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Giese: Money well spent

Giese: Money well spent

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A piece aired on NPR on March 23 about the Stockton, Calif., Income Experiment where, as part of a two-year experiment, 125 people were given $500 each month with no strings attached. A quarter of the city's residents live in poverty.

What was found, contrary to prevailing Republican beliefs, was that this basic income did not cause people to stop working, and the money was used on needed things such as food, utility bills, car insurance, etc.

A World Bank study of similar programs found overwhelmingly that such money was not spent on "temptation goods" such as alcohol or tobacco. Perhaps people are not innately bad like what passes for Christian thought would otherwise tell us.

I had to laugh when at the end it was stated how expensive it would be to give everyone a universal basic income, that taxes would have to be increased as if what the U.S. spends on "defense" is affordable.

Russia, widely seen as perhaps the U.S.'s primary enemy, spends merely 8% what the United States does on militarism. Half your federal income taxes fund very expensive toilet seats and the like. All that money is thrown at the problem of the Pentagon and is never audited. Three percent of all that money could feed the entire planet.

But no, cutting "defense" spending is rarely on the table and if it is cut, it is barely even trimmed. Funds to help people are not available, but funds to kill and maim people are.

Mark M. Giese, Racine


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