Switzerland Dodges a Bullet

The people of Switzerland demonstrated that their knowledge in mathematics is still sound. There was a proposal to implement universal basic income (UBI) and the people voted it down by a wide measure:

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all.

Final results from Sunday’s referendum showed that nearly 77% opposed the plan, with only 23% backing it.

When I posted this link on Facebook one of my friends asked what my problem with UBI is. While there are a plethora of economic arguments to make against it my only real objection is the fact it can’t be implemented without government violence.

The wealth needed to fund UBI has to come from somewhere. There are two popular methods that governments use to fund their programs. The most common one is the seizing of wealth from the general populace, which is sometimes referred by the far more cuddly term “taxation”. If the Swiss government opted to fund UBI through taxation it would have been pulling the usual government routine of putting a gun to everybody’s head, demanding a tithe, and kidnapping and imprisoning anybody who refused to pay the tithe. As usual, if their intended kidnapping victims refused to go quietly they would be murdered.

The other common method governments use to fund their programs is printing money. This scam is more insidious since it doesn’t rely on overt violence. Instead of sending men with guns to thump skulls, a money printing scam steals wealth from anybody holding the government’s currency (this is why you don’t want to mess with government currency unless you’re under duress) by devaluing it. As more money is printed the purchasing power of each unit already in circulation diminishes.

No matter how you shake it, UBI can only be funded at the point of a government gun.