I AM responding to the article “Money for all” (Ideas, Feb. 9), about a guaranteed income for every American. As a mature person who grew up surrounded by immigrant families who successfully achieved the American dream, I believe that cash handouts would often discourage work. Instead, our society could fund credit cards for all citizens — one for housing, one for electricity and heat, and one for nutritious foods only. Basic health care would be provided to all.
With essential needs met, and no threat of losing those supports, families would benefit from even low-wage jobs. They would be motivated to make the most of what they had. People could combine their housing credits to upgrade where they would live. Families could share child care (and housing) while the adults worked varying shifts. The guaranteed basic benefits would also encourage artists, musicians, and people with start-up ideas to pursue their endeavors even though they would earn little at first.
Most of us would probably pay more taxes, but we’d all receive the credits to apply to our essential expenses. Our society can only benefit when more people become motivated to work and to improve their lives.