## 2008-01-01

### wealth redistribution -- numbers

In a previous post, I talked about a replacement for our current welfare system:

Tax everyone an equal percentage, then redistribute that wealth as an equal dollar amount paid to everyone.

Here are a few numbers to get a perspective on how this might stack up against the current system.

I should start with a wee disclaimer: I don't actually have any idea what I'm talking about, I just scoured the web (particularly wikipedia and census.gov) for some basic income, spending, and population numbers.

 Federal spending on medicare, 2007 \$400 billion Federal spending on medicaid, 2007 \$275 billion Federal spending on other unemployment and welfare programs, 2007 \$367 billion Federal spending on social security, 2007 \$586 billion total welfare-related budget, 2007 \$1.6 trillion

Estimated US population (current): 300 million, or 100 million households

If we do the very simple thing of divvying up that \$1.6 trillion amongst everyone equally, we get:

\$1.6 trillion / 300 million individuals = \$5500 per person per year

or

\$1.6 trillion / 100 million households = \$16000 per household per year

In 2004, the mean household income was about \$60,000 and the median was about \$44,000. If I've done my math right, after handing out the \$16,000 per year, the mean becomes \$76,000 and the median becomes \$60,000. The difference between the mean and median in percentage terms goes down--which makes sense because the whole point is to flatten out the distribution.

To some of us, an extra \$5500 or \$16000 doesn't mean that much. To the poor, it probably means a lot. And for many middle-class folk, just knowing that it's there could make for a feeling of security--they know if they lose their job they won't be completely stranded. Which is of course the whole idea of a safety net.

#### 1 comment:

1. I just would suggest some websites who could be of interest.

www.basicincome.org
www.usbig.net

Paul

websites
www.basicincome.be
www.socialcurrency.be