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Interesting to hear you oppose UBI especially given your experiences with homelessness. What's your reasoning?



Since I originally mentioned UBI in my reply, I'm going to clarify. Many people oppose UBI in the sense of not expecting UBI as the one solution to every social issue. From that POV, I also oppose UBI. In fact, I think everyone should be enabled to engage in productive and highly-paid work, as far as practicable. However we should acknowledge that people sometimes get stuck in poverty/welfare traps, that traditional forms of assistance are all too often ineffective and lead to people falling through the cracks. It's hard to see a solution to this that doesn't involve a UBI of some sort.

Edit: We should also point out that UBI does play a role in addressing the housing-unaffordability problem. Being stuck in a high-rent, high-COL place is a sort of poverty trap that is solved by enabling people to move to somewhere cheaper and seek successful work there.


We should also point out that UBI does play a role in addressing the housing-unaffordability problem. Being stuck in a high-rent, high-COL place is a sort of poverty trap that is solved by enabling people to move to somewhere cheaper and seek successful work there.

This is basically an extremely classist, racist and uninformed version of NIMBY that says "Poor people: They are allowed to exist, but Not In My Back Yard. Go be poor someplace else!"

It's a complicated issue and I've already written a couple of long comments and I have other things I need to be doing. But telling people we will cut you a small check so you can move someplace cheaper amounts to saying poor people cannot live in desirable areas with lots of amenities and have no right whatsoever to desire to do so.

I also have zero reason to believe it actually solves the housing affordability issue. I was willing to move to almost anywhere in the western US to get off the street and back into housing. I left California and moved to a small town in Washington. But it was extremely challenging trying to find a place to make my life work with affordable rent and no car.

I no longer drive. Even if I did, buying a car is typically the second highest household expense for most American households.

We just don't have a lot of options for a full and vibrant life without a car in the US. Living without a car requires a certain level of urban fabric so you can do your shopping etc on foot and via public transit. The lack of walkable places in the US is a primary part of the affordability issue.

It will not get solved by injecting funds into the system for poor people to use to cover rent. In fact, doing so likely makes the issue more intractable.

Real change is always hard. People inherently do not like change. UBI is a "status quo is god" answer when the current status quo has terrible problems that will not be fixed by simply giving poor people a few more bucks to live on.


One problem I see with UBI is that it may just act as a subsidy for companies like Amazon and Uber allowing them to pay their lowest paid workers even less.


I have a whole lot of reasons. It boils down to the fact that I think it amounts to rich people imagining they can cut a small check and make poor people shut up and go away rather than giving them real rights, access to the means to build wealth, etc.

Also, every time humans try to "share and share alike" like this -- socialism, communism, etc -- it winds up going bad places. Such idealistic schemes only ever work well when it is some small self-selected group of like-minded people. The minute it gets opened up to "everyone," it promptly goes to hell in a hand basket.

Articles about UBI suggest that we need UBI because automation is displacing workers and you can assume permanent high unemployment as a normal future state. The jobs that are going away due to automation typically pay $20k to $50k annually. UBI is usually posited as being about $10k annually or maybe $18k annually tops.

Such articles then go on to describe how wonderful it will be for people currently doing underpaid "good work," like social workers, to have UBI on top of their current meager paycheck. They never actually go into the dystopian scenario of 80 percent permanent unemployment, you getting a mere $10k annually with nearly zero hope of making more than that while rents, medical expenses, etc. remain just as high as they are today.

I think a much better solution is single payer healthcare and real solutions to the housing affordability crisis. Make it possible for someone to get free or cheap healthcare and a cheap, decent place to live where it is possible for a single person (for example) to support themselves working a minimum wage job or part-time at gig work that pays a bit better than minimum wage and a lot of social ills we see today will largely go away.

Here is a piece that I think does a good idea of outlining some of the issues with UBI. I especially like the phrase "California optimistic" in the piece:

https://medium.com/s/free-money/after-universal-basic-income...

It recently occurred to me that UBI treats most people as "consumers" and their "consumer" function as the only thing they can contribute to the system while trying to survive. This means UBI actively tries to turn people into parasites.

We need to integrate people into the body of the nation as productive, responsible citizens, even if they don't produce very much. There is no end to how much people can spend, as evidenced by the fact that about 2/3 of lottery winners wind up bankrupt within five years from what I gather.


> I think it amounts to rich people imagining they can cut a small check and make poor people shut up and go away rather than giving them real rights

This reminds me of the dystopian option in Manna http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm


> Also, every time humans try to "share and share alike" like this -- socialism, communism, etc -- it winds up going bad places.

How do you reconcile that with the quite successful Scandinavian (and to a lesser extent Canadian and other) examples of quite left/socialist leaning societies?

I hear this argument ("It just doesn't work!") quite often but it sounds to me to be just parroting far-right propaganda, and selectively looking at evidence that supports that line of thinking (eg russia/china which have a lot of issues that aren't really tied to the left/right spectrum).

[edit] I actually like the reasonable approach you're taking in the rest of your comment :) I'm just picking at that one statement as I see it fairly often and really have a hard time understanding it.


From what I've read, they do things in line with what I advocate, such as making healthcare available to all, not free money for existing.


Interesting angle, thanks for the post.




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