Frequently Asked Questions #19

Public Policy and Health

What can we do to improve nutrition and health?  
Replace welfare with Universal Basic Income (UBI).

What’s Universal Basic Income? 
In 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s version of UBI — his main platform issue — every US citizen between ages 18-64 would receive $1000/month, no strings attached. To learn more about how Yang wants to pay for his program, click here.

What’s the difference between Universal Basic Income and welfare programs?   
UBI isn’t the same as welfare. UBI (my version) would replace welfare. Recipients of UBI can do whatever they want with the money and they don’t lose that income if they pursue another source of income. Welfare, on the other hand, disincentivises its recipients from working because they lose welfare income when they do. And a welfare program like food stamps *tells* its recipients how much they should spend on groceries (even though nutritional needs vary person to person), thereby humiliating *and* infantalizing them.  Welfare tells recipients that they’re poor because they’re stupid.  UBI tells everyone that it’s up to you to figure out how to best spend your money.  Welfare is psychologically crippling. UBI gives people an opportunity to act as responsible adults and encourages recipients to be innovative, to figure out how to get the most out of their money.

So why would UBI improve nutrition and health?
In a developed society, poor health and nutrition happens to those who are psychologically and philosophically “out of tune.”  It has nothing to do with lack of financial resources. Providing basic financial security AND removing the stigma of being on welfare will begin the emotional healing necessary to improve health.

Will UBI give the poor the opportunity to choose healthier options, as Yang thinks will happen?
No, people will continue to eat what they want to eat.  A healthy diet costs less than an unhealthy one.  Unless you’re in Flint Michigan, tap water is cheaper than soda and an apple costs less than a candybar. Again, it’s the emotional renewal that will spur changes in diet and activity.

I’ll give examples in another blog post on Universal Basic Income and its affect on health and diet. I’ll also discuss why Yang thinks that UBI will improve people’s diet.

What other benefits do you foresee?
Social, especially racial relations will improve.  The “Welfare Queen,” for instance, is racialized as a Black woman with lots of kids.  Can’t call anyone a “freeloader” when everyone is getting the same allowance. Resentment from perceived unfairness, not ignorance, is what triggers racial hostility.


Do I get charged the Idiot Tax if I didn’t read the How to Order sign? 
Does the state trooper care that you didn’t see the speed limit sign?

Is it true that the owner has been in jail in 6 countries?
That’s an exaggeration.

Will juice bars survive the Artificial Intelligence Economy?
A few will, just as a few bookstores continue to do well.

What do you think of meal prep delivery services like Blue Apron?  
Not one will survive.  Too expensive and they don’t add value — you still have to cook and clean.

But don’t they teach you how to cook?
They don’t.  Following instructions isn’t learning how to cook, it’s learning how to follow instructions.  You learn to cook by honing and following your instincts so that all your senses are alert.  And you can get better cooking lessons on youtube.

Why don’t you sell acai bowls?
Because they’re stupid.  It’s the same thing as a smoothie except some ingredients aren’t blended, it takes more time to make, and there are no veggies.  It’s a less convenient and more expensive version of a smoothie.

Does the owner think that racism doesn’t exist?
Of course racism exists.  So what?  It only has power over you when you when it becomes an excuse for failure.


Pretty but stupid and overpriced and you have to finish it before it becomes a runny mess.


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