Why Andrew Yang's Freedom Dividend accomplishes more than the $15/hour minimum wage, and with less potential pitfalls
I personally would like to live in a society where everyone's basic needs are taken care of. And I believe this whether or not robots and Artificial Intelligence software will end up doing a lot of our jobs. There is a quote that I've seen from Native American John Fire Lame Deer that said:
"When someone was so poor that he had no horse, tipi, or blanket, someone gave him these things."
This is the philosophy that is driving my interest in the Yang campaign and the ideas therein to restructure the economy around people. Yes, a lot of people already give to charity and yes, a lot of people are already getting some sort of assistance, but we can do much better.
The Minimum Wage
Bernie Sanders and others want to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. This sounds great. Nobody with a full time job should be poor. I think most people would agree. There are those on the far right that would say minimum wage jobs are only meant for teenagers, but there are people whose skill-learning capacity, perhaps combined with limited physical abilities, and a host of other factors (needing to be living in a certain town to be close to family, limited opportunity in said town, etc.) that make a minimum wage job a real fact of life for a lot of people.
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hour. But every state sets their own rate (Washington, DC is the highest at $14/hr). If you compute the average minimum wage, it is $9.01/hour. (Note: If you simply add up the minimum wage for all 50 states + DC and divide by 51 you get $8.82, but that is not accounting for population differences. You need to weight each state's minimum wage by their population.)
Raising the minimum wage from an average of $9/hr to $15/hr is a difference of $6/hr.
Coincidentally, that is the exact amount that Andrew Yang's Freedom Dividend would increase your salary by: $6/hr. Even if you don't have a job.
If I were to sit down and design my own economic system from scratch, it would probably be different from both the Bernie camp and the Yang camp, but that is not the exercise du jour. I'm just trying to compare the two options that are on the table.
What the Freedom Dividend and $15/hour both do equally well
- Income (to those making minimum wage only). Both $15/hour and the Freedom Dividend raise the average minimum wage earner's salary by $6/hour. For someone making $7.25/hour in Alabama, the difference is in favor of the $15/hour in terms of gain, by an extra $1.75/hour (looking purely at the income side of course, and not hours worked). For someone making $14/hour in Washington D.C., the gain is in favor of the Freedom Dividend by $5/hour.
- Taxes. The Freedom Dividend is not subject to income taxes, but the $15/hour wage is. There are associated price rises due to the VAT which funds the Freedom Dividend, but they are somewhat less than the increased taxes due to $15/hour min wage for a low-income earner. On the taxes point, this one is roughly equal for a low-income earner. (See the analysis below)
- Assistance programs. While it is true that the Freedom Dividend is opt-in, and to opt-in you have to forego certain cash and cash-like programs that overlap with the Freedom Dividend (the Freedom Dividend is a cash program on steroids), the $15/hour minimum wage *also* affects eligibility requirements for various assistance programs to roughly the same degree. Compared to any other cash-like assistance program, which are all temporary except for SSI, the Freedom Dividend blows them out of the water in terms of lifetime assistance amount. (See analysis below)
What the Freedom Dividend Does that $15/hour minimum wage does not
In my opinion there are many benefits of the Freedom Dividend over the $15/min wage (and federal jobs guarantee).
- Retirement. At retirement, the Freedom Dividend pays $144,000 more than you would get when you retire from your minimum wage job ($12,000/year for 12 years during the ages of 66 [current Social Security retirement age] and 78 [current average life expectancy for an American]).
- Universality - Not just for minimum wage earners. The Freedom Dividend also stacks on top of *any* salary, not just those currently making minimum wage. The minimum wage does push other wages up a little bit https://equitablegrowth.org/raising-minimum-wage-ripples-workforce/ but not nearly as significantly as the Freedom Dividend. See https://miro.medium.com/max/2970/1*FeRFFxtkP4o9-xl7UVbctA.png
- Caregivers, SAHP, students, etc. The Freedom Dividend helps caregivers, stay-at-home parents, the elderly, students, etc. who cannot or aren't working for some reason or another. $15/hour means nothing to that population directly.
- Work less. Enjoy life more. Those working full time that would prefer to work part time or simply take more vacation could do so with the cushion of the Freedom Dividend.
- Portability The Freedom Dividend is portable. It moves with you.
- Avoiding bad situations. The Freedom Dividend allows someone to get out of an abusive or toxic relationship (job or personal) because they have an unconditional cushion to fall back on.
- Speed of implementation. The Freedom Dividend might be able to be implemented before 2025, which is when the $15/hour minimum wage would be reached.
- Unemployment Insurance. With a $15/hour minimum wage job, if you get fired, you only get Unemployment Insurance, which would increase by about $2,600 total ($100/week) over the 26 week period compared to a $9/hour minimum wage. (If there is a Federal Jobs Guarantee, you could get a Federal Job.) With the Freedom Dividend, if you get fired, you get Unemployment Insurance and the $1,000/month Freedom Dividend. Over the 26 week period you get an extra $6,000 compared to $9/hour minimum wage. Favor: Freedom Dividend by $3,400. (26 weeks is the norm, but some states have different periods. See https://www.savingtoinvest.com/maximum-weekly-unemployment-benefits-by-state/ )
Potential Negatives of the $15/hour minimum wage
- $15/hour impact on struggling businesses. For not-so-profitable businesses, $15/hour could force them to cut hours or shifts, cut perks or bonuses, or close entirely. For a small business, they might resort to paying their teenage relatives less than minimum wage under the table, or use various minimum wage loopholes that already exist to get around it. A small business under a certain size would likely be exempt from paying the VAT which funds the Freedom Dividend (for the UK it is $150,000 in revenue, for example).
- $15/hour impact on profitable businesses. For all businesses, they might see this as an impetus to invest in more job-killing technology (robots, ordering kiosks, self-checkout, software, etc.) With the Freedom Dividend they will have the 10% VAT to pay, but they can pass some or all of this on to the consumer. See https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/14/business/target-cutting-hours-wage-increase/index.html
Potential Negatives of the Freedom Dividend
- Someone might say that a Universal Basic Income could cause inflation, but that hasn't been the case in studies. See https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/20/16256240/mexico-cash-transfer-inflation-basic-income for one example.
- Nor have studies shown that introducing a VAT causes inflation (See https://www.src.gov.sc/pages/pressreleases/VATInflationary.aspx and https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/vat-causes-inflation.html)
The Freedom Dividend accomplishes some of the same things as the $15/hour minimum wage (a $6/hour raise to those making an average minimum wage with increased taxation of around $1,200/year, and overall similar savings to assistance programs). But the Freedom Dividend also has many other benefits, without as many potential pitfalls.
The Freedom Dividend is not taxed (although it can push you into a new income bracket, according to Yang, the details of which have not been released).
$15/hour minimum wage:
- Before ($9/hr): 2020 taxes = $560 ($18k salary, subtract $12,400 standard exemption then use 10% rate on $5,600)
- After ($15/hr): 2020 taxes = $1,914 ($30k salary, subtract $12,400 standard exemption then use 10% rate on first $9,875 and 12% rate on remaining)
- Difference: $1,354.50 more income taxes to pay
- Before ($9/hr): 2020 taxes = $560 ($18k salary, subtract $12,400 personal exemption then use 10% rate on $5,600)
- After ($9/hr + FD): 2020 taxes = $672 (I'm assuming that the FD is just like an additional $12k exemption, but simultaneously you lower the threshold of each bracket by $12k, so $18k - $12,400 exemption = $5,600 salary taxed at 12%. Yang has not clarified if this is the procedure or not. See https://github.com/UBICenter/ubi-center/issues/80 for details.)
- Difference: $112 more income taxes to pay
Result: Pay $1,242.50 more income taxes per year for the $15/hour minimum wage vs Freedom Dividend
The VAT and other new taxes which fund the Freedom Dividend
The Freedom Dividend is paid primarily by a 10% VAT (which is a tax on business transactions), a raised cap on social security, and new taxes for capital gains and financial transactions.
- The VAT is similar to a 10% increase on the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). If you buy yarn and make sweaters at your direct-to-consumer sweater mill, for example, the yarn seller has to charge, and you have to pay, an extra 10% on the yarn itemized as the VAT, and send that 10% directly to the government. This is only for businesses that have reached a certain threshold of revenue, e.g. $150,000 or so.
- However, somewhere between "some" and "all" of the VAT burden is passed to the consumer. Let's assume worse case scenario and say "all". This means that for a business, the only increased burden is the administrative work to calculate the VAT, and I'm sure there is software out there that can help with that. After all, many countries are doing this already.
- The social security cap, capital gains, and financial transactions taxes are generally paid for by the wealthy.
- For you, the employee, this means that prices on non-exempt goods and services have just gone up by 10% across the board. According to Max Ghenis at the UBI Center, you would pay roughly 5.5% of take-home pay due to this price increase. Unless your gross salary is $285,000 or higher, the Freedom Dividend of $1,000 a month is more than the increased price effect. Example: Someone making $18,000/year today ($9/hour) would pay roughly $80/month in VAT, and therefore net $920/month from the Freedom Dividend when comparing today's prices and income to future prices and income. So that $6/hr raise from the Freedom Dividend just became $5.50/hour, or $960 less per year.
- According to the UBI Center study, there is an additional 1.5% of take-home paid by the non-VAT taxes. For someone making $9/hour today this results in a grand total of $1,222.22. Almost exactly the same as the increased income taxes on the $15/hour minimum wage.
Result: In a round-about way, a person with a minimum wage job makes $80/month or $960/year less in Freedom Dividend due to the VAT. When adding the other taxes, the total is $1,222.22. Compare this to the extra $1,242.50 income tax/year on $15/hour minimum wage. But also consider, if your employer is forced to raise wages to $15/hour you might be out of a job.
Effect on Current Assistance Programs
At this point we know that Yang has said that someone would have to choose between cash and cash-like programs and the Freedom Dividend. Extremely detailed specifics have not been released, but the general consensus is that this refers to (at least) SNAP/SSI/TANF/WIC.
Here is a list of various assistance programs and whether or not they are affected by the Freedom Dividend and/or the $15/minimum wage.
[FD/15] - Affected by the Freedom Dividend and the $15/min wage
[FD/-] - Affected by the Freedom Dividend only
[-/15] - Affected by the $15/min wage only
? - unknown or hard to estimate
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) [FD/15]
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) [FD/?]
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) [FD/15]
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) [FD/15]
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) [?/15]
- Medicaid/CHIP [-/15]
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) [-/?]
- Veterans Benefits [-/?]
- Social Security and Survivor's Benefits [-/-]
- Housing [-/-]
- Unemployment [-/-]
SNAP aka Food Stamps
- Cost of program: $88 billion/year (I'm using the fact that the UBI Center says $75 Billion is 85% of budget. I realize the internet says it is smaller than this in other places https://medium.com/ubicenter/distributional-analysis-of-andrew-yangs-freedom-dividend-d8dab818bf1b )
- Reach: 40 million people
- Participation Rate: 84% (16% of those eligible do not participate. e.g. 7 million lose out)
- Average monthly assistance: $126/month individual assistance, $256/month average household assistance
- Average yearly assistance: $1,512/year average individual assistance, $3,072/year average household assistance
- Average adult lifetime assistance: $27,216 individual total, $54,648 household total over 18 years (until your child is an adult)
- Maximum income for eligibility: $1,354/month gross ($1041/month net) for single person, $1,832/month gross for 2 person household ($1,410/month net), $2,311 for a 3 person household ($1,778/month net). Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: $75 Billion worth of people would opt-in and forego benefits (85% of all people in the program, or 34 Million) according to the UBI Center
- $15/minimum wage force-out: Most working families would no longer qualify (as minimum wage would now be $2,500/month). 36% of SNAP families are considered working, according to http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/the-high-public-cost-of-low-wages/ . In other words, $31 Billion of savings across 14.4 million people.
- Cost of program: $55 billion/year
- Reach: 8 million people participate
- Participation Rate: 22% (77% of people with disabilities do not participate)
- Average monthly assistance: $536/month average assistance
- Average yearly assistance: $6,432/year.
- Average adult lifetime assistance: $385,920 adult lifetime (18-78 or 60 yrs)
- Maximum income for eligibility: $1,531/month gross, total resources owned less than $2,000 outside of house
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: $40 Billion worth of people would opt-in and forego benefits (75% of all people in the program, or 6 million) according to the UBI Center
- $15/minimum wage force-out: All working people would no longer qualify (as minimum wage would now be $2,500/month). It is not clear what percentage of SSI recipients are considered "working", but probably low, as every $2 earned is $1 reduction in payment.
- Cost of program: $30 billion/year
- Reach: 1 million adults (plus 2 million kids).
- Participation Rate: Only between 10% and 25% of those who qualify actually get to use it.
- Average monthly assistance: $450/month median assistance
- Average yearly assistance: $5,400/year
- Average adult lifetime assistance: $36,000 total (5 year average time limit)
- Maximum income for eligibility: average $1,000/month gross (varies wildly by state). Asset limits vary by state, between $0-$10,000, but usually between $1,000 and $3,000.
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: $15 Billion/year worth of people would opt-in and forego benefits (50% of all people in the program, or 500,000) according to the UBI Center, or 500,000 people.
- $15/minimum wage force-out: All working people would no longer qualify (as minimum wage would now be $2,500/month). 32% of TANF recipients are working, or roughly 300,000 people. Savings of $10 billion or so.
- Cost of program: $3.5 billion/year
- Reach: 7 million people
- Participation Rate: 50% (7 million out of 15 million eligible)
- Average monthly assistance: $150/month for infant, or $50/month for child up to 5, averages out to $70/month
- Average yearly assistance: $840/year
- Average adult lifetime assistance: $4,200 total per child. $1,800 year 1 + 4*($600) = $4,200 (5 year limit, must reapply every 6 months or year)
- Maximum income for eligibility: Less than 185% of poverty guidelines, around $1,900/month
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: $3 Billion/year worth of people would opt-in and forego benefits (85% of all people in the program, or 6 million) according to the UBI Center, or 6 million.
- $15/minimum wage force-out: Estimate 1/3 of working people would no longer qualify (as minimum wage would now be $2,500/month). 40% of WIC participants are working, or 2.8 million people. 1/3 of that would be 900k people. Savings of $0.5 billion or so.
- Cost of program: $63 billion/year
- Reach: 25 million people
- Participation Rate: 80%
- Average monthly assistance: $45 to $555 a month depending on your filing status and how many children you have.
- Average yearly assistance: $538 to $6,660 depending on your filing status and how many children you have.
- Average adult lifetime assistance: $32,280 to $313,020 depending on your filing status and how many children you have.
- Maximum income for eligibility: $15,820 (single, no kids) to $56,844 (3 ore more kids, filing jointly)
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: N/A
- $15/minimum wage force-out: 81% of EITC is for working people (20m out of 25m). 90% or so of those would no longer qualify (single parents would still qualify) https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/can-you-take-earned-income-tax-credit/ [Since 30% of households have kids and 32% of those are single parents, I'm estimating 10% of working EITC recipients keep it.] $63B total, $51B working, $46B non-single-parents don't qualify anymore. 18m people lose $212 av/month each, to gain $1,000/mo while working (assuming previous job min wage) ($46B)
- Cost of program: $557 billion/year (Medicaid) + $13 billion/year (CHIP)
- Reach: 73 million people
- Participation Rate: 80%
- Average monthly assistance: ?
- Average yearly assistance: ?
- Average adult lifetime assistance: ?
- Maximum income for eligibility: Varies wildly by state, and which other programs you are already enrolled in
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: N/A
- $15/minimum wage force-out: 55% of receivers are working, or $45B, or 19 million people at $200/month each, to gain $1,000/mo while working ($45B)
- Cost of program: $25 billion/year
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: N/A
- Cost of program: $50 billion/year
- Reach: 10 million people in 5 million households
- Participation Rate: 60% ($33 billion more could be spent to cover all)
- Average monthly assistance: ?
- Average yearly assistance: ?
- Average adult lifetime assistance: ?
- Maximum income for eligibility: ?
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: N/A
- $15/minimum wage force-out: ?
Social Security, Survivor's Benefits, SSDI (OASDI)
- Cost of program: $945 billion (Social Security $642 billion, Survivor's Benefits $122 billion, SSDI $160 billion)
- Reach: 42 million retired, 3 million spouses and children, 6 million surviving spouses and children, 10.4 million SSDI
- Participation Rate: SSDI 45%
- Average monthly assistance: $1,470/month (Social Security), $1,234/month (SSDI)
- Average yearly assistance: $17,640/year (Social Security), $14,808/year (SSDI)
- Average adult lifetime assistance: $211,680 (66-78 yrs old, Social Security)
- Maximum income for eligibility: $1,170/month (SSDI), or $1,950/month if blind (SSDI)
- Freedom Dividend Opt-In: N/A
- $15/minimum wage force-out: N/A
- Cost of program: $187 billion
- SNAP - 34 Million people would forego $256/month to get it, over the 18 year period, foregoing $54,648 to get $720,000. ($75B).
- SSI - 6 Million people would forego $536/month to get it, over their lifespan, foregoing $385,920 to get $720,000. ($40B)
- TANF - 500k people would forego $450/month to get it, over the 5 year average period, foregoing $36,000 to get $720,000. ($15B)
- WIC - 6 million people would forego $70/month to get it, over the 5 year period, foregoing $4,200 to get $720,000. ($3B)
- EITC - Yang hasn't said that the FD would affect EITC that I am aware of ($0B)
- Medicaid / CHIP - Yang has explicitly said that Medicaid would stack with the FD ($0B)
- Unemployment - Stacks with the FD ($0B)
Total saved: $133B
- SNAP - 14.4 Million people would lose their $256/month, over the 18 year period, to gain $1,000/mo while working. ($31B)
- SSI - unclear how many people would lose their $536/month, over their lifespan ($??B)
- TANF - 300k people would lose $450/month, over the 5 year average period, to gain $1,000/mo while working. ($10B)
- WIC - 900k million people would lose $70/month, over the 5 year period, to gain $1,000/mo while working ($0.5B)
- EITC - 81% of EITC is for working people (20m out of 25m). 20% that qualify do not use this credit. and 90% or so of those would no longer qualify (single parents would still qualify) https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/can-you-take-earned-income-tax-credit/ [Since 30% of households have kids and 32% of those are single parents, I'm estimating 10% of working EITC recipients keep it.] $63B total, $51B working, $46B non-single-parents don't qualify anymore. 18m people or $212/month each, to gain $1,000/mo while working ($46B)
- Medicaid / CHIP - 55% of receivers are working, or $45B, or 19 million people at $200/month each, to gain $1,000/mo while working ($45B)
- Unemployment - US spends about $25B/year on this. people would gain about $1,200 over the 12 week period ($100/week) for Florida. Varies state to state. Government spending would *increase* but I didn't calculate by exactly how much.
Total saved: $133B
Note that some of the people above might represent the same people, e.g. if someone is getting TANF and SNAP together.
Veterans: There may be certain Veteran's Benefits affected by the minimum wage, since there are "low-income requirements" for some. I couldn't find enough detail on these requirements. Veterans Disability is untouched by the Freedom Dividend.
Social Security, Survivor's Benefits, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), collectively known as OASDI, are programs that we paid into with our paycheck FICA, so those are both untouched by $15/min wage and Freedom Dividend, although with the $15/min wage your paycheck will have some money removed due to these programs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) income limit is $1,022/month, but by definition you are on SSDI because you can't work, so I'm estimating this to be unaffected by the minimum wage.
Housing Benefits are untouched by the Freedom Dividend, and because they are based on the percentage of mean or median income in an area, I'm assuming that if the minimum wage goes up, so does the mean income, and therefore housing benefits should be mainly untouched.
Unemployment should be unaffected by both $15/min wage and Freedom Dividend, although if you are getting Unemployment, the Freedom Dividend helps directly ($3,000 over the 12 week period) and the Minimum wage only indirectly (raising the assistance by about $100/week in Florida, or $1,200 over the 12 week period).
See https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-low-wage-employers-cost-taxpayers-153-billion-a-year/ for discussion of EITC and Medicaid.
- Distributional Analysis of Andrew Yang's Freedom Dividend by Max Ghenis, UBI Center https://medium.com/ubicenter/distributional-analysis-of-andrew-yangs-freedom-dividend-d8dab818bf1b
- The High Public Cost of Low Wages, UC Berkeley Labor Center http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/the-high-public-cost-of-low-wages/
- Minimum Wage by State https://www.paycor.com/resource-center/minimum-wage-by-state-and-2018-increases
- How raising the minimum wage ripples through the workforce https://equitablegrowth.org/raising-minimum-wage-ripples-workforce/
- The Freedom Dividend and tax brackets https://github.com/UBICenter/ubi-center/issues/80
- Tax brackets for 2020 https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-provides-tax-inflation-adjustments-for-tax-year-2020
- SNAP recipients nationally https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/a-closer-look-at-who-benefits-from-snap-state-by-state-fact-sheets#Alabama
- Average SNAP payment https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/chart-book-snap-helps-struggling-families-put-food-on-the-table
- Maximum income allowed for SNAP https://eligibility.com/food-stamps
- Average SSI payment https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/page4-44.html
- Maximum income for SSI https://www.fool.com/retirement/2016/04/26/what-is-the-maximum-income-to-qualify-for-ssi.aspx
- SSI participation rate https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v78n2/v78n2p29.html
- TANF by state https://www.cbpp.org/research/family-income-support/tanf-benefits-remain-low-despite-recent-increases-in-some-states and https://www.openminds.com/market-intelligence/executive-briefings/state-tanf-programs-spend-cash-assistance/
- TANF reach https://www.cbpp.org/research/family-income-support/tanf-reaching-few-poor-families
- TANF length of time https://www.verywellfamily.com/tanf-grant-program-overview-2997412
- Number of people in WIC https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-2016-eligibility-and-coverage-rates
- WIC payment amount https://www.governing.com/news/state/why-are-fewer-moms-applying-for-wic-when-food-stamp-use-is-so-high.html
- Life expectancy https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&idim=country:USA:CAN:GBR&hl=en&dl=en
- Current retirement age is 66 https://www.nasi.org/learn/socialsecurity/retirement-age
- 20% that qualify for EITC don't use it https://www.eitc.irs.gov/partner-toolkit/basic-marketing-communication-materials/eitc-fast-facts/eitc-fast-facts
- EITC qualification https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/can-you-take-earned-income-tax-credit/
- Cost of Unemployment benefits https://www.statista.com/statistics/284857/total-unemployment-benefits-paid-in-the-us/
- Medicaid reach https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/medicaid-enrollment-spending-growth-fy-2018-2019/
- Medicaid participation rate https://www.kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/medicaidchip-parent-participation-rates/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
- Housing benefits participation rate https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/federal-rental-assistance-fact-sheets#US
- Housing programs cost http://federalsafetynet.com/housing-assistance.html
- Social Security monthly check https://www.cbpp.org/research/social-security/policy-basics-top-ten-facts-about-social-security
- Social Security budget https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go
- SSDI max income https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/faq/how-much-to-earn-to-qualify
- SSDI monthly payments https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/how-much-in-ssd.html
- VA benefits total spend https://www.cbo.gov/publication/54881
- UBI doesn't cause inflation https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/20/16256240/mexico-cash-transfer-inflation-basic-income
- VAT doesn't cause inflation https://www.src.gov.sc/pages/pressreleases/VATInflationary.aspx and https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/vat-causes-inflation.html
- Unemployment by state https://www.savingtoinvest.com/maximum-weekly-unemployment-benefits-by-state/