PP — Thanks for your contribution to the conversation.

Your first point is that replacing SNAP with cash does not guard against theft of the funds or diversion of to drugs. Neither does SNAP. Despite efforts to curb fraud, there are innumerable ways, some legal and some illegal, to divert SNAP debit card funds to another person (e.g. make them an “authorized user” either voluntarily or at the point of a gun) or convert the funds to cash by making a fake purpose and then paying the cashier to cancel the transaction and give you cash back. The difference between that and a UBI is that the transactions costs are higher for SNAP cards, so that some shady middleman gets a cut of the money instead of the cardholder. See, for example: https://prospect.org/article/stop-worrying-about-food-stamp-fraud

Your second point is that some people are irresponsible, so we must limit the freedom of everyone in order to “protect” irresponsible people from themselves. You are right that people who think that way won’t like a UBI. But, take a look at my headline. My commentary is about the libertarian case for a UBI, not about the antilibertarian case against a UBI, nor, for that matter, about the broader case against libertarianism.

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Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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