universal basic income, I want to warn you, folks, this is coming. It’s got supporters from all sides of the political spectrum. Charles Murray. There are people who have gone back and found in a Milton Friedman book that he supports — a lot of people are not gonna believe that. Well, there are five reasons purportedly why Friedman supported it. I’m gonna research it further. But it sounds almost identical to what Charles Murray is quoted as saying here in this San Francisco Chronicle story.
You get rid of food stamps. You get rid of welfare, every welfare program, you get rid of it. You get rid of AFDC. Get rid of all these bureaucracies, you close them down, and you just instead give everybody $13,000 a year. We’re doing it anyway. The point is we’re doing it anyway. Let’s change the structure and let’s incentivize it and let’s get rid of all this bureaucracy. The Democrats are never gonna support this. This is what Zuckerberg has yet to find out.
If it actually ends up being proposed as it’s being sold here, the Democrats don’t want to get rid of welfare. They don’t want to close those bureaucracies. They want to be in charge of who gets the money, and they want to make sure the recipients know that it was the Democrats that got it for ’em, not some national policy.
If there is a guaranteed universal basic income that’s gonna be handed out, the Democrats are not gonna allow it to happen without their fingerprints being on it. And if you close down every welfare agency, you get rid of food stamps, you get rid of — take your pick. I mean, folks, the redundancy in the, quote, unquote, welfare bureaucracy would stun you! How many different welfare programs there are.
Charles Murray is a Libertarian, and he says, if you read this purported quote from Milton Friedman’s book, same thing, close it all down, call it essentially a negative income tax. You start out with $13,000 as the starting figure, and they use that as an example. Somebody makes $30,000. As they earn more than 30, the 13 dwindles to a basic minimum of $5,600. Everybody would, at the end of day, no matter what else they make, get $6,500 for, in modern times, to be able to buy health insurance.
But get ready for it, because it’s coming and being sponsored by George Soros, sponsored by Zuckerberg, all of Silicon Valley. I haven’t seen a lot of Democrat names attached to it yet. As I say, if it’s proposed in the way it’s presented here, they’re gonna have trouble with it ’cause they don’t want the welfare bureaucracy to go away.