Christopher Whitson

Business scientist + father, investor, traveler, sailor.
Enjoys seeing the 🌎 differently.

Why you should support universal basic income...

Its 2019 and Andrew Yang* is running for President of the United States. He's really pushing his "Freedom Dividend" proposal of paying every single adult in the US $1,000 a month with no strings attached.

Obviously he's going to get pushback. Most of it is from people who have no clue what they are talking about.

Detractors claim it's too expensive, not necessary, or will only create lazy people.

There are ZERO facts to back up these claims because it really hasn't been tried before at scale.

Mr. Yang (as well as other supporters of UBI) is focusing on the role of automation replacing human workers in low-wage jobs,

I, however, have been a proponent of UBI for several years for one singular purpose: velocity of money.

Giving unrestricted money to people, especially poor and lower-middle class people, is the strongest economic stimulus there is.

They are guaranteed to spend it.

Some of them will spend it because they have to, living paycheck to paycheck. Others will spend it because they just aren't educated enough to know what to do with excess funds at the end of the pay period once the bills are paid. This is a reflection on the horrible way we ignore financial literacy education in this country; it's not a dig on the intelligence of poorer folks.

And where do they spend that money? Everywhere!

They'll eat out at restaurants, buy better quality clothes, eat better food, and maybe even go on vacations. Every dollar will be spent (and taxed). If we give a billion dollars to a handful of rich people, they won't spend it all. It's hard to spend that amount of money; most people have a hard time comprehending how much a billion actually is.

But if you split up that billion dollars and give it to a million retail cashiers, each one of those cashiers would pump their $100 cut into the economy in less than a week; I have no doubt. Right now there is so much money being held by the upper class, they just can't spend it fast enough. We're moving money (n transactions) at about the same frequency as we were in the early 1970's when the minimum wage more reflected cost of goods. That's pretty damn sad.

So dig in, do some research. There's a lot of benefit to putting money in the hand of poorer folks and those living paycheck to paycheck. If we're able to provide healthcare as a right, increase the minimum wage, and provided a basic income to all adults...our economy would go gangbusters. Then all we need to do is steer it in the right direction by making slight course corrections.

UBI is probably one of the simplest benefits to implement compared to healthcare for all, so why not start there?

* I haven't chosen a candidate to support at the time of this writing. I follow Mr. Yang on Twitter, but have not supported his campaign by volunteering or making a donation. I mention him because he's the only candidate proposing a policy that would change the economy in such a big way.