Policy > Universal Basic Income
Universal Basic Income
A $1,000/month universal basic income for every American adult and $500/month for every American child.
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and the fourth industrial revolution, the greatest economic and technological shift in our history. COVID-19 has killed more Americans than died in the Vietnam War. The CDC projects a 9/11 death toll every single day beginning June 1st. More than 30 million Americans are unemployed – the Federal Reserve projects unemployment numbers worse than those during the Great Depression.
Congress has been on recess. We need to wake up.
Universal Basic Income is a policy where every citizen receives a direct cash transfer to meet their basic needs. “Universal” indicates that the cash transfers are available to everyone. “Basic income” refers to a value targeted at or above the poverty level. Hence it has five key characteristics: 1) Periodic – paid monthly; 2) Cash payment – not in kind; 3) Individual – paid directly to individuals, 4) Universal – paid to all, without means testing, and 5) Unconditional – not tied to employment status.
The value-added tax (VAT) provides for the highest levels of revenue with the lowest levels of economic disruption.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, in the world's financial capital, 16 % of New Yorkers in the 10th District couldn't meet their basic needs, and 20% of storefronts were closing.
We automated away millions of manufacturing jobs over the years leading up to the 2016 election, and over the next decade, 1 in 3 Americans will likely permanently lose their job to new technology.
Studies show that direct cash programs make us stronger and healthier.
Universal Basic Income will help create millions of new jobs and grow the economy in perpetuity according to macroeconomic projections.
This would be paid for primarily by consolidating some existing cash-like benefits (Universal Basic Income is opt-in) and by passing a new 10 % value-added tax to harness the gains from artificial intelligence and new technologies, generating $800 billion in new revenue.
President Barack Obama in 2016: “Because of automation, because of globalization, we’re going to have to examine the social compact, the same way we did early in the 19th century and then again during and after the Great Depression. The notion of a 40-hour workweek, a minimum wage, child labor laws, etc. – those will have to be updated for these new realities…as AI gets further incorporated, and the society potentially gets wealthier, the link between production and distribution, how much you work and how much you make, gets further and further attenuated…we’ll be debating unconditional free money over the next 10 or 20 years.”
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, 2020: “Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy.”
Anthony Scaramucci, former Trump White House Communications Director, 2020: “The idea of universal basic income is arguably one of the most capitalistic things intellectually that I’ve ever seen in my life.”
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 2020: “GOP and Democrats are both coming to the same conclusion Universal Basic Income is going to have to play a role in helping Americans weather this crisis. Ro Khanna and Tim Ryan’s proposal goes up to $6,000/month depending on need. Mitt Romney just came out for a flat $1,000 universal.”
Pope Francis, 2020: “This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage.”
Harvard Economics Professor and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bush, Gregory Mankiw, 2019: “The Yang proposal [for universal basic income] is more likely to work….more likely to succeed. It’s easy to see how [it] would work. Value-added taxes, which are essentially sales taxes, have proven remarkably efficient in many European countries. And the universality of the dividend would make it simple to administer…It would also target those who spend lavishly. [It is the only] bold plan for distributing economic resources [that] is practical.”
Nancy Pelosi, 2020: “Others have suggested a minimum income, a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so.”
Thomas Paine, 1796, “Out of a collected fund from landowners, “there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance… to every person, rich or poor.”
Martin Luther King Jr., 1967: “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”
Stephen Hawking, July 2015: “Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”
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