Noted social scientist Charles Murray has long advocated for a UBI based upon a much earlier version proposed by noted supply-sider Milton Friedman of the Chicago-based economists.

The noted feature of Murray's system is:

A UBI will do the good things I claim only if it replaces all other transfer payments and the bureaucracies that oversee them. If the guaranteed income is an add-on to the existing system, it will be as destructive as its critics fear.


In my version, every American citizen age 21 and older would get a $13,000 annual grant deposited electronically into a bank account in monthly installments. Three thousand dollars must be used for health insurance (a complicated provision I won’t try to explain here), leaving every adult with $10,000 in disposable annual income for the rest of their lives.


The UBI is to be financed by getting rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, housing subsidies, welfare for single women and every other kind of welfare and social-services program, as well as agricultural subsidies and corporate welfare. As of 2014, the annual cost of a UBI would have been about $200 billion cheaper than the current system.

What are the differing features from Yang's proposal contrasted against Murray's and are the financing of the proposals different?

  • Comments deleted. Comments on questions should be used to discuss improvements of the question itself, not to debate its subject matter. For more information on what comments should and should not be used for, please refer to the help center article about the commenting privilege.
    – Philipp
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


One thing that immediately seems to stand as a difference is that Murray also wants to eliminate Obamacare as part of his UBI plan.

In contrast Yang seems to support a version of "Medicare for all". It's not clear to me if that's the $3K chunk of UBI he says his plan would force the recipients to use for healthcare, or if Yang plans additional funding for his "Medicare for all". (It's probably not clear to journalists either. Reuters wrote a week ago that Yang "has not offered a detailed version of how he would achieve a single-payer system".) But at least Murray's plan doesn't have that kind of provision.

A brief comparison from Reason highlights the difference in the source of funding:

But Murray and Yang diverge considerably when it comes to how they would pay for a UBI—as well as how it would interact with the welfare system. Murray champions the burn-it-all-down approach, financing the stipend by eradicating all social safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as housing and agricultural subsidies.

Yang sees it differently. He proposes centralizing health care costs and taxing tech giants like Amazon, who he says are automating jobs into oblivion and driving some stores across the country into the ground. Emboldened by the Freedom Dividend, recipients would spend their money in their local communities, facilitating a "trickle up economy."

In an interview this summer Yang said he plans a (federal, I assume) valued added tax to pay for his UBI. He mentioned that Amazon was paying virtually no taxes, so I assume that VAT is how he plans to tax the "tech giants".

Actually, Yang does get into more detail on that

Andrew proposes funding the Freedom Dividend [ = UBI] by consolidating some welfare programs and implementing a Value Added Tax of 10 percent. [...]

But also

Taxes on top earners and pollution: By removing the Social Security cap, implementing a financial transactions tax, and ending the favorable tax treatment for capital gains/carried interest, we can decrease financial speculation while also funding the Freedom Dividend. We can add to that a carbon fee that will be partially dedicated to funding the Freedom Dividend, making up the remaining balance required to cover the cost of this program.

I think Murray's plan is to have the cuts in other programs pay for UBI, entirely.

  • $3k annual or monthly?
    – user9790
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 12:32
  • While I upvoted, I don't think this is enough of a systemic comparison to award the question.
    – user9790
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 12:33
  • 1
    @KDog: I agree that my answer is hardly comprehensive. Hopefully some UBI wonk will come along... I'm only superficially familiar with the topic. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 12:44

You must log in to answer this question.