UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME
Our government has repeatedly bailed out Wall Street and big banks to the tune of billions of dollars. We spend billions each year on corporate welfare. And we fritter away billions more on excessive defense and other spending.
All the while, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, international trade and outsourcing, driven by the the ever-present "bottom line," dictate that job losses will long continue across a variety of industries. As even service jobs (like driving and logistics) are replaced by machines, we need to build a real safety net for the workers trapped in this system. It's time for government to truly tackle the growing inequality unleashed by modern corporate capitalism.
Conservatives have long pushed the discredited theory of "trickle down economics." But now even economists say it's time to try a stimulus that starts at the bottom and actually does help everyone.
Universal Basic Income (or a Negative Income Tax, or cash tax credit) would guarantee that all Americans receive a minimum income. It could be achieved in many ways, even by essentially printing more money, but the end result would revolutionize the way most of us live our lives. People would no longer be forced to work dead-end jobs simply to maintain health insurance or pay their rent. The vast majority of us would still work (as studies have proven — indeed, it's likely even more people would work, because many could afford to take part time work without fear of losing unemployment benefits), but we would have more freedom. We could also go back to school, or write a book, or start a farm, or stay at home and build a family. Retired or disabled people burdened by high property taxes could afford to stay in their homes.
A basic income — I like to call it a "citizen's dividend" — would fight poverty like no other program before it. The people of the United States would become more equal, more fulfilled, and more prosperous. If your gut tells you this is a terrible idea, I urge you to read through the links (underlined) peppered throughout this page, and do your own research. I firmly believe this is an idea whose time has come.
It's time to stop bailing out Wall Street and start bailing out the people.