Universal Basic Income

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At only age 33, Mark Zuckerberg is one of America’s richest entrepreneurs.  Time Magazine named him among the 100 most influential people in the world as part of its annual Person of the Year award.  Forbes lists him as #10 on their list of the World’s Most Powerful People.  Zuckerberg is the co-founder and CEO of Facebook.

The Facebook phenomenon does indeed give Zuckerberg tremendous influence.  Not only does he provide a communications platform for millions of individuals and organizations world-wide, he also exerts a measure of control over the ideas and values communicated on Facebook.  Facebook filters news, and it blocks posts it deems offensive.  This may sound noble.  After all, who would object to restricting pornography and the promotion of felonious activity?  But at times Facebook censors ideas that are contrary to the current left-leaning social agenda.  People I know have been put in “Facebook prison” (temporarily banned from Facebook) for posting objections to so-called “gay marriage” and advocating traditional marriage and morality.  Zuckerberg is himself an outspoken advocate of the homosexual agenda.

Another idea Zuckerberg is promoting is Universal Basic Income or UBI.  Because of his success and influential status, Mark Zuckerberg was invited by Harvard University to deliver this year’s commencement address.  Before the faculty and graduates of America’s most prestigious college Zuckerberg declared, “We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful… We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.”  The idea of a government guaranteed paycheck for everyone is not unique to Zuckerberg.  The idea is gaining popularity among certain members of the media and some elected officials.  The thinking behind UBI is that it will protect against poverty, promote “income equality,” and free people to pursue innovative ideas and personal ambition without being encumbered by a forty-hour-a-week job.

But from where does the money for this guaranteed income come?  And what if someone’s personal ambition is to sleep in late and watch television all day?  Simply put, the idea of guaranteed income for everyone is both unreasonable, and unbiblical.

In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses “disorderly” people in the church who refused to work.  The solution was that such people should not eat (II Thess. 3:10).  There is an enormous difference between someone who cannot work and someone who will not work.  People who is disabled, elderly and infirmed, or temporarily out of work and earnestly seeking a job ought to receive nothing but encouragement and help.  But for the able-bodied who expect to live off the earnings of others there should be nothing but opportunity – to go to work.

The word “entitlement” is too often misused today.  No one is entitled to the fruit of another man’s labor.  Another word for this is theft.  Guaranteeing people a paycheck apart from a job does not balance the scales of justice.  Instead it encourages covetousness and sloth.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt determined to get assistance to thousands of unemployed Americans who were literally on the verge of starvation, but there was a problem.  According to economist and historian Nicholas Eberstadt, “…even people in families in desperate circumstances were known to refuse help or handouts as an affront to their dignity and independence.”  The so-called alphabet soup of government programs (WPA, CCC, TVA, REA, etc.) was begun because many in need would not accept a check unless it was attached to work.  Again, Eberstadt observed, “Overcoming America’s historic cultural resistance to government entitlements has been a long, formidable endeavor.”

Sad it is that Mark Zuckerberg is now using his considerable influence to aid in this misguided effort.

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