A million for every American

Although it has been tried here and there, a guaranteed annual wage didn’t become a thing until it was raised by 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Wang, who called it a universal basic wage. The guy who liked math proposed giving every American adult $1,000 a month, free and clear.

Yang called it a Freedom Dividend, but he was not the first person to roll a free-for-all out of the garage. As far back as 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King suggested direct government payments as the fastest way to eliminate poverty.

Yang’s proposed idea seemed crazy to some, but not as “crazy” as the federal government actually paying $931 billion to people who lost their income due to COVID. It was the largest giveaway in history, it fueled inflation, it reportedly created a “nonwork” culture, but probably saved millions of people from contemplating either suicide or armed robbery. It was “go big” or “go home.”

I am about to go even bigger. Buckle your seat belts. 

The way things work for most Americans, wealth is accumulated over a lifetime of work and investment. The Baby Boomers came along at the right time, when the economy was exploding, and have harvested more wealth than they know what to do with, other than leave it to their ungrateful children.  And this is after Mom and Dad have bought the McMansion, a couple of SUVs and visited Europe eight times.

Bottom line: Average Americans have a lot of money at the end of life, when they don’t need it.

Here’s my idea: Give every adult American $1 million after they complete two years of community service. That could be the military, AmeriCorps, the Peace Corp, teaching in Appalachia, running midnight basketball in the ghetto inner city, or any program on an approved list. If you don’t want to contribute sweat equity, you don’t get $1 million. Simple and fair.

For everyone else — every person a millionaire! No more playing the Power Ball. And think of how crime, often associated with poverty, would decline.

They get the money when they need it for starting a business, buying a home, or paying for college, or a trade school or investment. (If a program I previously proposed were adopted, college would be free.)

We intuitively know that it takes money to make money. So the Bykofsky Plan provides the seed money. It’s easier to become a multimillionaire if you start out as a millionaire. That’s what Donald J. Trump did. Our problem is getting the first million.

The Bykofsky Plan gives you that leg up.

People will have higher incomes and the free $1 million may be recouped over time through income taxes.

Oh — remember what I said about ungrateful heirs?


The Bykofsky Plan has a 100% inheritance tax.

You can leave nothing to your heirs because they are instant millionaires. They don’t need your money because they have ours and they don’t have to wait for you to croak to get their hands on it. The money you leave behind goes to financing the next wave of young millionaires. 

With no reason to hoard, Americans might spend more in their declining years. Since consumers power our economy, that is all to the good.

Surely some parents, pre-death, will transfer wealth to their children, but that, too, will drive the economy.

There will be less impetus for Americans to save, and more to spend, again goosing the economy. 

The entire country benefits when the young strike it rich.

Yes, you may nominate me for a MacArthur Genius Grant. 

19 thoughts on “A million for every American”

  1. Dang, Stu, you come up with some really stupendous plans from time to time! Really! The only item I saw missing in your BP (Bykofsky Plan) is how to keep the IRS’ hands off of that million-dollar grant. That immediately puts one in the 37% tax bracket (or even higher by then). I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to fix that too.

    I’m also sure you’ll have a way to pay for this plan…something like, getting rid of most of the other giveaway programs, etc.

    Otherwise – Bravo!

    1. The IRS is barred from the $1million. Where does it come from? At first, same place the $931 rescue money came from. After a few years, the inheritance money floats the vash reserve.
      I am the idea man. I don’t count the pennies. Like my free tuition plan, it may need tweaks.

      1. It is according to the definition: attack on a person or institution with wit or sarcasm. You’re witty and sarcastic in the article. Embrace it. Unless you were serious; if so you’re around the bend.

  2. This idea makes everyone a Silver Spoon Kid. Forget about ambition, hard work and lessons learned from failure. Success should be earned. Some individuals are given a better financial start in life but it does not guarantee a lifetime of success. Giving everyone a large amount of money without effort is a bad idea.

    I think the author of , “a hand up, not a hand out” quote, or something similar to was Tom Hicks. He was a cowboy philosopher killed in an airplane crash in Alaska
    We did not all set out on equal footing and a million bucks won’t make it so. Don’t believe me ? Go out on the street and pose the same question to all that you stop. “If you were handed a million bucks, what would you do with it “? Similar to the famous, “if you hit the lottery…..

    1. aside from the rhetorical, right now I’m in the process of installing Civil War gravestones at Mt Hope cemetery. The VA buys the stone and we pay for the foundation and installation . There are close to 200 Vets interred here . Probably half of them needs stones either because they never had one or illegible, broke what have you. Each grave will cost $200.00. Fast math. 40 K. The rest would go to Tunnel to Towers.

    2. Tony – and we all know the stats regarding lottery winnings, right? Something like 87% blast through their winnings in less than 2 years. So, now, applying that to Stu’s Million Dollar no-Lottery Lottery – what do you figure the odds are? I know that Stu will come back and say that at least they are supporting the economy, etc. Not completely wrong, of course, but leaves a bit to be desired.

      1. Randy,
        When I was with the city, we approaching retirement had to attend a ‘DROP’ meeting. You all know the DROP. That’s where city council cut themselves in to a GOLDEN PARACHUTE ! Regardless, There about 30 of us in the room. Mostly male, predominately black – not minority. I say this without prejudice. The city then and now has the white population as a minority. Therefore, city residents got on the gravy train and joined the city employment.
        So there we sat, listening to various people talk about the windfall and nest egg we were all looking to receive. FACT: the average worker was looking at less than 100 thousand from the DROP. That said, most of the guys were looking at a brand new 225. That would be the big buick, or something even bigger. Next – move. That mill just ain’t enough…….

        1. What I didn’t add earlier is this. A fiduciary was the last to speak. No one was interested. SURPRISE ! His parting words was along these lines. You are going to get a prescribed amount of money from the city. You can have it anyway you want. Monthly, split it with ypur wife, split it however many ways you want OR, if you want to screw the city, sign it over to your youngest family member. You’re over 50 and may live another 35 – 50 years. That baby should live well over a HUNDRED ! ( another surprise. no takers )

    3. This is not a “giveaway.” Remember the component of two years’ public service. Thus, it is actually owned and people might be a little more careful with it, than an unearned lottery winning.
      In any event, you are an adult, waste it if you want.

  4. I fully support the Bykofsky Plan. Good job, Stu!

    Down the road a bit, something like this is likely to become reality. There will come a day when machines are doing the vast majority of the work humans used to do. At that point, what are those former workers going to do? Admittedly, this is likely many years off. But there WILL come such a day when there simply may not be enough things for people to do. And that’s where some kind of payment may need to be made for people to simply live their lives. It’s an esoteric and interesting scenario, one which I will surely not be here to have to worry about.

    Meanwhile, go Phillies! Climb that mountain in Houston!

  5. In 1969, Republican Dick Nixon had a plan for a basic family income for poor people. It passed in the House but never made it out of Senate committee.

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