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I think you mean well, but you are very misguided here. Just like it makes no sense that programs often don’t help people into homes until they can prove they are “home ready”, it’s a Catch 22 that you propose. Everybody is “ready” to be indoors, and living on the street certainly doesn’t help anyone become more presentable. Similarly, everybody at every education level needs an income to survive. You can’t force people to starve until they’re educated enough to get a job that may not even be there anyway. They’ll learn better if they’re not stressed, hungry, and homeless.

Also, UBI is not the lottery. Lottery is a big pile of money at once. UBI is given in small amounts on a frequent basis for the duration of one’s life. It is constancy, not windfall. If you blow it one week, you learn for the next week. Experience is the best teacher, and that goes with money, too. However, there is nothing saying we can’t also promote education along with UBI. We should. In fact, providing that secure income would make it much more conscionable to presume to teach people. It would also free up many people to help out their loved ones while undergoing the learning curve.

You don’t teach the starving about nutrition before you feed them.

We have a homeless man in our UBI trial. He is 56. He has been using the current system his whole life. We started giving him his payments two months ago. Now he has his first bank account ever and is saving up for an apartment. Can’t you see how much harder that would have been just on food stamps, a cot in a shelter that kicks him out at 6am, the obligation to fill out tons of paperwork and be monitored while taking mandatory classes in how to handle money, but leaving enough time to get to the shelter again before it fills up? In general, what the poor lack is cash, plain and simple. The social services sector you would rely on is drastically insufficient, and often counterproductive in its approach.

It is arrogant and paternalistic to presume to teach people before helping them. First we must build the foundation and floor, and then we can start on the walls.

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