21 votes

What if Andrew Yang was right? Mitt Romney has joined the chorus of voices calling for all Americans to receive free money directly from the government

26 comments

  1. [4]
    knocklessmonster
    (edited )
    Link
    The issue is these ideological outliers (the conservatives pushing for allegedly socialist practices such as social welfare programs and UBI policies) are asking for these measures with one huge...

    The issue is these ideological outliers (the conservatives pushing for allegedly socialist practices such as social welfare programs and UBI policies) are asking for these measures with one huge caveat: "During this crisis." Romney isn't going to want to keep this program going because he'd be concerned about losing his base, regardless of how is immigrant father was dependent upon American welfare systems to generate his own wealth that Romney then benefited from. Gingrich will likely flip, too. Yang considered it not because of an emergent pandemic, but because of the possibility that some such need could arise in every day life with the same stakes, but on an individual/single family basis.

    I would hope it doesn't play out as badly as I think it does, but I think as soon as this pandemic is over the same folks are going to try to roll these measures back, if they don't try to get them passed as temporary measures in the first place. I like Yang's optimism as much as I like Yang, but I think he'll be disappointed.

    16 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      A temporary measure is urgently needed and is much more likely to pass quickly. I don't expect it to become permanent, but having some experience with It will make doing it permanently seem...

      A temporary measure is urgently needed and is much more likely to pass quickly. I don't expect it to become permanent, but having some experience with It will make doing it permanently seem somewhat more feasible.

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        Certainly. Widespread familiarity with odd concepts is important for their acceptance. Praising Romney for being suprisingly-progressive, however, would be misplaced in this case. I think that's...

        Certainly. Widespread familiarity with odd concepts is important for their acceptance.

        Praising Romney for being suprisingly-progressive, however, would be misplaced in this case. I think that's what @knocklessmonster was conveying.

        7 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Yeah, temporary cash seems pretty centrist.

          Yeah, temporary cash seems pretty centrist.

          2 votes
  2. [2]
    Micycle_the_Bichael
    (edited )
    Link
    A couple of short thoughts on this: As @knocklessmonster said, most republicans coming out for this stuff only want it to last/extend for as long as there is a pandemic and then end it. Given that...

    A couple of short thoughts on this:

    1. As @knocklessmonster said, most republicans coming out for this stuff only want it to last/extend for as long as there is a pandemic and then end it. Given that R's hold the majority in Congress right now and the presidency I would assume that they would be successful in this venture. The counter-argument to that would be "It is a lot harder to take something away from people once they have it than it is to convince people something is a good idea." I'm not sold that there would be a massive public outcry if this was implemented for the duration of the pandemic and then ended, nor am I convinced that Congressional R's or Trump would give a fuck if there was public outcry.

    2. I've been a fan of UBI, I think its a smart, ethical, and necessary proposal. That said, the limited reading I have done on it I don't like Yang's version of UBI. That's based on a couple articles here and there as Yang was running for president + a couple of local politicians/candidates who were vocal supporters of UBI saying they support UBI but not Yang's version of UBI.

    Edit: some questions I asked further down the thread that I am adding here in hopes of hearing more people's views:
    https://tildes.net/~news/mtl/what_if_andrew_yang_was_right_mitt_romney_has_joined_the_chorus_of_voices_calling_for_all_americans#comment-4r2l

    9 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      I doubt even Yang expects us to end up with Yang's version of UBI. It would be a big victory if any version passes.

      I doubt even Yang expects us to end up with Yang's version of UBI. It would be a big victory if any version passes.

      2 votes
  3. [2]
    patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    The R's will be for temporary subsidy under the "Two Santa Claus Strategy". Right now, temporary UBI provides Republicans with the opportunity to look like they're doing something and they care,...

    The R's will be for temporary subsidy under the "Two Santa Claus Strategy".

    Right now, temporary UBI provides Republicans with the opportunity to look like they're doing something and they care, with an election pending. The wrecking ball will be deployed against the remains of the U.S. social safety net and public institutions the instant Republican power is solidified again, using budget deficits as an excuse. You cannot be too cynical about this - they will not learn lessons from the public health crisis any more than they did in 2008.

    Oh, and every bill will have a load of "poison pill" amendments that R's know D's can't tolerate without alienating their constituents, like abortion restrictions. If a proposed bill might benefit Democrats politically, the usual suspects will suddenly decide that this is something Democrats are underhanded about, and try to slow-walk the bill for inspection.

    We need more than UBI to get through this. We need the enormous cash stockpiles of the biggest companies to subsidize the smaller ones which are both most impacted and employ the most people.

    8 votes
    1. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      Yup. The reason they're behind cash payments now is because the traditional ways to stave off massive depression would have involved expansions of existing government programs including...

      Yup. The reason they're behind cash payments now is because the traditional ways to stave off massive depression would have involved expansions of existing government programs including unemployment insurance, subsidized bridge loans to small business, expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage, etc.

      It's actually much cheaper and less effective to do direct cash transfers because it's less targeted and doesn't really guarantee that anyone is getting their needs met.

      2 votes
  4. [3]
    krg
    Link
    George Dubya Bush (R) sent out a $600 stimulus check during his administration, so this isn't really unheard of.

    George Dubya Bush (R) sent out a $600 stimulus check during his administration, so this isn't really unheard of.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah, that's the precedent I was trying to remember. Obama did a 2% payroll tax cut which turned out to be a bad idea because people don't notice a slight change. Trump wanted to do a big payroll...

      Yeah, that's the precedent I was trying to remember.

      Obama did a 2% payroll tax cut which turned out to be a bad idea because people don't notice a slight change. Trump wanted to do a big payroll tax cut but Congress wasn't buying it.

      6 votes
      1. patience_limited
        Link Parent
        Payroll tax cuts don't do anything for the unemployed, laid-off, self-employed, tipped labor, and others who don't have regular paychecks.

        Payroll tax cuts don't do anything for the unemployed, laid-off, self-employed, tipped labor, and others who don't have regular paychecks.

        3 votes
  5. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    At a press conference today, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the Trump administration is discussing sending checks to Americans "immediately" to help cushion the economic...
    8 votes
    1. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      Quotes like this really make me think Trump would set up a Cash4Gold scheme if he could.

      "Americans need cash now,"

      Quotes like this really make me think Trump would set up a Cash4Gold scheme if he could.

      1 vote
  6. [11]
    JXM
    Link
    My understanding of what Mitt Romney suggested was a one time payment, whereas Andrew Yang is suggesting an ongoing payment. To me, those are two completely different things. Romney's one time...

    My understanding of what Mitt Romney suggested was a one time payment, whereas Andrew Yang is suggesting an ongoing payment.

    To me, those are two completely different things. Romney's one time payment is to help people get through short term issues whereas Yang's UBI proposal is a long term commitment that would drastically change the way Americans live.

    6 votes
    1. [10]
      Micycle_the_Bichael
      Link Parent
      I think you're 99% right on the two proposals, the only slight thing I would say for clarity is Mitt Romney's plan is to do a one-time payment for now with the understanding that if the pandemic...

      I think you're 99% right on the two proposals, the only slight thing I would say for clarity is Mitt Romney's plan is to do a one-time payment for now with the understanding that if the pandemic continues for longer than a month that another payment will be needed. Basically his plan is "once a month until things get back to normal"

      5 votes
      1. [9]
        JXM
        Link Parent
        You're right. Looking into it, I should have said "temporary payments" instead of "one time payments". The article I saw didn't mention that there could be additional payments but that does seem...

        You're right. Looking into it, I should have said "temporary payments" instead of "one time payments". The article I saw didn't mention that there could be additional payments but that does seem to be Romney's plan.

        4 votes
        1. [8]
          Micycle_the_Bichael
          Link Parent
          IMO its a very minor distinction as I expect them to fight tooth and nail for it to only be a one time payment even if it should span multiple months, but I did want to add that in case you/others...

          IMO its a very minor distinction as I expect them to fight tooth and nail for it to only be a one time payment even if it should span multiple months, but I did want to add that in case you/others were unaware of that point :)

          2 votes
          1. [7]
            JXM
            Link Parent
            I agree that it's a minor distinction. The key here is temporary versus permanent support. If this did go forward, I think Republicans would put a very heavy emphasis on trying these temporary...

            I agree that it's a minor distinction. The key here is temporary versus permanent support. If this did go forward, I think Republicans would put a very heavy emphasis on trying these temporary payments with the economic effects of the virus.

            4 votes
            1. [6]
              Micycle_the_Bichael
              Link Parent
              I agree. Something I am curious on which branches in slightly different directions: Let's say the "Romney Temporary UBI" passes and is continued monthly based on how long the pandemic lasts. Do we...

              I agree. Something I am curious on which branches in slightly different directions:

              1. Let's say the "Romney Temporary UBI" passes and is continued monthly based on how long the pandemic lasts. Do we think there is a tipping point for when it is considered normalized. If yes, when. I'm also curious what life has to look like if we are to a point where we are in a social distancing existence for multiple months.

              2. Assuming we hit this critical mass where the UBI is normalized and expected, do you think that congress would pass a UBI bill? A normalized UBI reminds me of (historically) cutting Social Security: its a third rail many politicians wont touch because AARP and older voters want their social security, and are a huge voting block. I'm not saying it will be viewed the same as social security, more "I can see a world where it is similarly politically bad to cut UBI as it was social security".

              3. Again, assuming we hit a tipping point for UBI, what do you think the UBI bill looks like. A democratic house could (but probably wont) write a very solid UBI bill, but w/ Trump in office and R's holding congress I don't know what the final bill would look like. Though if we get to a point where it is November and we are still in a pandemic state then who the fuck knows what will happen in elections.

              5 votes
              1. [5]
                JXM
                Link Parent
                I think that they would not let it last for more than a few months. If it went any longer than that, people might start to see just how nice having an extra $1,000 per month is. And I think the...

                I think that they would not let it last for more than a few months. If it went any longer than that, people might start to see just how nice having an extra $1,000 per month is. And I think the current congress is very cognizant of that.

                I also don't think there's a chance in hell that the current congressional class would pass a UBI bill. I'd honestly be surprised if they passed a temporary one or anything beyond a one time payment, but even that is a long shot.

                If it did gain traction and somehow a permanent UBI bill became a reality, I think that it would be very limited. I doubt it would just be a blanket "universal" income. There would most likely be tons of restrictions on what could get you kicked off of the list of people who get UBI. Convicted of a crime? You're off "the list" Even though people who have gone through the criminal justice system and are trying to reform at the people who could use this the most. I could also see limits on what it can be spent on, similar to how SNAP benefits are limited to certain food items (although obviously not limited to food).

                4 votes
                1. [4]
                  NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  Except this isn't an "extra" $1,000 a month. It's $1,000 a month to make up for lost income. It's functionally just unemployment insurance.

                  If it went any longer than that, people might start to see just how nice having an extra $1,000 per month is.

                  Except this isn't an "extra" $1,000 a month. It's $1,000 a month to make up for lost income. It's functionally just unemployment insurance.

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    JXM
                    Link Parent
                    I should have been more specific. I meant an extra $1,000 cushion between you losing your job and having zero income.

                    I should have been more specific. I meant an extra $1,000 cushion between you losing your job and having zero income.

                    2 votes
                    1. [2]
                      NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      We already have that in the form of unemployment insurance though. And Republicans have felt free to cut into that for years. In the 2008 recession they actually tried to cut it as part of the...

                      We already have that in the form of unemployment insurance though. And Republicans have felt free to cut into that for years. In the 2008 recession they actually tried to cut it as part of the TARP bailout.

                      1 vote
                      1. JXM
                        Link Parent
                        Which is why we're in the situation where we are now. The net just isn't there for a lot of people who are living on the precipice when it comes to their finances.

                        And Republicans have felt free to cut into that for years.

                        Which is why we're in the situation where we are now. The net just isn't there for a lot of people who are living on the precipice when it comes to their finances.

                        1 vote
  7. skybrian
    Link
    From the interview:

    From the interview:

    Yang: I’m getting more and more encouraged. Because if you look, you see a range of economists from Jason Furman to Nouriel Roubini coming out for it. Commentators from Anand Giridharadas to Geraldo Rivera. And now with Mitt Romney coming out, you have Republicans as well as folks like AOC and Ro Khanna. So people are waking up to the common sense that the only way we’re going to help our people manage this crisis is by putting cold, hard cash into our hands as quickly as possible. I’m increasingly optimistic that common sense will prevail and Congress will pass this before too many lives fall apart.

    5 votes