An interviewer doesn't know how to handle his guest because he got something quite unexpected.

A great idea from someone you wouldn't expect.

In a 1968 interview, William F. Buckley Jr. sat down with the legendary conservative economist Milton Friedman to talk about something called the negative income tax.

What is a negative income tax, you ask?


Friedman's negative income tax proposed that we eliminate poverty with one fell swoop by providing everyone with a livable income, no matter what their employment status is.

Wow, right?

Before we move forward, let's acknowledge that there's something not quite perfect about an old white guy coming in to save the "helpless poor people" (see The White Savior Industrial Complex). But Friedman's idea of a negative income tax is worth discussing not because he's such a nice guy; it's worth discussing because it's a valuable policy idea.

A variation of Friedman's plan is often referred to as a guaranteed basic income. Here's how the blog io9 describes it:

"The idea of a guaranteed basic income, also referred to as unconditional or universal basic income, is starting to gain traction in many parts of the world, both in developed and developing nations. It's actually a very simple idea: Everyone in society receives a single basic income to provide for a comfortable living whether they choose to work or not. Importantly, it's only intended to be enough for a person to survive on. The money for this social welfare scheme could come from the government or some other public institution, in addition to funds or income received from other sources. It could be taxable, or non-taxable, and divvyed (sic) up on a continual basis, monthly, or annually."

Perhaps the biggest red flag might be that when we just give people money, it could destroy their incentive to work. But as Vox explains, the effects would probably not be as detrimental as some might fear:

"As noted above, a real basic income has never been implemented across a whole country, which makes macroeconomic effects hard to predict. But we do have some experimental evidence on the question of work effort, drawn from the negative income tax experiments in the US and Canada in the 1970s. Those studies found that work effort declined when a negative income tax was imposed, as predicted, but that the effect was quite small. Moreover, most of the reduction in work effort appeared to come from people taking longer stints of unemployment. That can be a bad thing, but it can also mean that people aren't settling for second-best jobs and holding out for ones that are better fits for them. That'd actually be good, economically. Additionally, the work effect reduction for young people appeared to come entirely from increased school attendance— also a desirable outcome."

Now, Friedman was probably not predicting driverless cars, 3D printing, or a whole host of other technological advances that will increasingly replace humans in the workplace, but let's face it: We need a plan for when the robots take over everything. Again, io9:

"Advocates argue that a basic income is essential to a comprehensive strategy for reducing poverty because it offers extra income with no strings attached. But looking ahead to the future, we may have little choice but to implement it. Given the ever-increasing concentration of wealth and the frightening prospect of technological unemployment, it will be required to prevent complete social and economic collapse. It's not a question of if, but how soon."

Hard to argue with eliminating poverty and saving the world from collapse, right? I mean, you could argue with that, but I would just listen to Friedman instead.

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P.S. William F. Buckley Jr. says a few things (sigh, stereotypes) that will make you facepalm — apologies in advance.

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Facebook / Colette Kingston

A sanitation worker near Kansas City, Missouri is inspiring others with his kind act that was caught on camera.

Billy Shelby, 50, was collecting trash when he witnessed Opal Zucca, 88, fall trying to bring her bin back to her house. So for the last 10 months, he's been doing it for her to make sure it never happens again.

Zucca's daughter, Colette Kingston, found out what Shelby was doing thanks to video from her mother's Ring surveillance camera. Inspired by Shelby's big heart, Kingston shared the video on Facebook, which shows the man holding Zucca's hand and chatting with her as they walk up her driveway.

[facebook https://www.facebook.com/colette.kingston/videos/10157439423166067/?__xts__[0]=68.ARAscWKURe6rWEKLRnQ_5sWIi4WcZIEEKnOrHMI_SQdqBABzCvAx0424B00HLADEN7jv-T000f7zbTnxj07wUCSwjlkiZ9YynvDvr3Pl3VbTgtFldJtZyQZLQucNcqefmGbsCe8poRbKaZ4mSRnDh1iibGs_Bbt5yOvcUzGuuhobKnTBWC3HQ44qBGL-1gPut0ppiODGWE4Bh5mRlfIDi8RNZKI4Ag&__tn__=-R expand=1]

"God bless you as always, darling!" Shelby says to Zucca. "You're looking good. That hair! You got it down!"

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If there's one thing that unites us all, it's the inevitability of death. That may sound morbid, and it's not something most of us care to think about, but our mortality is something every person on Earth has in common.

However, ideas and beliefs about what dying means are as diverse as humanity itself. So when someone manages to nail a universal truth about death, we pay attention. And when someone does so in a way that touches us deeply, we share it as a way to say, "Look at this gorgeous evidence of our shared human experience."

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via Lyft

One of the most under-reported challenges to lifting people out of the cycle of poverty is transportation. The vast majority of American cities are car-dependent and jobs are increasingly moving towards suburban areas. This puts the urban poor in a terrible position, with many jobs out of town and inaccessible without a car.

A recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia detailed the problem, saying:

"In nearly every discussion held … access to reliable transportation was discussed as a necessary component of economic mobility and quality of life. Many residents in northeastern Pennsylvania — especially lower-income or elderly residents — couldn't access employment, were missing doctor's appointments, couldn't get their children to child care, and couldn't participate in social, religious, and cultural events, all as a result of the lack of transportation. Residents from the region who did not own a car were stuck — literally and figuratively."

As part of a $50 million commitment to "improve our cities through transportation infrastructure, donated transportation, and sustainability initiatives" ride hailing app Lyft has launched a new program designed to help low-income people overcome their transportation obstacles.

RELATED: A blind inventor created a 'smart cane' with Google Maps to help visually-impaired people get around

Lyft's Jobs Access Program aims to close short-term transportation gaps related to employment access and job training. It will provide people with free rides to job interviews and, if hired, free transportation to and from work until their first paycheck.

"We know that for the unemployed, reliable transportation to a job interview or to the first few weeks of work can mean the difference between successful, long-term employment and lost opportunities," a Lyft spokesperson told Upworthy.

via Lyft

Lyft aims to help immigrants, refugees, the formerly incarcerated, people with disabilities, and low-income workers or unemployed people living in low-income areas through the program.

"There's so many different types of candidates we're aiming to help," Mike Masserman, Lyft's head of social impact and former executive director for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy under the Obama Administration, told Fast Company.

"One example is the 18- to 24-year-old person who might be going to their very first job, or doesn't have a way of getting to their job interview . . . In some cases, folks are taking four different buses to get to work."

RELATED: Pizza guy whose quick thinking saved a woman's life gets the reward of a lifetime

The program is available in over 35 markets throughout the U.S. and Canada via Lyft's partners, including: United Way and 211, The USO, Goodwill, National Down Syndrome Society, Year Up, Generation, #cut50 (Dream Corps), The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, and Upwardly Global.

Lyft will provide ride credits to the nonprofits to distribute among their clientele as they see fit.

"We really defer to our nonprofit partners on that," says Masserman. "They're the ones that understand their constituency base the best."

Those who are interested in the Jobs Access Program and aren't currently affiliated with any of the aforementioned nonprofits can reach out to the United Way via it's 211 help number to learn more about their eligibility.

Prosperity

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is famous for her workouts. When the documentary RBG came out, the trailer started with her pumping iron (or rather, hand weights). In 2017, her personal trainer, Bryant Jonhson, even wrote a book about her, entitled The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong ... And You Can Too! And when she did her fitness routine with Stephen Colbert, he struggled. The 86-year-old Supreme Court justice still gets her reps in, even after her recent bout with pancreatic cancer. Like that's going to stop her?


Stephen Works Out With Ruth Bader Ginsburg youtu.be


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