Get rid of welfare and just give every adult $870/mo

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I think I would be willing to have a sort of Universal Education system in the States, but it would have to be regulated like mad. I would also want tiers. We need to come up with a good way to assess intelligence and ability. It's a waste of time and money to send "everyone" to college. We should have skills-based/trades options too. My brother couldn't get through H.S. Algebra, but he's a hell of a welder. We would have to acknowledge that not everyone belongs in college.

Instead of money, is there a more tangible product that could be used by all? Non-perishable or shelf-stable foods?
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We do definitely need an apprenticing system, at least as an alternative. A lot of EU countries have apprenticing/trade school tracks that are part of the school system where students can go into technical/process-based fields based on their schoolwork and then if the career path is right, enter into university for a higher degree (who pays for it depends on the country, school, and degree). The counter-argument is that such a system definitely has an arresting effect on upward mobility at a societal level, but that's also less of an issue in countries with stronger social safety nets, and likely has a major effect on student debt, aggregate happiness, and social stability.
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More food for thought:

Universal Basic Income: A Union Perspective - A report/study put out by Public Services International.
Sixteen practical projects were reviewed that tested different ways of distributing regular cash payments to individuals. These included past, current and planned experiments across a range of poor, middle-income and rich countries. [...] [M]aking cash payments to individuals to increase their purchasing power in a market economy is not a viable route to solving problems caused by neoliberal market economics. [There is] no evidence that any version of UBI can be affordable, inclusive, sufficient and sustainable at the same time, [and campaigning for it threatens] to divert political energies - as well as funds - from more important causes.
tl;dr: "It's no silver bullet"