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  1. >The first data from an experiment in a California city where needy people get $500 a month from the government shows they spend most of it on things such as food, clothing and utility bills.

    Damn. People who are broke spend their money on necessities. Who woulda thunk it?

  2. I would rather people just subsidize utilities rather than give people $500. People are very good at mismanaging money and I would suspect you will still see people buying new TVs versus paying bills.

  3. Couple thoughts after reading the article. “Poor people know how to budget,” that makes me laugh. Making donations when you can barely afford to live is not what I call responsible (to your own family).

    Why in the world would they let them withdraw cash from the cards? Fill in those “gaps” with asking them what they did with it is idiotic. Obviously one would buy things such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling with cash only. While some of those items are normal purchases to most of America, it messes up the data when they respond with I used all the cash for “groceries and donations.”

  4. This data is useless. If someone has $500 and has to choose between food and hookers, they’ll buy food. If you give them $500 more and track it, they’re just going to spend your $500 on food and the $500 they had before on hookers now that they can afford both. Or they’re going to withdraw your $500 as cash and tell you they bought food with it but really they just spent $1000 on hookers.

    I’m not saying being poor means you should never have fun, or that making sure everyone can afford to eat whether they could afford to before or not is a bad thing. Just seems silly to try to draw any conclusions from this without looking at overall changes in spending habits when considering all sources of income, among other things.

  5. Now they need to run the same experiment with people that are middle-class and upper class and see what they spend the money on. My guess is that it would be spent on a new car or some luxury items. And because it’s universal basic income that would mean that everyone in all income brackets would receive it.

  6. what use is an experiment where the recipient knows it will come to an end, it will never give a true picture and is totally useless. they are hardly going to give up their jobs or anything ..

  7. In Australia they pay the dole to people of about $750usd a month. It’s not UBI because it phases out as people earn income and unlike in the past they now have to show they are looking for work.

    I don’t know why people don’t just look at the Australian system.

  8. If 40% of the money can’t actually be tracked because people are taking it as cash this isn’t really a solid data set. “What did you spend the cash on?” – “uhhh food”
    The study can’t definitively make any statements on how the money was spent. Also 125 people is a really small group to encompass what the general public would do.


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