Watch a Fox panel become speechless after a guest defends universal basic income

Stuart Varney: “Our viewers are not going to be very happy about this”

From the September 12 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.:

Video file

STUART VARNEY (HOST): Felix Salmon is with us, he is the chief financial correspondent at Axios, and he knows a thing or two about social networks and regulations. Good morning, Felix.

FELIX SALMON (AXIOS): And even universal basic income, which is a great idea, I'm all in favor of that.

VARNEY: What? You don't believe that.

SALMON: If Mike Huckabee actually wants to take people from poverty and put them into work, if you look at the actual evidence --



SALMON: Giving people guaranteed money increases the probability that they'll find a job.

VARNEY: You've got a British accent. Are you an Englishman?


VARNEY: What the devil's going on where the Brits export their socialists over here?

SALMON: Well, they're exporting all of their people because it's falling into the sea because they left the E.U.

VARNEY: What are you thinking? You support a universal basic income system?

SALMON: Maybe not universal, but certainly for people in poverty.

VARNEY: Wildly expensive. Free money, for God's sake.

SALMON: Free money is awesome. The best way to get people out of poverty is to give them money.

VARNEY: Do you pay tax?


VARNEY: You'd have no objection to your tax money going to people, free, do what you like with it, here's a transfer, just do it.

SALMON: Yeah, unconditional cash transfers, yeah, they're incredibly powerful.

VARNEY: You like this?


VARNEY: How long are you going to be in America for?

SALMON: I'm a citizen now.

VARNEY: You're a citizen? So you vote?

SALMON: I'm going to, yes.

WEBSTER: But didn't they try this in Finland and it fell apart? They've yanked it, it didn't work, it was no incentive to go and work.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD (FOX BUSINESS): Because it was so costly.

SALMON: That was not the reason.

MACDONALD: It was the reason, because it was so costly.

SALMON: The cost was the reason, but the work incentive actually played out. You wind up working more, and being healthier, and having healthier kids who go to school more, those findings, especially -- is stronger in places like sub-Saharan Africa, where you can see the differences happen much more rapidly. But there's a good case to be made that it happens in all countries. It happens in Alaska, Alaska is a Republican state, and they give everyone an unconditional check every year.

MACDONALD: That's a dividend out of the oil supplies.

VARNEY: That's from the dividend from the oil, it's got nothing to do with universal basic income for heaven's sake.

SALMON: It's universal income.

VARNEY: Are you a socialist?


VARNEY: What are you?

SALMON: Maybe.

VARNEY: Way left of center? Did you declare that when you came to America and became a citizen?

SALMON: They asked me if I had or had ever been a member of the Communist Party, and I had not.

VARNEY: And you had not.

SALMON: I had not.

VARNEY: So you're off the hook.

SALMON: Exactly.

VARNEY: You can be a socialist on television, but you don't tell the immigration authorities about it.

SALMON: Now it's too late now, I'm a citizen.


VARNEY: Our viewers are not going to be very happy about this.

SALMON: They should be because it's free money. Who doesn't like free money?

MACDONALD: Taxpayers don't, they have to pay for it.

VARNEY: The people handing it out. People like me.

SALMON: Well, you have too much.

VARNEY: Oh. You've done it now. You've really done it now. I gotta move away to something else. Get off my set.


Slate: Three new findings show us how a universal basic income might work


Fox host dismisses economic hardships faced by many Americans: “What's the word 'struggle' really mean?”

Fox host: It is a “tragedy” that municipalities are raising the minimum wage to provide a living wage

Fox Business pushes almost every minimum wage myth in just 90 seconds