New Rep Ellen Troxclair introduces a bill based on Red Scare propaganda, going against all empirical data.
Last year, Brazil began a UBI program for 25% of the population in March. Poverty in that country has now reached an all-time low. Economists have studied the Permanent Fund in Alaska, a UBI of between $1,000 – $2,000 per year based on gas prices. They found that this check had no impact on employment.
Another study in Canada found that every $1 invested in the early years saves between $3 and $9 in future spending on the health and criminal justice systems and social assistance. This model would have eradicated poverty for our Northern neighbor. Considering we spend substantially more on both health and criminal justice than Canada, the outcome in America would be even better.
UBI (Universal Basic Income) has been successful in every single place it’s been tried. To date, no study hasn’t been one study that UBI programs have a negative socioeconomic impact.
That’s why it’s perplexing that new House Rep Ellen Troxclair filed a bill prohibiting UBI programs in Texas.
The consequences of poverty in America are substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition, food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and under-resourced schools.
Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several adverse outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and
socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays. Economists estimate that child poverty costs the U.S. economy an estimated $500 billion a year, reduces productivity and economic output by 1.3 percent of GDP, raises crime, and increases health expenditure.
Troxclair’s bill attacks Austin’s current UBI pilot program and any future UBI programs in other Texas towns.
Austin’s UBI pilot program sends monthly checks of $1,000 to 85 needy households at risk of losing their homes — an attempt to insulate low-income residents from Austin’s increasingly expensive housing market and prevent more people from becoming homeless.
Without this program, 85 families would likely fall into homelessness.
This leaves us to wonder…
Well, Troxclair tells us why in her weekly newsletter, and none of it is based on fact or empirical data.
Below, I’ll break down what she said and why it’s all complete bullshit.
Many of us agree that we shouldn’t be fighting McCarthyism in the 21st Century, but Troxclair appears to be a victim of the Third Red Scare, so let’s address it.
While we’ve all become accustomed to Republicans crying about Socialism or Marxism over literally everything, at this point, the vast majority of us understand that Republicans generally don’t know the definition of socialism. They’ve become angry villagers with pitchforks shouting hate while rejecting new or novel economic ideas.
Socialism means that private enterprise does not exist. Does UBI mean the government would take over every private company? No? Then it isn’t socialism.
UBI does not require workers or the government to control the means of production (factories, stores, farms, etc.). It is, therefore, by definition, not socialism.
Troxclair’s next point was that UBI undermines the labor market, making it harder for employers to find employees, increasing the costs of goods and services, and contributing to the rising cost of living.
Unlike current social welfare systems, a UBI would not penalize a person from receiving their benefits for working. Current social welfare systems are set up to be there if a person has a job loss, is disabled, or whose income is below the poverty level. If that person worked or received extra income, their benefits would disappear. That wouldn’t happen with UBI; a person could get a new job and still receive the check.
Instead of believing her our own bias, Troxclair needs to look at the data.
Economist Ioana Marinescu recently conducted a wide-ranging review of the literature on unconditional cash programs. She concluded, “Our fear that people will quit their jobs en masse if provided with cash for free is false and misguided.”
How many anti-poverty studies do you think Ellen Troxclair read before writing this bill?
The topic of UBI, while it might seem radical, has been studied and researched all across the world for decades. Time and time again, it has been shown to positively affect the economy, poverty, health, and crime rates, with little to no disruption to employment or taxes.
Yet, Troxclair is so angered by families getting to keep their homes and children in Texas not starving that she went out of her way to write a bill aimed at harming our most vulnerable populations.
But why does our society need UBI programs anyway?
The United States exhibits more inequality and disparities of wealth between rich and poor than any other major developed nation. In Texas, 20% of children live in food-insecure households. In addition, Texas had an estimated 27,229 experiencing homelessness on any given day.
While using UBI as a tool to combat poverty is a good method, over the next few decades, the need and use of UBI will become more common.
We talk a lot about manufacturing jobs, insourcing, outsourcing, and bringing back manufacturing to America in the political landscape. Yet, manufacturing workers have already been replaced by machines in many industries. One study estimates that about 400,000 jobs were lost to automation in U.S. factories from 1990 to 2007. But the drive to replace humans with machinery is accelerating as companies struggle to avoid workplace infections of COVID-19 and keep operating costs low.
Robots could replace as many as 2 million more workers in manufacturing alone by 2025 and up to 20 million jobs by 2030.
Manufacturing jobs are never coming back.
Automation. Every corporation out there is trying to figure out how they can automate their business.
It isn’t just manufacturing and factory jobs, either. Earlier this year, McDonald’s announced that they were testing robots in drive-thru capacities in Chicago. Last week, McDonald’s announced a partnership with IBM. They’re testing in Chicago was going well and now they’re looking to expand on the presence of AI at their fast-food chain.
Other restaurants are already implementing contactless ordering and delivery with robots, replacing their human staff.
Hundreds of thousands of oil and gas jobs will be taken over by robots by 2030. Over the last decade, over one-third of oil and gas jobs have been lost. This trend will not only continue but will pick up the pace as robots replace one of every five roughnecks in the coming years.
There are over one million truckers in Texas. FedEx has already deployed a dozen self-driving big-rigs in Texas, and fleet operator J.B. Hunt is also testing autonomous 18-wheelers in the Lone Star State. Each year, these self-driving trucks will take truckers’ jobs. It’s estimated that by 2030, up to 70% of trucking jobs will be gone because of autonomous vehicles.
With so many jobs expected to go to robots this next decade, where does that leave Americans who lose employment?
When we talk about Universal Basic Income (UBI), the Republicans shun it as Socialism. However, before the year 2030, UBI will become a necessity. Otherwise, people will starve, and crime rates will shoot through the roof.
Elon Musk said we would need UBI because physical work would be a choice. Musk himself is working on replacing his workforce with robots. So while in 2021, Tesla is looking to hire 10,000 employees in Texas, those won’t be permanent jobs, and robots will eventually replace each.
Andrew Yang said that technological advances, including AI, will deprive one in three American workers of their jobs during the next 12 years.
While America hasn’t been taken over by robots yet, it’s coming, and we need forward-thinking leaders.
Before even being sworn in, Ellen Troxclair proved incapable of being a forward-thinking leader. The very definition of “Conservative” is a person who is trying to “conserve.” Texas Republicans want to take us all back to the 1950s. They want to conserve their ideas of white supremacy and power. So, where does that leave the rest of us?
Since Troxclair based this bill on her opinion, when countless studies have proved that UBI is a good program for society and the economy, we refer back to our first question.
Stupid or evil?
The first day of the 88th Legislature will start January 10, 2023, and with terrible bills like these, hyper-focused on an imaginary culture war, we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Fret not. Living Blue in Texas will be there with you through the entire thing. Stay tuned.
You can now read an ad-free version of Living Blue in Texas and help support our mission to turn Texas blue. Sign up now.
You agree to receive updates from Living Blue in Texas by clicking submit. We will not sell or share your information. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt-out at any time.