But won’t it undermine work incentives? Won’t people quit their jobs?
Basic income is just that, basic. It’s a floor. We’ll still have plenty of reasons and incentives to work and earn: to buy a home, save for retirement, do more for our kids, save for a vacation, pursue a romance, impress neighbors or classmate or relatives. Or no specific reason.
Most Americans are ambitious, entrepreneurial, and willing to work hard; we enjoy the challenges and rewards, and we want to get rich. When our basic financial security is guaranteed, everyone will be free to pursue meaningful work.
Yes, some people will quit jobs, and that’s likely to be good for them and their families; good for America, too. People will:
- Go back to school, to gain new skills and credentials;
- Start businesses, creating jobs for themselves and other folks;
- Pursue careers as artists, actors, athletes, writers, and musicians;
- Invest more time and attention on kids and families, perhaps as full-time parents.
Employers will benefit as well, because unhappy workers are usually unmotivated. When someone quits a job, employers can hire more productive workers.