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Elon Musk’s Stance On UBI & Stimulus Checks Is Right, But Sheds Light On A Dark Societal System In America

Elon Musk shared his thoughts on Friday on Twitter about universal basic income (UBI) and another stimulus check from the US government. Combining tweets that were made sequentially, he wrote, “Another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people imo. As a reminder, I’m in *favor* of universal basic income. Goal of government should be to maximize the happiness of the people. Giving each person money allows them to decide what meets their needs, rather than the blunt tool of legislation, which creates self-serving special interests.”

At first, many questioned his stance since he tweeted a thread and the first part addressed the idea of another stimulus check, but remember, Elon Musk always looks at things in the long term. People often forget that — they are caught up in the moment while he is looking into the next five years and evaluating choices that could impact future situations.

Regarding that, he has a valid point. Another stimulus check isn’t going to help America’s economy five years down the road. At the same time, however, doing nothing isn’t going to help either. The idea of UBI is great. Andrew Yang’s suggestion of $1,000 a month is ideal for those of us living in states where it would make a difference.

Many people living on disability make between $750–800 a month, and they have to live off of that. They may get $50 in food stamps and basic medical insurance that covers just the basics. And if they make any type of income, they lose their disability and access to lifesaving medications. So, I think it’s more likely Congress would introduce a UBI for $700 or so if it got that far.

While he was tweeting this thread, I responded to Elon asking him what he thought a good solution would be. It opened up a dialogue about solutions, but the common reply (not from Elon) to my question was to just get a job and stop being lazy. The reply below is a good example of what was being said to me.

I might have been a little too direct in my initial tweet, but his comment came off as very insensitive and cold. Poverty was an issue in America before the pandemic hit. Now, it’s a major issue for sure, especially when you have 22 million Americans who lost their jobs back in April.

In New Orleans, 40% of restaurants that shut down will not reopen. In Louisiana, the food and beverage industry is one of the main job providers here. Also, regarding jobs, millions of Americans lost their jobs all at the same time. This conversation reflected that many still think that poor Americans are lazy. Poor Americans do jobs that no one wants. I’ve lived on the streets before while working two jobs trying to survive day by day. So, it’s not that I was lazy, but that I was living in a system that oppresses the poor.

Poor people are the ones who work at fast-food restaurants, retail jobs, and serve grumpy customers for $2.15 an hour at IHOP and other places. When I worked at Goodwill, I worked 80–90 hour weeks sometimes. I was so tired that even though I had health insurance, there was literally no time for me to see a doctor for regular checkups. Our off days were often split between 7–9 workdays. This is the case for many of those working in the retail industry as well as the food and beverage industries.

Yet, we are called lazy when we need extra help just to put food on the table. I am actually in a better place now. I can afford food and can pay my bills. Many Americans can not. My landlady has a small deli. She had to let go of her employees because even though many of her tenants pay our rent on time, she simply can’t afford to hire people. People are turning to the last resort to get by.

The truth is that we have a major situation here in America in which poor people are seen as lazy even though they are the hardest working segment. And when a pandemic is mixed in, those judging the poor are suddenly on that level and chaos ensues. Those with privilege don’t understand why “you can’t just go get a job and stop being lazy,” when these jobs don’t pay a livable wage. And you can’t go get a new skillset when you have to pay rent, pay for childcare (for families with children), and survive. In many cases, learning a new skillset involves education, and that also costs money. If I can’t afford to pay my rent, I’m not about to drop $45,000 or whatever on a college degree — and that’s what it’s like for many Americans.

It’s been that way for years. It’s just worse now with millions of Americans having lost their jobs due to the pandemic. UBI is great, but it won’t help now — it’s like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound. However, even bandaids are better than nothing.

Regarding his stance on another stimulus check, I agree. People who need the money should get it — not big businesses that will just pocket it and hoard it. There needs to be a better way to help everyone without marketing segments of the population as undeserving because of their socioeconomic status.

 
Written By

Johnna Crider is a Louisiana native who likes crawfish, gems, minerals, EVs, and advocates for sustainability. Johnna is also the host of GettingStoned.online, a jewelry artisan and a $TSLA shareholder.

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