By Jack Becker
Andrew Yang’s 2020 presidential run included a smorgasbord of unique stances. From “Empowering MMA Fighters” to a “Robo-Calling Text Line” to “Making Taxes Fun,” he made waves. But his biggest wave came from the “Freedom Dividend,” a universal basic income (UBI) program that proposed providing each American with $1,000 per month. Like similar proposals in the past, the program garnered excited supporters and staunch detractors. And while COVID-19 reinvigorated the discussion around UBI, it’s unclear whether one will or should ever be enacted.
However, characteristics that make UBI attractive, particularly the direct support it provides, sans bureaucratic red tape, can be applied to other government programs. For example, ensuring America’s fundamental nutritional needs are met. The government could directly provide all citizens with food or, more simply, with nutrients. Introducing: Universal Basic Nutrient Income (UBNI).
Following the model of companies like Soylent and Huel, the government could aim to develop the healthiest, cheapest, most sustainable, and all-around best powdered meal replacement. The perfect UBNI Shakes would be available to all Americans for free (well, funded by taxes). UBNI could replace the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other government food programs. There could be a UBNI Shake for every bottle, and more time in everyone’s days.