In my Nuke It All & Rebuild fantasy of UBI, we start with a $1000/month UBI for everyone, period, that gets raised yearly for 5 years until we hit a % of GNP; after which it stays at that %, and never drops below $3000. We put this in the Constitution (along with the way overdue ERA), so that it can’t ever get hacked by an anti-social-programs government *cough*GOP*cough*
Then, we stop all payments into Social Security, and everyone, of any age, who paid into it is given a choice of a monthly payment, or putting the lump sum into an IRA (or other stable savings account), with a guarantee that they will get ALL their money back. No more interest-free loans for our government to loot, and then act like we’re somehow greedy for wanting that money back.
Next we overhaul welfare, food stamps, housing and unemployment to have less overlap, less red tape, and less systemic shaming. We make them systems that are designed to serve and support, not assembly line people back into poverty. (While we’re at it, most child protective services agencies and foster care programs need a hard reboot, too)
While this is happening, we implement national single payer health care, that includes 100% mental, dental and vision health parity, and puts the decision making power back in the hands of the doctor/patient relationship, not bean counters and shareholders. None of this “Pre-existing condition” crap that no other country deals with. Women’s health, queer health, trans health is covered, all of it, even the parts that squick you. (Oh, and birth control of any type and all vaccinations are no cost to the consumer. Ever.)
This is on top of making post-high school education free and accessible to anyone who wants it- and this includes trade schools, so called “blue collar” education, apprenticeships and other not-college-degree based education. We need to end the stigma of non-college jobs, and quit holding college up as the gateway to financial success, when it is actually causing massive debt, and the job market doesn’t have a place for thousands of graduates.
Once we have a UBI in place that creates a financial floor for everyone, regardless of employment status or employability, then we look to local governments to create minimum wage laws that are reasonable for the cost of living in their area- because $15/hour is going to be inadequate in a place like San Francisco, but might be a huge boost in a place like Bozeman, MT.
Then, we create structures that ensure that the vulnerable of our population- the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill, veterans- have adequate, tailored, appropriate services and care. No making them “spend down” into poverty just to get help, no making them justify their existence, no tying their access to needed help and support into their ability to “get a job”. We take care of them, because it it the right and humane thing to do.
“But Ms. W4UBI…” I hear the whining begin “How will we *pay* for it? Why should my Hard Earned Dollars(tm) go to lazy freeloaders?”
How about we start with iron clad, no loopholes anywhere tax rates on income and assets over 1M for individuals? How about we have the same for businesses that are raking in billions a year, and are managing to come out with no tax burden at all? How about we stop letting the rich make money off of our hard work and labor, while we get minimal and begrudging benefits (that we’re paying for anyhow!)? Then we can explore the dozens and dozens of other funding options. We seem to have no problem paying for trillions in military expenditures, why not try doing something functional with that money for a change?
And we do it, even if you think Those People are freeloaders, because we’re trying to be a mature, healthy civilization, not a random assortment of selfish asshats who only care about themselves. Because societies are interdependent in ways that the “I’ve got mine, fuck you” people can’t even comprehend. Because WE CAN DO BETTER.