Canada has been studying the effects of a basic income, and the results are surprising and encouraging, especially if you’ve got a government willing to learn.
For one year, 50 homeless people were paid $7,500 per month with no strings attached other than agreeing to be studied. Rather than buy drugs or booze, most of them spent the bulk of their money on food, rent, medicine, clothes, and savings. By the end of the year, the average participant was able to save $1,000 and reported a 39% reduction in alcohol, tobacco, and drug purchases.
Researchers interpret this data to mean that homeless people are not losers. They are simply people down on their luck who can pull themselves right-side-up with some help. They also calculate that paying $7,500 per month saves the government $8,100 per month per person in costs of shelters, food banks, and other assistants programs. That amounts to $405,000 in savings for the 50 participants.
This study should be read by Republicans who think giving extra stimulus payment will encourage people not to work or help themselves.