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Richard Branson pushes universal welfare programs

Matthew Vadum author image /

Swashbuckling entrepreneur Richard Branson is the latest billionaire to endorse the incredibly dumb idea of the government giving everyone money for doing nothing, CNBC reports.

Branson and corporate welfare addict Elon Musk both support a guaranteed annual income scheme like the top-heavy welfare states in Europe have. (Some call it a “universal basic income” scheme.)

“With the acceleration of [artificial intelligence] and other new technology … the world is changing fast,” he wrote recently. “A lot of exciting new innovations are going to be created, which will generate a lot of opportunities and a lot of wealth, but there is a real danger it could also reduce the amount of jobs.”

Branson added, “this will make experimenting with ideas like basic income even more important in the years to come.”

In the 1960s Marxists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven tried to force a sloth-inducing guarantee annual income system on the people of the United States.

They proposed swamping the welfare rolls of states and localities by encouraging people to exercise their welfare “rights” by applying for public benefits.  The theory was that newly cash-strapped state and local governments would demand a bailout from Congress. The fiscal rescue package would take the form of a European-style guaranteed annual income scheme that would drive America well down the road to full-blown socialism.

Enlisting the organizing expertise of Saul Alinsky and other veteran community organizers, Cloward and Piven created ACORN’s parent organization, the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), to execute their plan, I wrote in my 2011 book, Subversion Inc.

The Cloward-Piven Strategy almost succeeded.

Liberal Republican governors such as New York’s Nelson Rockefeller and Michigan’s George Romney quickly surrendered under steady assault from NWRO organizers.  Burgeoning welfare caseloads brought New York City to the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970s, a fact acknowledged two decades later by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani blamed the “perverted social philosophy” of Cloward and Piven. “New York City viewed welfare as a good thing, as a wonderful thing. They romanticized it and embraced a philosophy of dependency.”

Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, political support grew for a guaranteed annual income. President Nixon supported the proposal and it came within a hair’s breadth of passing Congress in 1972.

The movement was aided by Goldberg v. Kelly, a monstrously wrongheaded piece of judge-made law. In the landmark 1970 decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 3 that the “brutal need” of a poor welfare recipient outweighed society’s interest in trying to prevent welfare fraud.

Goldberg stated that welfare recipients were entitled to an evidentiary hearing before an impartial decision-maker at which they could call and confront witnesses.  They were also entitled to receive a written, reasoned opinion before being deprived of benefits.

The court absurdly declared that a welfare recipient had a “property” interest in welfare and that this interest deserved due process protections when the government wanted to take that so-called property away. With the ruling, welfare effectively ceased to be a gratuity that could be granted and withdrawn at the discretion of the government.

The liberal Justice William Brennan reportedly considered Goldberg to be the most momentous decision of his career on the high court bench.

And now the guaranteed annual income is back again.

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The Author

Matthew Vadum

The author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011), Vadum writes and speaks widely on ACORN and other…