Kamala Harris, Cory Booker ‘basic income’ plans likely remove work incentive, think tank says


Two Democrats in the U.S. Senate – both said to be eyeing the party’s 2020 presidential nomination — recently announced so-called “basic income” plans for America’s lower-income families. A liberal publication, meanwhile, says neither plan goes far enough to aid families, and the government should instead just start “writing them checks.”

In October, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., unveiled her LIFT the Middle Class Act. It would provide a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year to families earning less than $100,000 a year, and a credit of up to $3,000 for those earning less than $50,000 a year, the Washington Times reported.

But the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated earlier this month that Harris’s plan would add $2.8 trillion to the federal deficit over its first decade and another $3.4 billion over its second decade, the Washington Post reported.

Watchdog.org estimated that Booker’s plan would cost American taxpayers at least $60 billion annually.

But the Heritage Foundation’s Vijay Menon wrote last month that plans similar to the recent liberal proposals have been tried before – only to fail.

Menon writes that a “negative income tax” experiment ran in six states from 1968 to 1980, and was documented by libertarian writer Charles Murray, author of “Losing Ground.”

“In ‘Losing Ground,’” Menon writes, “Murray concluded that the effect of the negative income tax on reducing work was ‘unambiguous and strong.’ ”

“If recipients lost their jobs during the experiment,” Menon notes, “they experienced significantly longer spells of unemployment compared with non-recipients — more than two months longer for husbands, almost a year longer for wives, and longer still for single mothers.”

In summary, Menon writes, such plans are “a misguided approach.”

“Policy should be designed to reward work, rather than replace it,” Menon writes. Therefore, a better alternative to a universal basic income would be to expand the earned income tax credit.” – READ MORE

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