The Capital
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The Capital

We need Universal Basic Income

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Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

If you stop and reflect back on 2020, please look around at the sad state of current world events. The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the world at a foundational level. It is far beyond time to start calling on our leaders to help us. By us, I mean the human race

We don’t need a one-time stimulus check. That would help, but what we really need is a universal basic income for the present and in the future.

People are going hungry and living in the streets. People don’t have access to clean water and can not afford basic healthcare needs. I live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but our citizens are suffering. This has to change, now.

How are basic human needs not a right? I define a basic need as what it takes to have a healthy life. By purely being alive, humans should be entitled to food, water, shelter, and healthcare. Why is this such a hard policy to adopt? We have to change our mentality. These are rights, not a privilege. It’s going to take humanity to finally come together and change to a we, not me mindset.

Let’s say that an eventual universal basic income for all humanity gets passed. How would that impact you? Mortgage or rent paid. Groceries paid. Utilities paid. Healthcare paid. Basic transportation paid. All of this paid upfront, so your whole hard-earned paycheck does not have to cover basic human needs. There would have to be a universal standard established, and of course, you could use your income to better any one of these.

The universal basic income can not be just a blanket number either. It has to be based upon where you live and the cost of living around you. I live in Indiana, and my basic income should not be the same as someone who lives in Los Angeles, New York City, or Seattle.

There are a lot of factors that do need to be nailed down. Universal basic income should not be a political issue, but unfortunately, it will be, at least for now. We are going to need to see a major political ideology shift in people, to get this concept off the ground. It’s going to take a shift from conservatism to progressivism. This is where resistance is going to be the strongest. People are set in their ways and don’t want to adapt or get better. Many will label the concept of basic income as socialism, dismissing it straight away. It is socialism. Socialism, if executed properly, could lead to a better-developed world.

If people were not going hungry, not living in the streets, and had access to healthcare as a right, quality of life for all mankind would improve. Stress levels would ease, and people could get the help they need. Our world would start to see a massive shift and could move us towards finding global peace in our lifetime.

People would not have to live to work. No one deserves this lifestyle. The only thing average people are worried about on a daily basis is their income source or job. They hold that above personal anguish. We are all slaves to a system that is fundamentally flawed. This system keeps the impoverished down, all while the wealthy elite keeps making profits hand over fists. This occurs while people are dying in the streets. This is why the Covid-19 stay at home orders did not work. Everyone was only focused on making sure their income was safe and secure, at the risk of spreading a highly contagious virus around.

How did I arrive at basic universal income as a solution to the world’s problems? It’s easy. Personal life experience. I am thirty-one years old and have struggled with obesity my whole life. You might write me off at that point, and say oh well, that is a silly issue to struggle with long term, and can totally be fixed through proper diet and exercise. That is not the case. Obesity is a psychological issue. I have tried everything, and nothing works for me besides white-knuckling the whole food issue.

If you stopped and talked to me about my struggles, your perspective might change. I was raised in a house where I never learned proper coping skills or stress management. Everything revolved around food. If you were happy, we ate. Sad, we ate. Any emotions whatsoever, we ate. This became my crutch through life, and I will definitely struggle with it until my final breath.

On top of the obesity issue, my parents were not financially sound when I was growing up. They lived paycheck to paycheck and on credit. We had everything we needed, and by no means struggled from day to day, but this idea that the only thing that mattered was money, further hurt my outlook on life. As a family, we lived outside of our means, and I thought that was totally okay as an adult too. The whole buy it, pay for it later concept. Except the money actually isn’t there.

After high school, I felt like I had to make gobs of money, and be the absolute best at everything. I had to be the opposite of my parents and do everything correctly. I had to be wealthy, and this was the only way to happiness.

In 2016, everything came to a head for me. I went through a divorce, career failure, problems with alcohol, which led to jail, and then bankruptcy. At the end of all those issues, I threw in the towel and was going to wait to die. I had stepped on the scales and saw that I weighed 508 pounds. This was the final straw for me. Suicide was the only answer. I wasn’t going to kill myself, but I was just going to continue to eat myself to death. This was the punishment I felt I deserved for total life failure. I hated myself and was ashamed of everything. This can be attributed back to the fundamental reason I struggle day in and day out. I can not cope with stress in a healthy manner. I was never taught the proper way as a child.

But wait, there is more!

With all of these issues going on in my life, there was just no way I could hold a job. I was mentally not able to go to work. You might think to yourself, suck it up buttercup, but I assure you I tried, and it was not an option.

My mom and dad had a car accident in 2019. It left my Mom with a broken neck. She needed around the clock care. My parents are not in the best health anyway, so their income source is limited. My mom could not afford to go to a rehabilitation center, so I decided to further put my life on hold, and take care of her. It really was the least I could do. She made sure I grew up with the best possible life that could be provided. It was my chance to give back to her, and also take time for me to heal, work on myself, and maybe finally conquer my demons.

My mom healed. Life goes on. I had healed enough mentally to force myself to grab a job. This was in March 2020. The company I snagged a job with called and said that due to the pandemic, they were instituting a temporary hiring freeze. Wow life, thanks. I had actually stepped out of my comfort zone and was going to take the next step towards getting back on my feet, but no, 2020 hit. I took the opportunity to hang out longer, what was a couple more months going to hurt?

In July 2020, I decided to work on my weight loss issues. I wasn’t working, No stress. I’m living at my parent’s house, I could finally work on what I really needed to get under control so I could start to see true life improvement. I wanted to try to kick obesity in the ass once and for all. It was time for the all-dreaded initial weigh-in. The last time I had done so was back in December of 2020. 508 lbs.

I was absolutely stunned at what I saw. The scales said 460. How could I have lost over 45 pounds without doing anything? The pandemic. My family decided to stop eating out to avoid exposure risks. I lost that much weight because fast food had been cut out of my life. This result supercharged my outlook and I was like oh damn, what could happen if I actually tried diet and exercise again? It’s today o’clock and my current weight is 379 lbs. Over 100 lbs. Cool.

I’ve lost and gained that much before, so it is not that shocking to me. What is shocking to me, is that it is different for me this time. I was facing an eventual death and was totally okay with it. What a grotesque outlook on life.

Do you know what would have helped me out the most through this three year journey? A universal basic income. Not unemployment, basic income. Income that is there no matter what the situation is. Universal income seen, as a safety net, so I could take time off and fix my problems. Actually taking the time off to heal without total financial ruin. Taking the time to properly heal, and actually get better. If my parents had not welcomed me back home I would have at least been homeless and possibly dead.

This is a call to action!

I had everything, including my freedom, stripped away from me. Everything.

Why?

I hated myself. I needed help. I always chased the dollar, detrimental to my own health and well being.

Please give everyone an income so they do not have to experience what I went through! It was hell to say the least.

I have made it a priority to research ways to install universal basic income as a right. I will share the results at a later date.

If you are reading this, you matter. You are not alone. -Andrew ❤

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Andrew Gardner

Andrew Gardner

I talk about blockchain and crypto assets. Former history and political science teacher.