Poverty is a Human Choice

We could end poverty in the first world tomorrow.

How? Just implement a Universal Basic Income.

It really is that simple.

So why don’t we do it? Isn’t poverty, the literal suffering of humans, the single most important problem within society? There are literally entire communities of homeless people living in tents on sidewalks in the wealthiest country in the world, and we allow this?

It’s a question I always asked myself when I lived in NYC where you can’t walk a single block without witnessing the shocking and outrageous poverty. How do we allow this?

There are only three possible explanations:

  • People don’t care about poverty
  • People don’t believe it’s possible to end poverty
  • People believe that poor people deserve to live in poverty (Just-World Fallacy)
  • People want poverty

I’m not going to waste my time justifying why poverty shouldn’t exist. If there are actually a sizable amount of people out there that genuinely believe that people deserve to live like dirty rats, then that is a sad sign of cultural and social decay.

But to those who don’t believe it’s possible to end poverty – it is. We could do it today. And it wouldn’t even involve hundreds of complicated laws and executive orders, just a Universal Basic Income.

It’s counter-intuitive to many when they first hear it because humans are primed to think things are more scarce than they actually are. Sure not everyone can have a megayacht, but when it comes to basic needs – we have more than enough to take care of our citizens.

For example, there are 6 empty homes for every homeless person in America. In NYC – one of the most unaffordable and seemingly supply-constrained cities in the country due to its high population density – there are 70,000 homeless people, but 250,000 vacant apartments.

When it comes to food, only 2% of the workforce works in agriculture, we waste 40% of the food we produce, and we produce more food than we need so we export the surplus to the rest of the world.

It should be pretty obvious that at least when it comes to basic shelter and food, we can provide for each and every one of our citizens. Not the average citizen, not the median citizen – every single American. We can guarantee a life of dignity of basic financial security for every single American.

So why isn’t this getting all the attention? Not to say that tackling climate change and handling immigration aren’t important issues – they certainly are – but how is ending unnecessary human-made poverty not the utmost important issue? Why are candidates that aren’t advocating for a Universal Basic Income (or any similarly groundbreaking poverty to end human suffering) getting any attention at all?

If slavery were legal, would you care about any presidential candidate not campaigning to end slavery? If Andrew Yang is promising to end slavery and Joe Boden is promising to increase slave working conditions, are you going to debate who to vote for? No, you’re going to vote for Andrew Yang.

There is no issue more important than human-made involuntary poverty. We can end it tomorrow via implementing a Universal Basic Income. Andrew Yang is the only presidential candidate campaigning on a Universal Basic Income. There is no reason to even consider any candidate other than Andrew Yang.

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