Given the corona virus crisis that has struck our economy, politicians are trying to find a way to reduce the sting and are more likely than ever to make direct money transfers to all Americans. Republicans from Mitt Romney and the Senate are pushing for a one-off payment, and Democrats like Maxine Waters, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib are demanding $ 1-2,000 a month for every American at least during the crisis.
The Republican economic plans have so far offered only a small amount, but the Democrats’ proposals – with their financial support over a longer period – largely resemble a universal basic income (UBI). The problem is that there is a right way and a wrong way to implement a UBI, and at the moment we are at risk of taking a very dangerous UBI path. If a guaranteed income is created for everyone in this country, there is a way to redistribute wealth and allow millions of people in this country to escape poverty. This combines sufficient money transfers with robust social services such as Universal childcare, paid sick leave, general health care and a job guarantee to ensure that everyone in this country can lead a decent life; and then there’s another way to implement UBI that uses guaranteed income as an excuse to downsize the government and relieve the already anemic social services that we currently have in this country. It was not for nothing that Milton Friedman was a big UBI booster.
Currently, the Senate Republican bill is one of the group’s worst proposals: people earning less than $ 75,000 a year could receive up to $ 1,200 as a one-time payment on the bill. But people who earn more than $ 99,000 wouldn’t get it, which doesn’t make it “universal” at all. And the worst thing is that the benefit for poorer Americans with little or no tax liability could only be $ 600.
The GOP’s plan is stiffening poor Americans again. But people affected by poverty are exactly the people we should turn to when it comes to developing poverty reduction programs, and that’s why we created them More than enough, a podcast by Mia Birdsong. On this show, Mia talks to activists and policymakers who focus on UBI, but most importantly, that it appeals to the real experts on the subject, people affected by poverty in America.
The show explains how our current poverty reduction programs have one major problem: they punish poor people and do not trust poor people to make the best decisions about their own lives. Listening to people explaining how guaranteed soil can remove the overwhelming stress of putting food on the table and renting, Mia examines how transformative a UBI can be for our country.
Now listen on iTunes or wherever you receive your podcasts, or listen to all episodes here:
Episode 1: “Let’s give them money”: Could guaranteed income be a solution to wealth inequality?
Episode 2: Poverty can be solved. Just trust poor people.
Episode 3: Poverty makes the pursuit of happiness a false promise
Episode 4: We all deserve a floor: why the bold guaranteed income policy works