Originally posted on mises.ca on December 6, 2013
Matt Zwolinski, of Bleeding Heart Libertarians fame, has a new post on Libertarianism.org in which he attempts to defend a so-called “Basic Income Guarantee”, whereby the government pays everyone (or a very large portion of people) a minimum amount of money regardless of employment or any other status, using libertarian principles.
I believe he failed in his endeavour.
Zwolinski’s first defence: A Basic Income Guarantee would be much better than the current welfare state.
This has a simple response: Why should the federal government be taking money by force from anyone, for any reason at all? There are many economic costs associated whenever the government purloins the public, of course; but there are also moral issues involved with theft. Just because a BIG may be less paternalistic and condescending to the poor than the current welfare paradigm, as Zwolinski suggests, does not mean that it just and ethical to do in the first place. Zwolinski provides no defense of why the state has either the right or the obligation to take from some to give to others.
Zwolinski’s second defence: A Basic Income Guarantee might be required on libertarian grounds as reparation for past injustice. Continue reading “Against “The Libertarian Case for a Basic Income””