The Issue with Universal Basic Income

Recently on The Patrick Madrid Show, Patrick began his discussion of the universal basic income (UBI) with a story of his trip to a Bob Evans restaurant. He went with his wife to one of these restaurants on a Saturday morning, probably one of their historically busiest times, and when they arrived, they were told that the wait to be seated would be about fifteen minutes. That was not ideal, but it was certainly understandable. After about eight minutes, they were brought from the foyer around the corner into the seating area, and surprisingly, almost half of the restaurant was empty.

After being seated, Patrick asked the waitress why there was a seating delay if half of the restaurant was empty. Well, as the waitress explained, the delay was caused not by an overflow of customers, but rather by the fact that they were understaffed. They simply did not have enough employees. They were short-staffed on busboys, hosts, waiters, and cooks. Nobody wants to work. So, for restaurants like Bob Evans, they have no choice: either stay closed and make no money or stay open and make very little money.

While many women are not working because they are choosing to become homemakers, Patrick examined the idea that many men are simply choosing not to work because they don’t think that it’s worth it. They may be pursuing some far-fetched dream to become famous, or they may be hooked on welfare or unemployment benefits and think that’s good enough.

“Can you imagine what it will be like if ‘The Government’, federally or at the state level or some combination, were to supply you with enough money to meet your basic month-to-month needs? Your cellphone bill, your electric bill, your rent, some food. It would get to the point pretty quickly where people would never go to work, and that’s what I think is a real problem,” said Patrick. At least in the cases of welfare, disability, and unemployment, you’re required to meet some prerequisites. UBI doesn’t even have those. It would be nothing more than a handout.

For decades, the number of prime-aged men who are unemployed and refusing to seek work has been increasing by 10,000 every month. This isn’t just a concerning statistic for the workforce and supply chain, but it’s affecting the quality of men for marriage, the quality of citizenship, the culture that we’re building in this country. This offers a tremendously negative perception of the direction we’re headed.

So, what are all these unemployed people doing then, if not searching for a job? Department of Labor Statistics did a survey of this population and determined that they were focused on the following activities: personal care, household maintenance, caring for household members, work (in some other capacity), education, eating and drinking, socializing/relaxing/leisure. What types of leisure are these people engaging in? Are the unemployed engaging in the higher pursuits of man as Joseph Pieper meant by the term “leisure”? No, they’re referring to screen time. Instead of getting a job, they’re watching TV, playing video games, and scrolling through social media. And this is without a UBI!

So, what benefits would we incur through a UBI? It’s not free for the American people. We’d be paying for it through one tax or another. And why do we work? Hopefully, we do what we love, but ultimately, we work to make a living. Once we start receiving a free handout, we lose the incentive to work, regardless of whether we love our profession or not. We’ll gradually slip from consistent work – an activity that builds character and virtue – into mindless leisure, an activity that tempers our ambitions and goals.

As imperfect beings, we need certain facets in our lives to keep us growing and striving for perfection. Besides prayer and a blossoming relationship with Our Lord, work is the biggest indicator of our potential and aspirations to become great. Work needs us, and we need work.

Listen to the full segment below:

Universal Basic Income pt. 2

Universal Basic Income pt. 3

Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.