Why Basic Income is NOT a Handout… And something or other about Bears?

Handouts & Dependency
Source: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/01/figures-government-pushes-handouts-to-humans-restricts-handouts-to-wild-animals/

The image above (or below depending upon if this theme wants to work, or not) reads as thus:

“Never attempt to feed the animals. They are wild creatures with natural diets and should not be made dependent on handouts.”

This type of rhetoric is used to help explain an opposition to welfare or social security payments/vouchers/basic income, and the like. The argument goes something like this:

Why is it OK to give stuff to people but not OK to give stuff to bears and lions and aardvarks? After all humans are animals, and if a bear or aardvark can get by without human intervention then surely a human with all of his or her faculties about them can also get by without human intervention. Therefore don’t give humans stuff. They should get the stuff themselves!

And it appears, at least at first glance, a pretty decent argument. As far as we can tell us human types are the smartest most capable animals on the planet. But upon closer inspection and with using just the tiniest bit of brain power it is obvious that the argument is not a very good one. And here is why.

Places where one would normally see these types of signs are at zoos and nature reserves or parks. Feeding animals in these places is discouraged not because it could lead to dependency. It is because these animals do not or should not eat human food. Because they are not human. That and the fact that a bear would likely rip your face off if you were to get too close to one.

Although it is true that the animals being fed by humans will learn over time that they can get food from humans and take advantage of that, think seagulls chasing trawlers returning to port, I do not believe that this could be described as being any kind of dependency. Rather, the animal is being smart about its situation. A wild bear is not going to stop being a wild bear because it was fed a pic-a-nic basket.

Of course this is in the wild. A bear in a zoo is a bear in a zoo and therefore not wild no matter how hard the zoo tries to set up its living environment. Even though humans can throw the leftovers of ham sandwiches over the safety fences at the bear for it to eat, because of its situation (of being locked in a zoo) it is not as if it can get its own food anyway. It is fed by the zoo. There is not any other option for the bear here.

Sure, you could release the animals from the zoo into the wild but to where? One of the main reasons zoo’s exist is because us “smart” human types keep expanding our territory at their expense. That and we have a habit of wiping out entire species for sport and indirectly through our “smart” lifestyles and such. A brief search of YouTube would result in numerous videos of humans complaining about wildlife in their yards or gardens as if the animal in question was going out of their way to be a dick or antisocial. No! If you build a swimming pool in your garden in Florida, a place where alligators live, then of course alligators are going to use it. As villages expand into towns and towns into cities and cities into the country humans take the habitat of animals or simply destroy it. Simple as that.

When it comes to social security types of payments for us human types the fact of matter is that the majority of claimants, excluding pensioners, are in employment. They have jobs. The reason that they claim these so-called “handouts” is because the jobs that they are doing do not pay enough. Or the job that they have does not provide enough hours. It is not the claimants who are at fault here, it is the fault of their employers, respectively, for not paying enough.

(It’s funny isn’t it? How the “should not be made dependent upon handouts” argument does not extent to businesses that make use of this subsidised workforce?)

It is not that claimants are dependent upon welfare payments it is a case that they would be screwed without them. To go back to the analogy, they are the bears in the nature reserves. Sure they can hunt and stuff but they are pretty much confined to this environment through no fault of their own and if the offer of a picnic basket comes along they would be stupid not to take it, especially so when their well-being depends upon it.

And of course there is the issue of the welfare or poverty trap. Basically, the more one earns or as the number of hours a claimant works increases the more welfare is withdrawn. You might think that this is how it should be and in theory it should but the issue is that claimants moving into low paying jobs can, effectively, end up being taxed at a rate of 60%, sometimes more. In a nutshell some claimants find that it is not worth applying for a job or taking another because the financial return simply is not worth it. So in this regard, these kinds of welfare payments act as a disincentive to work. This is not dependency either. It is seagulls following the trawler. It is clearly the most rational thing to do given the situation.

I recommend that you have a look at THIS for a bit more of a coherent explanation of how the welfare/poverty trap works: 

And it is not as if even if we wanted to be self-sufficient we could be. Firstly if you want to talk about self-sufficiency then you better fucking mean it. Build your own home. And by this I do not mean hire someone to do it for you. Do it yourself from design to construction. From scratch. Build your own tools. Chop down trees, mine rock and stone. Grow your own food. Source your own drinking water. Generate your own electricity. Build your own furniture, roads, and all of the other stuff that you have today that you had absolutely fuck all to do with creating or building, without having to rely on anyone else. I guarantee that if you tried it you’d be dead within a month.

Unconditional Basic Income acknowledges that it is unrealistic and not at all practical for all to be self-sufficient. Basic Income, because there are no means test or terms of eligibility, acts as an incentive to work as it can NOT be withdrawn no matter how many hours are worked or how much one earns. It decouples income from jobs and allows people the freedom to live and contribute to society in the way that matters to them. Basic Income acknowledges that having something to eat and somewhere warm to live is not a privilege. 

Basic Income is not a handout. It is a right.

Discuss Basic Income and learn more  /r/BasicIncome



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