Daily Discussion with BQB – Mark Zuckerberg Wants Universal Income

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave the commencement speech at Harvard recently.  In the speech, he called for universal income, or in other words, everyone is guaranteed a living, no matter what, no questions asked.

“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.”

Zuckerberg said that, because he knew he had a safety net if projects like Facebook had failed, he was confident enough to continue on without fear of failing. Others, he said, such as children who need to support households instead of poking away on computers learning how to code, don’t have the foundation Zuckerberg had. Universal basic income would provide that sort of cushion, Zuckerberg argued.

My complaints:

#1 – The Zuckster is selling himself short.  Sure, he has a point.  He came from a family that had money, not like gazillionaire money, but his father was a dentist, meaning that had the Zuckmeister fallen flat on his face in the early day of his Facebook venture, he could have moved back in with Mom and Dad until he found a way to turn things around.  Sure, he never had to worry about the possibility of ever being homeless.  However, he did take risks – risks that, had they not panned out, would have left his life significantly crappier.  After all, the kid had been accepted to Harvard and getting the chance to study at an Ivy League college is rare.  He would have definitely achieved success had he graduated from Harvard, but he took a gamble and left Harvard early to work on Facebook.  Had Facebook flopped, he’d of become that idiot sponging off his parents into his thirties, kicking himself for not finishing Harvard.

#2 – MotherZucker sells himself short again.  Yes, while growing up, he was able to focus on learning how to code because he came from a stable household where he didn’t have to worry about money or bad things happening.  However, there are many children in stable households who just spend their time on video games.  He pushed himself.  It paid off.

#3 – I have a hard time figuring out the difference between “Universal Income” and the myriad of state and federal welfare/public assistance programs we have now.  My understanding of Universal Income is that everyone gets a check.  Everyone.  Warren Buffet gets a check.  The guy giving handies in a bus station bathroom for pocket change gets a check.  I mean, I’m a pull yourself up by the boot straps guy, one who, if you complain to me of your failures, I’m most likely going to ask you to take a look at yourself and what you can change before we get into all the people around you that you are blaming.  That being said, it just seems wasteful to give money to people who are doing well.  The ultimate goal has to be to get everyone who can work a decent, satisfying job commensurate with their skill levels and then we, as a society, get together and fund public assistance programs for those unable to support themselves.  I don’t want someone who can’t work to end up in the gutter, but what would be the point of sending money to people who already have money?

#4 – Carrying on with point #3, if you split the difference and give assistance to those who need it and not to those who don’t need it, is that not what we are doing now?  Is this just about swapping the word “welfare” for a more PC word like “Universal Income?”

#5 – Zuck should put his money where his mouth is.  The kid is richer than Richie Rich on steroids and has been since his early freaking 20s.  An Internet search puts his wealth at 61.9 billion dollars.  In his speech, he lamented that it isn’t fair that people like him get to make so much money while others make so little.  Look, Zuckerberg, if you’re really crying yourself to sleep over this, the fix is simple:

  • Go out right now and cut checks literally millions of people.  You could provide life changing sums of money to people all across America and never really see much of a change in your daily lifestyle.
  • Don’t even go whole hog.  Pick 1,000 at risk youths and guarantee them $50,000 a year for the rest of their lives.  Commission a study how lifting them out of poverty helped to keep them on the straight path, out of the criminal justice system and so on.
  • Cash out your 61.9 billion, put the cash into a truck, pull up to a random homeless person on the street and give him the keys to the truck.

Until he does this, it just seems like petty virtue signaling.  “I want to say things that sound really nice so people will like me and use my dumb website to share photos of their lunch but I don’t actually want to take any actual action myself on it.”

And before you hit me with, “Zuckerberg donates a lot of money to charity” I’ll admit, yes, I’m sure he does.  But, if he’s really all that riddled with guilt about how much money he makes and how little others make, the fix is simple.  His company makes so much money that he could donate 60.9 billion dollars to the poor and keep one billion for himself and still be a billionaire.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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