Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What is the official title of the plan?  

A.  We haven't settled on a name yet.  Watch this space.

Q.  What's to keep wealthy people from abusing the system?  

A:  Nothing in particular.  But most wealthy people have better things to do with their time than sit in Study Hall or hang out at libraries.  Thus the problem will be self-limiting.  

Q.  But shouldn't you screen applicants to keep out those who would fraudulently claim benefits?  

A.  No.  We don't care why you're there, as long as you don't disturb others.  The only fraud we would need to worry about is people trying to cheat the time clock.  That can be handled with fairly simple physical security.  

Q.  What do we do about parents with children?  Young children tend to be disruptive no matter what.  

A.  Set up special children's sections.

Q.  How do we accommodate people with physical disabilities that prevent them from attending?  

A.  We leave that part of the existing welfare system in place.  

Q.  Won't you still need bureaucrats to monitor special cases such as medical disability benefits?  

A.  Yes, but that bureaucracy will be much smaller than what we have now.  

Q.  What about people who just want to go to a library to read or look up something?  

A.  If the library is participating in our program, those people get a little extra pocket change out of the trip.  

Q.  I'm writing a novel.  Can I bring my laptop computer and do my writing in your Study Hall?  

A.  Yes.

Q.  I have nothing better to do than play video games on my laptop computer.  Can I do that?  Will I get paid for it?  

A.  Yes, as long as you don't disturb others.  If the game has sound effects you'll probably need earphones.  And you shouldn't try to play the type of game where you're swinging hardware around or doing dance steps or the like.  But if it's something you can play quietly, without attracting undue attention, nobody will bother you.  And the people in charge of the time clock won't ask you what you did.  If you were there, you'll get paid.  

Q.  Can I eat my lunch in your Study Hall?  
Q.  Can I bring my pets?

A.  That kind of thing is up to the local people in charge.  If they've had problems with people making messes, they're likely to make rules against it.  But they are also free to allow it.  

Q.  Won't we need to enlarge all the libraries to accommodate this?

A.  That's why we expanded the original idea from just libraries to something more like a study hall.

Q.  This won't work because of [some problem we haven't thought of].

A.  It will work if we can figure out a solution.  Think of problems as engineering challenges rather than excuses to give up.  

Q.  What can my church or employer do to help?  

A.  You can set up your own version.  Think of this as a cooperative thing working toward a common goal, and not as "competition".  

Q.  It sounds good to me.  So how do we get it implemented?  

A.  I see it as a gradual process.  First, we spread the word.  Tell your friends.  Get people talking about it.  Get people thinking of it as a possibility, even if the possibility seems to be remote.  Once some critical mass is reached, leaders will arise to take it from there.  

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01:43 11/16/2007