Magazine August 12, 2019, Issue

A UBI Would Undermine Work

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential candidates debate in Miami, Fla., June 27, 2019. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
Gains from employment are not just material

Universal basic income (UBI) made its national debut on June 27, when businessman Andrew Yang appeared alongside nine other candidates for the second night of the Democratic primary debate. Yang used his two minutes and 50 seconds of speaking time to pitch this economic miracle cure.

To hear Yang tell it, his “Freedom Dividend” would heal an ailing United States by granting an unconditional payment of $12,000 per year to every adult American. The results would be astonishing. “We’d save money on things like incarceration, homelessness services, emergency-room health care,” he said, “and just the value gains of having a stronger,

This article appears as “Idleness Is Lonely ” in the August 12, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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