No, what’s disingenous is for Yang to let people think that companies will pay for the VAT, when it is actually consumers.
Actually that is wrong. Both companies and consumers make purchases, and both will pay VAT when they make those purchases.
What is also disingenuous is to make the claim that a regressive VAT is not regressive (or not so regressive) because it comes bundled with a populist UBI.
Nobody is arguing VAT is not regressive. However, Yang’s Freedom Dividend is the opposite of regressive. $1,000/month would help everyone, especially people who are struggling the most. And it would help them significantly more than they will be paying in VAT.
Once both are implemented, there is absolutely nothing to stop a future Congress from saying, “X has happened. We can no longer afford the Freedom Dividend. We are cancelling it.”
You could make the same (bad) argument about Medicare, Social Security, Minimum Wage — literally any policy. Does the fact that Medicare and Social Security could theoretically be eliminated mean we should never have implemented them? Of course not.
If Freedom Dividend is ever implemented, critics will no doubt try to weaken, or eliminate it. However, critics of the current welfare programs have tried to eliminate them too. And guess what? We still have them.
It is not easy to eliminate popular programs. The people, through votes and other means, still have some influence, believe it or not. It is of course a constant struggle.
1. It is not universal because it doesn’t stack universally on top of the current system. Why not make it universal?
Stacking it on top of other welfare programs is not what makes it universal. What makes it universal is everyone (above 18) is free to opt it. It is actually the current welfare system that is not universal, but means-tested.
2. It is funded by a regressive VAT. There is no requirement to fund FD with VAT. None.
I already explained even if funded by VAT, FD it is a net gain for people. However, there certainly are other ways to fund it. What do you propose?
3. It should be put on top of a robust social safety net (e.g. like in Austria), not implemented as a competition.
Sure, you could have both. But if you had a high enough Freedom Dividend you wouldn’t need other anti-poverty programs.
It will make a bad situation worse for the people at the very bottom while passing on the benefits to those at the top.
Nobody’s situation will be worse with Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend. Most Americans would benefit far more from a dividend than welfare. And those who’d be better off with the current welfare system get to continue using it because Yang’s Freedom Dividend is opt in only.