Milton Friedman on Welfare & Poverty

Libertarian Economist


Income supplements via negative income tax

Today, people tend to associate universal basic income with technology utopians. But a form of UBI almost became law in the United States in 1970 and 1971, passing the House of Representatives twice before stalling the Senate. Versions of the idea have been championed by robust thinkers of every political persuasion for decades. Here's a sampling:
Source: The War on Normal People, by Andrew Yang, p.166-8 , Apr 2, 2019

You can't have both free immigration and a welfare state

As in other industrialized nations, America's birthrate has fallen below the level needed to replace the current population. That phenomenon is placing enormous strains on our social welfare system, as fewer and fewer workers are sustaining an ever-expanding elderly beneficiary population. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, whom we both greatly admired, once famously remarked, "It's just obvious you can't have free immigration and a welfare state." Actually, the converse is true: we cannot sustain a generous social welfare program (or even one that is less generous than the current version), a system upon which millions of Americans depend, if we do not increase the numbers of productive, contributing participants in our workforce.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 74-75 , Mar 5, 2013

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Page last updated: Apr 30, 2021