The panel on “The Five” discussed Democratic cities and other municipalities planning to begin paying their own citizens a stipend without recompense, as the idea of universal basic income gains steam among left-wing politicians.
As “The Five” noted, 2020 presidential candidate and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is running on a platform that included universal basic income for Americans.
“The Democrats might have just figured it out. Just bribe people to vote for them. Why stop at $1,000? Let’s go to 2 and 3 until you can just overload the Treasury and no one knows what’s going to happen — We will just print [the money],” he said.
“I just see every homeless person or someone is down on their luck or drug abuser — [they can] just move to L.A., Chicago, New York, get a mailbox address. Collect $1,000 a month. Why not?”
“I just don’t think that’s great way to run a city.”
Host Dagen McDowell added that universal basic income could not be an idea at a worse time when employers are struggling to hire workers who see Congress’ now-extended pandemic unemployment and stimulus payment benefits as more lucrative than a 9-5 job.
“There is a worker shortage in part because of the stimulus checks that have been sent out in the last year and the extra unemployment benefits that are still being paid and you see it far and wide,” she said.
“One restaurant I heard about was offering 1,000 bucks if workers stayed on the job for 90 days. So it creates an incentive at the local level for people not to go out — there are almost 7.5 million job openings. That’s higher than before the pandemic even started,” she added.
“Allow me to quote Dana Perino: There is honor and dignity in work.”
Watters added that UBI will also increase the already exponential rate of illegal immigration, as those folks will take jobs Americans will refuse to.
The oft-unseen consequence, he added, is that that money the illegal immigrants make does not always return to the U.S. economy, and is instead sent back to other countries where their families reside.
“They will just pour across the border and they will start taking those jobs and not paying taxes and then wire the money back home,” he said.
Host Juan Williams disagreed with the sentiments, saying they were laughable.
“Now all of a sudden illegal immigrants are voting. I don’t know what to make of this. To my mind this is — I think you said people are just going to cross the border to get this benefit and they are going to vote. I just think it’s nuts,” he said.
Williams added that conservative and libertarian figures had touted similar policy proposals in the past, pointing to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, economist Milton Friedman and President Richard Nixon.
“[Universal basic income] is not for everyone but for very poor people or pregnant women trying to keep them from going into sort of catastrophic straits. That’s what this is about,” he sad. “I don’t know why you want to paint this as some giveaway to bums.”