Opinion

Facebook Founder Advocates Government Theft to Provide Universal Basic Income

During his Harvard Commencement Speech, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg advocated for Universal Basic Income (UBI) for Americans:

“Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,” Zuckerberg said during his speech. “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 make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.” (CNBC)

Taking money from some people so it can be given to other people is not “equality.” Where would the money come from to supply this “universal basic income” to everyone? From the government. But governments don’t have any money. Governments appropriate the money they claim to have by taxing people, printing it, or digitizing it. These are examples of theft.

If the government prints money, it dilutes the value of money already in circulation the same way adding water to milk dilutes the value of the milk. It’s economic alchemy, turning stones into bread, paper into money.

Governments can do it because they’ve given themselves the power to do it, and there are enough people who are complicit in this form of theft. Like Zuckerberg, they are accomplices since they vote for politicians who promise to tax the “other guy” and print more money to “stimulate the economy” and create prosperity.

Another way the State gets money is by taking it from people. This is called taxation. Taxation involves force. If you don’t pay up, you will be fined, have your assets confiscated to pay what is owed, or imprisoned.

Taxing a portion of someone’s work or property so it can be given to other people is theft. It’s the first principle of economics: “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:15). There is no “except by majority vote.” Here’s the truth of it. Deep down, this is what most politicians believe and those who put them into office want. Here’s the “logic”:

“We have the right to levy a tax at a certain percentage rate, up or down, on this amount or that amount because more than 50 percent of the people put us in office. Therefore, we can take 1 percent or 100 percent. The fact that we exempt a certain amount of income is proof of this fact. An exemption is what we allow you to keep.”

If it’s wrong for you and me to steal from our neighbors and the companies we work for, please explain how it’s right to steal from our neighbors and the companies we work for when we elect people to do it.

“I’ll say this plainly, I’ve said it before Taxation is theft. It presumes the government has a higher claim on our property than we do,” says Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Then there are the long-term consequences of stealing money from some people so it can be given to other people. We know the consequences because it’s been going on for a long time. It’s called “welfare,” and it’s not just poor people who benefit from it. There’s a great deal of wealth transfer that goes on among the middle class and wealthy.

Giving money to people who don’t work for it makes them wards of the State who lose the incentive to work. “Why bother worrying about learning a skill, competing for a job, getting up every morning to go to work, when the government will supply my basic needs?”

Of course, the government is already stealing and redistributing, so what makes this multi-billionaire think a guaranteed income won’t increase the welfare rolls and legal and illegal immigration? “Land of opportunity” becomes “land of guaranteed income.” They are not the same.

Zuckerberg could begin the process of divesting himself of his massive wealth and start the process.

Over time, the numbers of those who succumb to the siren call of free money will grow. We will have a perpetual underclass dependent on the government that will never be satisfied with a subsistence lifestyle. They will use their growing political base to demand more.

Some who advocate for a UBI contend that it would be less expensive and less bureaucratic than the system we have. True enough. But if we eliminated the nearly $1 trillion dollars spent (federal and state) on wealth transfer payments through more than one hundred and twenty-five anti-poverty programs (and growing), that saved money would go a long way to grow the economy and allow volunteer agencies to care for the truly needed.

Billionaires like Zuckerberg could use their great wealth to help the needy. The government didn’t create Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and any number of other multi-billion-dollar companies. Are we to believe that these talented visionaries can’t figure a way to help the truly needed with their own wealth and those who would want to join them. It’s a cop out to advocate for a UBI based on theft.

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