Actually I'd love to work as a PT, as I was writing to a PT friend today on my LinkedIn profile.
He said: "I plan on continuing to be a PT at some capacity, but never full time again. I love strength and conditioning and can see myself being a strength coach or only seeing a couple of athletes a week. The profession does have potential to help people... but I think it will take a culture shift and a lot of time to make it the norm in care. " (He is also now a programmer.)
I said: "I'd love to work part-time as a PT too, but PRN jobs seem almost more competitive than full-time jobs. Plus my experience was minimal notice (same day at times) and so few shifts that it's more of a hobby than a job.
I'd love to do PT as a benefit at boutique gyms using a cash based model. Of course, I'd also love to do strength coaching, but big box "personal training" jobs are typically 12 hours/day for minimal pay. I was thinking of getting into telehealth physical therapy, but apparently most telemedicine is ruled by "both patient and clinician need to be physically present in the same state." Hard to tell, and it varies by state, and almost certainly it would be cash based. Online strength coaching is really common, but also a flooded (Instagram) market."
On the topic of UBI, I would just mention that it almost certainly would only work with legalization of drugs (see: Portugal, which doesn't have UBI but has reduced crime and prison populations through decriminalization of all drugs). Because otherwise why would anyone not sell drugs? It pays more than all other jobs and requires no education or special skills... Obviously drug criminalization has a much bigger effect on crime rates than economic poverty, especially spilling over into other countries. (Here in Mexico the rate of political violence is absurd because of America's failed drug war.) Alcohol prohibition obviously led to gang activity in the 1920s, but there's a profit incentive to saying that "try it once and you'll get hooked!" The reality doesn't pan that out at all (see the book Recover! among others), but the addiction "recovery" industry and private prison system both benefit to the tune of billions of dollars annually. For what it's worth, Mexico recently became the largest country in the world to entirely legalize cannabis, and literally no one here cares. At all.
And I'd see UBI as being around the level of preventing hunger, or maybe preventing homelessness. It would really be a stop-gap for people who want to be entrepreneurial, work less to raise a family, or experience unemployment. It would have made all the difference in my own life the last 2 years, up to and including preventing my divorce (as my relationship fractured due to financial stress and poor working conditions that I coped negatively with). And I have to imagine that more stable people lead to better outcomes in society -- after all, doesn't homelessness decrease economic activity because people don't want to be approached by aggressive panhandlers? But instead of criminalizing homelessness, we should work to eliminate it.
As always, you make a great point that once you increase spending it's almost always difficult to reduce, for logical reasons (military spending = jobs, so cuts = unemployment). I don't disagree that it's worth hedging our bets by managing the growth of the deficit, but as you said it's a throwaway line that's never been put into practice by the party that says it.
I'd say that America is not ready to watch itself die, but that hundreds of years of voter disenfranchisement (see: DC, Puerto Rico, other US territories like Guam -- as well as "voter ID laws" -- plus disenfranchisement of criminals for racist reasons) have created a dynamic where we have two parties: one anti-government and one pro-government. The thing is, anti-government is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as we saw with the bungled Covid response. That reinforces the power structure promoting anti-government...
Not that many people think of it, but the idea of "Russia" and "China" being "rivals" of the US, particularly because of communism, neglects the fact that they were our allies against fascism. If the US becomes fascist, we could only expect that they would not like that too much.