Residents of a homeless encampment under the 1st street bridge go about their daily lives in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 31. (Los Angeles Times)
To the editor: A universal basic income might undermine people’s belief that they should contribute to the society that supports them. I have a different idea: guaranteed work. (“The case for a universal basic income,” Opinion, June 29)
I envision a work exchange where anyone could be matched to a job and not just given an opportunity to be selected by an employer. Once every able-bodied adult was guaranteed a way to contribute, society could decide how much of a worker’s reward would be in the form of money and benefits. The government could offer incentives to employers to participate in the work exchange.
If society found a need to phase out any line of work for any reason, the affected workers would go back to the exchange for re-matching and, if necessary, re-training.
Automation is currently driven less by a desire to ease people’s lives than by employers’ desire to increase profits. Under guaranteed work, people could decide how much automation to do and in what areas. We could decide how many hours per week constituted “full time” employment and also what types of activities would qualify.
If we wanted to support people for being artists, writers, entertainers or craftsmen, we could do it.
Carol Wuenschell, Arcadia
To the editor: I believe that reducing inequality will not be solved with checks and benefits universally distributed. A real correction would include an adjustments to how we work.
Workweeks shortened to 24 – 32 hours and increased compensation would produce a more equitable distribution of wealth and positively impact our workforce. More people would be able to productively participate in our society. There would be more time for personal growth and our children would be given more time with the adults who matter in their lives.
We’d be far better off with more quality work opportunities than a basic universal income.
Michael Llach, Porter Ranch
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