In response to a Feb. 21 opinion piece on Andrew Yang

By Letter to the Editor, by Chris Ladd

A recent opinion piece in The Chronicle opposing Andrew Yang’s universal basic income is welcomed by the Universal Basic Income community. What benefits us most is exposure, as Alexandra Yetter’s Feb. 21 piece demonstrates.

There’s really only [one] obstacle in the way of a UBI: our engrained, unconsidered biases about the purpose and impact of government assistance. Every time someone engages [in] this issue seriously, that reality is further exposed in the public mind. Yetter’s logic-pretzel of self-contradicting objections demonstrates this winnowing process that inches us closer to a UBI.

The inflation fallacy cited at the outset is based on Malthusian logic discredited in the 19th century, but it gets worse. Yetter goes on to laud the success of a need-based basic income program in Brazil without explaining why that program failed to produce the inflation she previously claimed would be inevitable.

Deeper into the piece, we get closer to the right’s discomfort with a UBI, the notion that any sort of aid should be “deserved.” Yetter then exposes the left’s worry about a UBI, the accompanying loss of political power over the poor. This is hidden behind the suggestion that a higher minimum wage or other economic controls are more fitting solutions to poverty.

Every demonstrated experience so far seems to suggest that the way to eliminate poverty, with all of its attendant horrors, is as cheap and simple as it sounds: give people money. People with enough money are no longer poor.

Chris Ladd