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Guaranteed basic income

Philly To Pilot A Guaranteed Income Experiment

Cash is king. That’s the takeaway as Philadelphia is set to soon join other U.S. cities in attempting an experimental economic mobility pilot that will give recipients cash payments, no strings attached. As early as March, Philadelphia will start giving up to 60 people $500 a month, for at least 12 months. Recipients will be selected from a pool of 1,100 people who have received federal support through TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, for five years. A total of $322,000 will cover the costs, drawing from existing TANF funds. The key distinction from traditional social programs, such as TANF, said Dr. Nikia Owens, Philadelphia’s deputy executive director of family supports & basic needs, is “they don’t have to do anything extra for this money.”

The UBI Already Exists. It Is Just Unevenly Distributed

So let us do the math here. Providing every person $10,000 a year would sum up to about $3.2 trillion. This would be passive income paid out to people with no strings attached and without them having to work for it. Now ask yourself: do we have any other kind of income in our society that is paid out passively to people with no strings attached and without them having to work for it? Yes. We do. It is called “capital income” or, at other times, the “net operating surplus.” How much capital income is there in our current economy? $5 trillion.

A Green New Basic Income Guarantee

U.S. military spending eight years ago was at $1.2 trillion per year, when one added in the nukes in the Energy Department, the Homeland Security Department, the CIA, interest on debt, veterans’ care, etc. Now it’s at $1.3 trillion. In the years since military spending has been dramatically increased, the United States has been made less safe, less liked, less environmentally sustainable, less free, less prosperous, less tolerant, and less democratic. Moving money to other areas significantly expands the economy, rewarding the shift financially as well as in many other ways. In fact, the same money spent on clean energy jobs returns a 50% increase in taxes over money spent on military jobs.

Three Books Make The Case For A Universal Basic Income

Massive, disruptive change is happening in the world economy. Up to half of all current workers, both white and blue collar, could be driven into unemployment by technology. Automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are fueling a new industrial revolution. Once again, as in the past when steam, fossil fuels and biotechnology upended lives and fortunes, workers are getting the short end of the stick—this time robots may come for our jobs. Unless, as science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson warns, we become the robots ourselves, first. Instead of tinkering around the edges, several recent authors make a forceful case for a bold solution to our society’s growing levels of inequality and economic insecurity: a universal basic income (UBI).

A Case For Giving Everyone A Share Of Public Wealth

In late August, the People’s Policy Project, a left-wing think tank run by economist and writer Matt Bruenig, released a proposal for the creation of a social wealth fund in the United States. Dubbed the American Solidarity Fund, the idea behind the proposal is to establish a pool of shared, public wealth that would be invested in the same way that private wealth is. Under this plan, every American adult would own a single “share” of the fund, and while no single person would be able to withdraw their share, they would receive regular universal dividend payments from returns on investments.

Rights-Based Approach To Alleviating Poverty

It is time to shift away from the charitable model to a rights-based approach, guaranteeing people the right to food. People must have access to an adequate income that allows them to obtain their own food, and do so “in normal and socially acceptable ways,” ensuring personal dignity and choice. The perpetuation of food banks ensures the charitable-food model is preserved, and people remain hungry. Basic income is a solution increasingly surfacing in research and broadly in society. As an idea promoted through the ages (from a litany of leaders including Thomas Payne, Martin Luther King, Theodore Roosevelt), the literature on basic income is vast, documenting a host of positive health and social benefits produced from ensuring everyone has a minimum income floor.

Chicago May Become Largest City In U.S. To Try Universal Basic Income

He is concerned that a coming wave of automation could put millions of people out of work and result in more extreme politics. Pointing to investments in autonomous vehicles by companies like Tesla, Amazon, and Uber, Pawar observed that long-haul trucking jobs, historically a source of middle-class employment, may become obsolete. More people out of work means more political polarization, says Pawar.”We have to start talking about race and class and geography, but also start talking about the future of work as it relates to automation. All of this stuff is intertwined.” Before leaving the race after being outspent by two billionaire candidates, Pawar campaigned for the Illinois Democratic Party’s nomination for governor. One of the themes of his candidacy was that politicians were scapegoating various racial or ethnic groups for their constituents’ material problems.

Towns Trying Out Basic Income Are Already Changing Lives

Proponents of the basic income say that what these studies fail to take into account are the savings government would see in other areas from a reduction in poverty. “Poverty is the greatest predictor of hospitalization and health problems,” Segal says. He points to research by University of Manitoba professor Evelyn Forget, who is credited with rediscovering a long-forgotten basic income experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba, in the 1970s. When the town’s residents were given a “mincome” for three years, use of the publicly funded health insurance system dropped 8 percent, Forget’s research showed. Given that Canada spent an estimated CA$242 billion on health care costs in 2017, a decrease of 8 percent nationally would amount to a savings of more than CA$19 billion on health care costs nationally, offsetting nearly half of the estimated cost of a basic income. 

The Oligarchs’ ‘Guaranteed Basic Income’ Scam

A number of the reigning oligarchs—among them Mark Zuckerberg (net worth $64.1 billion), Elon Musk (net worth $20.8 billion), Richard Branson (net worth $5.1 billion) and Stewart Butterfield (net worth $1.6 billion)—are calling for a guaranteed basic income. It looks progressive. They couch their proposals in the moral language of caring for the destitute and the less fortunate. But behind this is the stark awareness, especially in Silicon Valley, that the world these oligarchs have helped create is so lopsided that future consumers, plagued by job insecurity, substandard wages, automation and crippling debt peonage, will be unable to pay for the products and services offered by the big corporations. The oligarchs do not propose structural change. They do not want businesses and the marketplace regulated.

Scotland Bringing Basic Income to Life

People living in the Scottish cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, and North Ayrshire may soon receive an unconditional monthly sum as part of a series of universal basic income pilots currently being explored with support from the local government. In a world where jobs are being increasingly taken over by machines, leaders have started to recognize that the welfare safety net will need to change. Advocates of universal basic income believe that the unconditional offer of a regular, though tiny, sum of money could help many get back on their feet, and even encourage them to invest in new business ideas.

The Boomerang To Republican Tax Cuts & Trumpism

By Peter Bohmer for Counterpunch. The Universal Basic Income(UBI) is getting increasing attention in the United States, in particular from Silicon Valley, and also in many other countries in the world. The idea of the universal basic income is that every resident in a society would get a certain income that’s not attached to their work. The numbers I’m suggesting to start with for the United States are $1,000 a month for each person over 18 and $500 a month for each person under 18. These amounts would increase annually to keep up with inflation and would also rise as productivity increases. To illustrate the idea, let’s take a family of two adults—two parents 18 and over and two children under 18. They would receive $1,000 for each adult and $500 for each child, which would total 3,000 a month. That is $36,000 a year, which is about 1 1/2 times the official poverty line. In addition, it would offer a housing allowance in high rent cities. That’s the basic idea.

Even A Modest Basic Income Could Improve Economic Security

By James King for Peoples Policy Project - The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) – a cash payment made to every person in the country with no strings attached – is becoming increasingly popular in experimental policy circles. Most proposals for a universal basic income are “complete” UBI proposals: payments large enough to guarantee a minimum standard of living to every person independent of work. In the US, that would be roughly $12,000 per person based on the poverty line. However, it is more likely that any universal cash payment passed in the US would be more modest to begin with, e.g. a low UBI of a few hundred dollars a month. As UBI advocates continue to advance their policy objectives, it is imperative to make the case that any UBI, even a small one, has significant benefits. In 2016, the Federal Reserve reported that nearly half of all Americans would not be able to cover a $400 emergency expense without either borrowing money or selling valuables. Although the financial status of Americans has been improving since the Great Recession, the majority of Americans earning less than $30,000 a year still worry about paying their bills every month and maintaining their standard of living. Money may not buy happiness, but even a partial UBI could help buy Americans peace of mind and provide many Americans an avenue to save money for emergencies. Opponents of a UBI might claim that such a low UBI would just get absorbed into each family’s normal consumption level and thus not improve their overall financial security.

Funding Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes Or Inflation

By Ellen Brown for Web of Debt Blog - In May 2017, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford published the results of a survey of the world’s best artificial intelligence experts, who predicted that there was a 50 percent chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks within 45 years. All human jobs were expected to be automated in 120 years, with Asian respondents expecting these dates much sooner than North Americans. In theory, that means we could all retire and enjoy the promised age of universal leisure. But the immediate concern for most people is that they will be losing their jobs to machines. That helps explain the recent interest in a universal basic income (UBI) – a sum of money distributed equally to everyone. A UBI has been proposed in Switzerland, trials are beginning in Finland, and there is a successful pilot ongoing in Brazil. The cities of Ontario in Canada, Oakland in California, and Utrecht in the Netherlands are planning trials; two local authorities in Scotland have announced such plans; and politicians across Europe, including UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, have spoken in favor of the concept. Advocates in the US range from Robert Reich to Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Luther King, Thomas Paine, Charles Murray, Elon Musk, Dan Savage, Keith Ellison and Paul Samuelson. A new economic study found that a UBI of $1000/month to all adults would add $2.5 trillion to the US economy in eight years.

Finland Tests Guaranteed Basic Income

By Ben Chapman for Independent - Finland has been giving 2,000 of its citizens an unconditional income for the last five months and some are already seeing the benefits, reporting decreased stress, greater incentives to find work and more time to pursue business ideas. The scheme is the first of its kind in Europe and sees participants receive €560 (£473) every month for two years. Recipients do not have to demonstrate that they are seeking employment and they are not required to regularly report to authorities to prove they still need the payment, as is the case with standard unemployment benefits. They can spend the money however they like. Under the pilot, if a participant finds work, they will continue to receive the stipend, removing one of the limitations of current welfare systems - the disincentive to find work. The trial is one measure introduced by the centre-right government to tackle Finland's unemployment problem. Juha Jarvinen, an unemployed young father in a village near Jurva, western Finland, was picked at random to receive the payment, starting in January this year. He told the Economist that, unlike when he was receiving standard unemployment payments, he is now actively seeking work.

Traditional Welfare And Taxes Can Be Reformed To Support Universal Basic Income

By Scott Santens for Futurism - Some of the most common questions ever asked in regards to the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) are in regards to the details. “How much income? Who gets it? Who pays for it? How is it paid for? What does it replace?” These are all great and important questions, but the answers vary from person to person, because the answers are a matter of personal and political preferences when it comes to fine-grained details. With that said, after years of studying basic income, below you will find what I currently believe in May of 2017 are the details of an optimally designed UBI blueprint. First, how much are we talking about? In the United States, I suggest starting with the definition of poverty we already use, and eliminating poverty entirely. According to 2017 federal poverty guidelines, this means if we were to pass legislation tomorrow, it would need to be $12,060 per adult citizen and $4,180 per dependent under 18. The amount for kids is imperative so that income floors scale according to household sizes. A child basic income is also in large part a revenue neutral consolidation of existing expenditures presently unequally distributed. However, for reasons I will explain below, I suggest adding 10% to each amount, so $13,266 ($1,105/mo) per adult citizen and $4,598 ($383/mo) per citizen under 18.
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