Basic Income Guarantee

It is unfortunate that so many libertarians are supporting, or entertaining support for, a Basic Income Guarantee  Pushing this idea in any shape or form would be especially regrettable for the Gary Johnson campaign.  It represents a "something for nothing" approach and serves to undermine goals that libertarians have long championed including self-help, mutual aid, and entrepreneurship

A Basic Income Guarantee also runs counter to Gary's repeated opposition to the use of government to give away "free stuff."   It is not something "better" than the status quo, or a "transition" to a libertarian alternative but rather a giant step backward.

A far better anti-poverty alternative to the status quo, which plays to our strengths as libertarians, is to push for an end to regulations which interfere with self-help and mutual aid such as zoning, building code regulations which hamper construction of modular and other forms of affordable housing, the war on drugs, licensing laws which protect the prosperous from competition, and eminent domain which has destroyed countless poor neighborhoods.

There are many distinguished scholars, such as Phil Magness and David Henderson, who can provide the campaign with additional powerful reasons for why a Basic Income Guarantee is a terrible idea. 

Of course, there are also compelling political reasons to oppose this idea.  Embracing a Basic Income Guarantee will alienate libertarians, conservatives, and others who fear, rightly, that it will strengthen big government and undermine liberty.

David T. Beito


Department of History

University of Alabama 
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