Reply to post: Next step for welfare

Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

Next step for welfare

The push for UBI as an 'income' appears to be coming from people currently living under the restrictions of welfare systems. We have programs to supplement or replace poor or no income. But these benefits are provided with conditions. EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer, a kind of debit card loaded by the state) comes with restrictions on what sorts of goods can be purchased with them. No booze. And in Washington State, no pot. And these rules are frequently being gamed by beneficiaries. For example: Buy large quantities of permitted commodity goods that can be traded around the corner for whatever.

Housing assistance often comes with rules. Shelter provided outright is often conditional upon restrictions against drugs, alcohol and disruptive behavior. Which is one reason many of these people just move back to tents under the freeway off-ramps.

Handing money to people as an 'income' removes these behavioral restrictions. And gives the recipients cash to use in the black markets (unlike EBT). If you really need to feed your kids, we have a system set up for that. If it's 'income', it may very well be spent on heroin and people will still end up sleeping in doorways if it doesn't make it t the end of the month.

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