Americans split on UBI

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 15.24.10 PM
Americans are closely split on a UBI program…

A recent mail survey is drawing unsurprising conclusions about American’s willingness to fund a Universal Basic Income program for those who lose their jobs due to job-displacing Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Note the distinction: According to the survey report, researchers did not ask about American’s willingness to fund a truly universal basic income. Instead it focused on a program designed only to help those who lost their jobs due to AI.

Such a limited program is a good step forward were it to be implemented. But it falls well short of what advocates seek, which is a basic income for everyone.

Which makes the survey findings quite interesting. For only half of Americans would be willing to support a limited UBI program. Of the number of Americans willing to support such a program, only half of those people would be willing to pay for such a program through taxes. Interestingly, but again, not surprisingly, 80 percent of supporters believe companies benefitting from AI advances should pay for the program. Again note an interesting distinction: Respondents aren’t saying all companies should pay for such a program. Since such a program is likely to cost in the billions, seems that could make such a program untenable, as the cost savings of such a transition could be offset by the costs of funding such  a program.

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 15.28.26 PM
….but they don’t want to pay for it.

Again, not surprisingly progressives are significantly more willing to fund such a program compared to conservatives. Same goes with young people over older people: the older the respondent, the less willing to support such a program.

There are arguments out there claiming AI will create more jobs than it will eliminate. Which is interesting because general majority public opinion says it will destroy more jobs than it creates. You can read the entire article here and read the researcher report here.

Leave a Reply