So what if people spend their $1000/month guaranteed income — Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” — on heroin? We already spend money on stupid shit like schools. Teacher John Taylor Gatto:
School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know. (from Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling)
Which use of money nets a better return on investment, funding schools or giving a heroin addict $1000/month? It’s not clear to me.
To begin with, how many heroin addicts steal to pay for their habit? How many car windows do they break? How many FEWER car windows will they break if we give them $1000/month? Let’s say ten fewer per month per junkie. That’s ~$3000 worth of damage avoided. Add the cost of police work, the cost of inconvenience, the value of items stolen, and the $1000 given to the heroin addict is an awesome deal for society.
Meanwhile, there’s considerable evidence that most of school is at best a waste of time and resources, and at worst a breeding ground of drug addicts (how many kids take Ritalin — legal meth — for school induced ADHD because they won’t pay attention to lousy lectures and complete lame assignments?) and incompetent, incomplete narcissists who learn to never ask questions except for perfunctory ones like “how are you,” to which they only want to hear perfunctory responses such as “I’m fine, thank you.” With conversations so scripted and unimaginative, it’s no wonder so many people are lonely and turn to drug abuse. Watch 3-5 year olds, they’re constantly asking questions and exploring. After even a few years of schooling, most of them will be addicted to affirmation and only know how to beg, brag, complain, and compliment when conversing.
What if They Won’t Work?
That’s fine too, why should everyone work? The “dignity of work” is bullshit. There’s no dignity in working a job you hate and don’t see the point to other than to make money. Seventy percent of Americans say they hate their jobs. As they should: most people hate selling things they don’t believe in; following procedures that don’t require creativity; doing tasks that don’t accomplish anything; working for bosses who don’t care about them. Why force people to endure abuse? Would we force someone to play in the NFL because we think doing so builds character? Do retirees lack dignity? Or do most people find meaning outside of work — as stay at home parents, as volunteers, gardeners, grandparents, and so forth?
Universal Basic Income versus Welfare
Welfare requires a bureaucracy of administrators and social workers and god knows who else to enforce rules and regulations. Bureaucracies aren’t cheap, and their primary goal is to keep themselves alive — a lot of jobs at stake here — rather than fix the problems they’re supposed to fix. That may be why the rapid expansion of welfare programs — LBJ’s War on Poverty — starting in 1965 haven’t reduced poverty.
The above chart claims that poverty rate would be LOWER today without the War on Poverty programs, just as some think that the literacy rate — which was increasing before the popularization of public schools — would be higher today without compulsory education. Let’s look at the cost of failed programs:
Yikes, what if we’d spent that on updating our infrastructure? How many fewer manufacturing and heavy industry jobs would we have outsourced if we’d had a modern transportation infrastructure?
Universal basic income, on the other hand, is *universal*, meaning, it’s given to all citizens above the age of 18 regardless of individual financial circumstance. It treats citizens as shareholders of a company (ie USA) who deserve a dividend, a small share of the company’s profits. Put differently, it gives taxes to the people instead of government bureaucrats who’ve proven over and over again that they mostly waste the resources they’re given and will subconsciously sabotage poor people’s lives to keep their jobs. Programs that tell the poor that they have poor diets and shitty lives because they’re poor is an example of sabotage — how can one have hope when life is so simply and easily determined and salvation is possible not from that struggle within but only from government aid?
What if They Spend the Money on Heroin?
Who knows, and at this point, why care? We don’t have enough data about the consequences of each spending habit and I showed above how spending on heroin might be better — against popular opinion — than spending on school. But we do have lots of data that suggests American government bureaucrats are, as a whole, incompetent narcissists who create stupid lobby influenced guidelines like the Food Pyramid that some think contributed to the obesity crises. Let’s suspend judgment for now and see what happens when the government stops telling people how to live their lives and we let people figure out how to live the life they want to live.