Proposal by C.H. Antony on a U.S. Transhumanist Party Working Group on Universal Basic Income (UBI) Implementation

Proposal by C.H. Antony on a U.S. Transhumanist Party Working Group on Universal Basic Income (UBI) Implementation

logo_bgC. H. Antony

The United States Transhumanist Party seeks any willing individuals to participate in the discussion of a proposal by Mr. C.H. Antony to craft detailed ideas for achieving the implementation of an unconditional Universal Basic Income (UBI) system. To indicate your interest and provide ideas in relation to Mr. Antony’s proposal, please post in the comments below.

Background: The United States Transhumanist Party supports a major streamlining of fiscal policy, combined with a streamlining of the manner in which financial support is provided by government to individuals. Sections XVI, XXXV, and XXXVI of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform address, respectively, UBI, reduction of the U.S. national debt, and dramatic tax simplification. Our goal, therefore, is a government that has as little debt as possible, and whose revenues and transfer payments are as straightforward as possible.

Section XVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: Given the inevitability of technology eventually replacing the need for the labor of sentient entities, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.

Section XXXV [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]:  The United States Transhumanist Party considers it imperative to achieve reductions of the United States national debt in order to avoid calamitous scenarios of extreme inflation, default, and burdensome future tax increases on individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the following measures to reduce the national debt:

  1. Elimination of wasteful federal spending on programs, goods, and services where equivalent positive results could be obtained through lower expenditures.
  2. Cessation of foreign military occupations and the return of American troops to be stationed exclusively on American territory. However, if a mutually appropriate defense treaty with another country requires the United States to station troops in that country, those troops would be allowed to remain there until the treaty obligations are fulfilled or reduced by mutual agreement with the affected country. If the United States continues to station troops in any country due to mutually appropriate defense treaties, the United States Transhumanist Party supports greater reciprocity in allowing military personnel from that country to be stationed in the United States for purposes of training and information exchange.
  3. Removal of barriers to technological innovation and technologically driven economic growth, in order that a surge in such growth could increase federal revenues so as to generate increasing surpluses, as long as federal spending does not materially rise from current levels.
  4. Elimination of the current cumbersome system of federal contracting, which favors politically connected incumbent firms whose advantage consists of navigating the system, rather than performing the best possible work. Instead, all federal agencies should be empowered to purchase supplies and equipment and to requisition projects from any entity capable of satisfying an immediate need at a reasonable cost. Exclusive and preferential contracts for particular entities should be prohibited, and all payments by federal agencies for work by non-employees should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Digitization of as many federal services and functions as possible – to eliminate the waste and expense of paperwork, physical queues, and legacy information technology systems.

Section XXXVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates a flat percentage-of-sales tax applicable only to purchases from businesses whose combined nationwide revenues from all affiliates exceed a specified threshold. This tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.

The following proposal is not a final outline of solutions, nor is it, in its present form, a reflection of the positions of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Rather, it is a set of ideas put forth by Mr. Antony in a desire to elicit the expertise of those who are willing to contribute to a policy paper that the U.S. Transhumanist Party may develop in order to put forward a viable plan for making a Universal Basic Income a reality, beginning from today’s conditions. The specific content of that paper is to be determined based on the contributions and deliberations of any future working group. 

Discussion by C.H. Antony: I have a stepped plan based on my own limited knowledge that I think is the ticket, but I need to combine the work of individuals with expertise in the following fields:

  • Economics with an understanding of federal spending.
  • Corporate law with an understanding of the Constitution’s position on corporations.
  • A tax professional who can weigh the benefits/detriments within the previously described fields.
  • Someone who can discuss sociological matters pertaining to a UBI and who can show statistical models of the argument.

The following is the essence of my model.

I. Calculate the minimum necessary expense of the GDP necessary to fund a functioning government with regard to the following conditions:

  1. Fully automated IRS that only employs a handful of programmers and analysts to maintain and upgrade the automated systems and address potential or reported errors. Apply this model elsewhere in government where possible.
  2. Cancel all social programs with the intent of replacement with UBI (i.e., SSDI, SSI, Food stamps, VA Income, Tax Credits, etc.).
  3. Consolidate redundant government agencies and eliminate certain specialized enforcement branches. Examples: we don’t need five intelligence agencies when a single well-organized agency could perform all the same functions, BATF can be disbanded, etc.
  4. A fully funded modern military where no soldier’s family barely makes it above the poverty line.
  5. No foreign payments without a tangible financial return to the US in the form of goods or services.
  6. No federal pensions of any kind for any level of service. [Constitutionally, this would only be possible for new hires going forward.]
  7. Save and invest 18% for our own economic growth and to outpace global inflation.
  8. Apply AI and automation as liberally as possible where it can replace functionaries at all levels.

II. Eliminate all federal income tax on private individuals and small businesses and also eliminate income taxes at local and state levels. Determine a fair and sustainable Flat Sales Tax paid on all non-essential purchases that is paid directly into the UBI fund. Sales-tax-exempt items would be the following:

  1. Food stuffs.
  2. Water
  3. Sewer and waste services.
  4. Electricity and other domestic use fuels.
  5. Medical and health-related items.
  6. Educational items and services.
  7. Home and land purchases that are the primary residence; no annual property taxes.

III. Further reduce the federal budget by saving on prosecuting victimless crimes (consensual prostitution, recreational narcotic use, etc.) and remove the state as an entity that may be called as a victim in a crime.

IV. Allow free air-time, equally disseminated, for any candidate running for political office. Social media and digital streaming are more than adequate in this era to give every candidate an equal voice for the people to hear and vote on. States should be directed to follow the same model.

V. Create a payment schedule whereby the national debt is paid in full as quickly as possible from the GDP alone.

VI. Restructure corporate taxes to be both competitive with the rest of the world and be useful to the UBI fund. Determine qualifications where a small business may incorporate that does not punish a successful small business, has clear advantages, and encourages growth within a new corporate structure.

VII. Create a fund whereby two years of field-specific education is available to every adult American citizen. Apply a nation-wide school voucher program to grades K-12, allowing schools to compete for students through quality and safety.

VIII. Create a fund that provides unlimited and free healthcare at a fair market value to all US citizens.

IX. Encourage a near-zero human labor manufacturing trend in the US with an eye on converting other nations into customers and partners for products of US companies.

X. Aim for an average of $52,000 per year for each adult American citizen (approximately 250,000,000 adult citizens).

I believe the above, when fleshed out and mathematically modeled, will serve as a succinct and presentable plan that we could, essentially, sell to voters causing representatives to take notice and have to discuss it publically.

This model in no way, I feel, reflects any form of socialism or communism, as it does not take a dime out of the pockets of any one higher-wage earner for the purpose of giving it to a lower-wage earner. It is self-scalable for inflation and deflation without affecting an individual’s quality of life. It in no way precludes anyone from seeking and obtaining opportunity and earning potentials beyond the UBI, thusly not endangering free market capitalism.

Also, I believe the easiest sell will be to corporations that are already having to maneuver the cost of human labor vs. automation. They can help push the reforms by leveraging lobbying power for us.

C. H. Antony is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. He may be contacted here

16 thoughts on “Proposal by C.H. Antony on a U.S. Transhumanist Party Working Group on Universal Basic Income (UBI) Implementation

  1. Hi C.H. Antony,

    I think in the section essentials, internet access (preferably mobile) should be added.
    Internet is no longer a luxury, as lack of internet access already puts people at a disadvantage.
    Not only is it essential for information retrieval and communication, but in the future it will also be essential to communicate and stay up to date regarding political activities, possibly voting. However, the same goes for looking for work, as for the foreseeable future we will still have jobs that need to be fulfilled by people even if we already have a UBI.
    Furthermore, increasingly commerce is handled online, including deliveries as it is cheaper than to maintain a storefront.
    In this regard I think that Finland had a sensible forward-thinking strategy when they made internet an ‘essential good’.

    1. Excellent point, Martin. If all goes well, everything you just pointed out will be essential for living, if not already. I would say that a section be added for research that covers universal access to internet, healthcare, and delineate basic entitlement utilities. What do you think? I can keep an evolving document with these additions and changes if you like.

      1. I’ve added the point:
        “IX. With respect to the continued growth of eCommerce, online furthering education, voting, and virtual healthcare, enactment of universally available nationwide Internet access must be a priority. ”

        Just to remind anyone who wants to engage this post, this is a fully malleable concept that i hope can be evolved into policy letters and proposals. Thank you.

        1. >Cancel all social programs with the intent of replacement with UBI (i.e., SSDI, SSI, Food stamps, VA Income, Tax Credits, etc.).

          This is exactly going to be the crux of the argument and the problem with implementation.

          There are still going to be people the public sees as “in need” that they reasonably or unreasonably think should have a larger slice of the UBI pie. Disabilities, minorities etc.

          As someone who lives in a very low rent household, I think the target goal of $52,000 per year is ridiculously high. People on Disability usually end up receiving something like $500/mo and these are people with crippling anxiety that make them screech at their bosses and point fingers, schizophrenics who struggle with both their dopamine levels and reality itself, and others.

          We should not base UBI monetary policy on what it takes on what a very low income for somebody living in NYC or SF would need.

          If we are also planning on implementing universal internet access, people should be taking advantage of that, interviewing and networking online and living in rural areas rather than

          Someone’s UBI in Oklahoma should probably be less than someone’s UBI in Silicon Valley, and someone getting $52k per year in Oklahoma is going to be getting for free what people in my company receive after several years of hard work.

          1. With respect to you, sir, I strongly disagree on the amount. Examples of places where hyper inflation renders even my proposed amount of 52k a year as a target sum barely adequate include, Hawaii, parts of California, Connecticut, and so on. My reasons for believing that 52k per year is necessary for the implementation of this system is that it is the average household income for working Americans rounded off, it is higher than the VA will pay for full disability benefits, Higher than SSDI, higher than average welfare for a family including housing assistance and food stamps, and therefore, palatable when coupled with it also being tax-free for anyone standing to loose their job to automation and for those who will receive it in place of their current benefits or assistance. Over 4 million truck drivers, for example, if the Tesla brand electric tractor trailers become a fully automated industry. It serves to elevate the lives of all American citizens profoundly, regardless of current station. An average family of 2 adults and 2 children making that amount combined, as is current average, finds themselves in receipt of and additional 104k (the two adults being the only recipients in the household) on top of their gross employment incomes. Obviously, this is life changing when considering how a family in that financial bracket is considering paying for their kids college, existing debt, medical expenses, etc. Soldiers making hardly over the poverty line no longer have to worry about the care of their families who often have to depend on MFE donations and on-base exchanges from time to time. And so on. But all those things can be addressed incrementally as the working group moves forward.

            With respect to your point about having voted against a UBI program in general; I see the value in your point of how it may sour the overall movement, that is a valid concern when considering the public optics of such programs. That being said, this is not the forum to continue to object. This post is for the purpose of addressing the many challenges facing a paradigm shift in American culture toward a Transhumanist movement.

            With regard to your points on how people with mental disabilities and certain minorities are paid by the current systems; I fail to see how they apply to the specific purpose of this post. Those with severe mental and emotional disabilities will have a livable income affording the freedom to contribute when and how they can. The Transhumanist position on health-care covers their advanced medical and psychiatric needs, if implemented well, which is also a stated goal of this post.

            In the current system of Capitalism, I understand and share your objections to taking from someone else’s earnings and giving it to another by law and force. I believe that’s reprehensible. Which is why my proposal is to find a solid way of utilizing our resources as a nation in such a way as to benefit the citizenry of that nation. I admit to wanting to continue taxing corporate income for the benefit of all citizens receiving dividends because i feel that that tax rate can be competitive enough to draw industry to the US, keep it wanting to operate here, and that the Constitution has been twisted for too long to grant a corporate entity personhood. Those currently making high six-figures and more in their corporate positions will not have their personal income taxed any more than even those subsisting on their basic income alone. So, NO individual income tax. Their company will be free to augment their production in anyway they see fit to maximize profits, so long as it doesn’t cause harm, without the pressure to maintain a work force and work environment.

            The death of a labor-driven economy is inevitable if innovation and technology are to advance. If we fail to enact changes to the lifestyles of Americans who stand to lose their livelihood over it, we will remain stagnant and fall behind our major political opponents globally.

  2. I think a better model is not UBI, but NIT (Negative Income Tax).

    Here’s why:
    1. It is simple tax reform, is not universal nor unconditional (which draws bad press as “free money”). If you declare no income (the sole means test), you get a monthly supplement the following year. This is how seniors’ pensions are paid out in Canada.
    2. It’s for taxpayers only.

    It is CRITICAL that the words “universal” and “unconditional” be discarded, they are not descriptive nor necessary to the model and will spook the general public, guarantee its failure.

    It does the movement a serious DISSERVICE to characterize simple tax reform as an initiative to hand out money to one and all.

    1. The optics point is well taken. While the logic of both approaches is clear to us, the general “red or blue” voting public will find it bitter. Would it be fair to say that we should also aim for a term that us distinctly American? The general premises being that:
      (A) automation will boost production, development, innovation and the GDP while driving consumer costs down. Significant downside being that the majority of American labor jobs go away. No way of knowing how many generations it will take before those vacancies are filled by other means of employment.
      (B) Income tax legality has been dubious from it’s inception.
      (C) Federal spending is rife with abuse and waste and needs to be curtailed.
      And so on. What i want to propose is dividends paid to the citizenry because of the national prosperity. Like a nation-wide Alaskan program.
      Further thoughts?

  3. To summarize the points brought up so far:

    Internet be considered a basic human need in the modern age and be provided for.

    Terms like “UBI”, “Universal”, and “Unconditional will not be palatable to the general voting public. Another term must be agreed upon.

    System is essentially Tax Reform and should be dressed as such.

    Monetizing national forest land can be achieved without compromising the environment, evident by Subaru’s plant on a nature preserve.

  4. As a USTHP member who voted *against* the idea of free money, I’m not sure I like the idea of highly productive organizations that have reliably proven themselves in the market to be able to satisfy people’s needs in a mutually beneficial exchange to be penalized and forced to pay for the “whims” of others who do not. It’s easy to throw a target on the back of “big business” but they are reliably proving themselves to serve the needs of others.

    The same can’t be said for someone who wants to pursue their art, their dancing, their videogaming, or their pottery

    Why should organizations that produce value that people willingly pay for be forced to subsidize individuals whose activities people do *not* want to pay for?

    Additionally, the current system has requirements to be able to receive free money. Only a certain subset of individuals with disability or proven inability to work are given payments of free money- the payments they receive are MUCH LESS than 52k per year.

    A quick search shows around 1/5 of Americans are currently receiving free money. On average that’s maybe 35k a year, in Hawaii closer to 49k a year.

    We would be taking the HIGHEST welfare paying state, increasing it by 3k, and giving it to 5 times as many people….

    You don’t need someone helping you analyze the economics of this system to understand that a more than 400% increase in payments (all people instead of 1/5 of people, and more than 1/5 of people currently receive) is NOT going to reduce our national debt.

    The only argument in your proposal that seems to help the idea of reducing debt is to say we would cut out waste.

    Are we going to cut out enough waste to fund more than a 400% increase in current payments?

    1. Zach,
      Thanks for jumping on. The back-of-the-envelope numbers for annual cost of , let’s call it Citizen Dividends, is about 6.8 trillion UDS based on roughly 250 million adult citizens.
      That said, the need for analysis comes from questions like: how much is saved if the system is automated vs numerous government jobs and pensions, how much growth is reasonable for a manufacturer if they are able to nearly fully automate without the societal stress of employment needs, will that grow the GDP?
      And if the GDP grows, and the spending budgets are minimized and so on as stated above, how fast will we pay off the national debt then.
      So, as one who loves tantalizing what-if’s, I disagree that analysis is not needed.
      In respect to “Free Money” and who gets it:
      I have been a registered libertarian since 2007. I very much agree with your point on most levels. However, human labor is going extinct quickly, and right it should. It costs an employer nearly double the workers salary in taxes and fees to employ that person. Consider the cost of employment, OSHA standards and the cost of maintaining them, insurances, human resources, on and on. If a publicly traded manufacturer can pull off 90% of their production without human labor related costs and only pay a nominal and globally competitive flat tax, wouldn’t the question of how much innovation and productivity might increase and how much it could grow the GDP if we’re able to undercut other markets and make the world our customer be worth examining in detail? If the facts are favorable to substantial growth, the laborer is out of a job, and should be compensated for that loss.
      As a body of citizenry that have been paying taxes to subsidize federal spending, I believe we are due a return on our investment. If we give up our blue-collar core for the expansive growth of automation and it’s competitive edge in the world market, then we should reap a reward. A return dividend calculated at a reasonably livable rate is incentive to let go of the reigns and allow innovation to thrive.

      Now, my hope is to keep this working group moving toward ready-in-hand reform bills and proposed legislation, not arguing the morality of UBI, Return Dividends, NTI, etc. But thank you for encouraging deeper thought on the matter, that is ALWAYS welcome.

  5. @ Dwight.
    Would you mind posting a little more on the Negative Income Tax model, please? Your examination would be helpful in finding aspects that might serve as case studies for sections of our proposal.

    @ All.
    Some ideas for a better term than UBI:
    American GDP Dividends.
    Citizen Dividends.
    GDP Income.

    All Ideas welcome.
    Thank you.

  6. I think the UBI should not differ due to location. Giving people in Jackson, Mississippi the same UBI as those in Encino, California is reasonable and equitable. There is no justification for giving different amounts based on locality, because people give up certain conveniences and amenities when they reside in lower cost of living areas; so there is already a compromising balance in place. A uniform UBI helps facilitate a nearer to equal standard of living for those who don’t reside in high-end areas.

    1. Alvina,
      Well put. It might also be considered that if the individual income tax is eliminated, then a states cost of living might level out to just a matter of cost of transporting goods instead of high tax rates.

  7. Hey all,
    Given the feedback thus far, i would ask the following:
    1) Should we henceforth call the UBI proposal “Transhumanist Tax Reform”? or something similar.
    2) would it be helpful to post the updated points periodically here as the proposal evolves? would it be welcome?

    Thank you.

  8. For the purpose of keeping this project in the foreground, I wish to reiterate the following points:
    1) Recognizing that a UBI, which digresses from our Libertarian roots, will not be easily distinguished by the general public from socialism or communism, we believe it should be addressed as a Tax Reform bill that provides a profit-shared dividend for all adult American citizens and should only be derived from the balance of the GDP when annual federal spending is stream-lined, monetization of federal land with an eye on sustainability and good stewardship ads to the GDP (vis a vie Istvan), and from a flat corporate tax that remains globally competitive and only applies to the corporate entity as a whole, not the individual employees of the company at any level, from a reasonably scaled consumption tax on goods (excluding groceries, water, home fuels, and other subsistence related needs), and the cancellation of all other forms of public assistance.
    2) That the budget must also reflect unlimited “top-shelf” healthcare for all American citizens, unlimited high-speed internet access, injection of monies and resources for the advancement of indefinite life/health span and enhancement strategies and all the medical advances therein, i.e. eliminating disease, infirmity, disabilities and so forth.
    3) That the budget might also allow for 2-year community college access, or an adequate trade school for all American citizens.

    Please jump on here to agree, disagree, add a point, drop a point.
    Also, if you are an accredited person in any of the fields noted at the beginning of the proposal and are interested in helping to craft this project, please contact me via email.

  9. Hello all,
    I apologize for my absence. My wife and I are facing a medical crisis and it has been an emotional roller coaster that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I’m here to resume our work and hope that we can rekindle interest in the formation of a working group for economic reform.

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