Should the US Implement a Universal Basic Income (UBI)?
A universal basic income (UBI) is an unconditional cash payment given at regular intervals by the government to all residents, regardless of their earnings or employment status. Pilot UBI or more limited basic income programs that give a basic income to a smaller group of people instead of an entire population have taken place or are ongoing in Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Namibia, Spain, and The Netherlands. For more on universal basic income, explore the ProCon debate.
“I noted that some in Silicon Valley whose fortunes are built on automation have proposed a universal basic income on the theory that there will no longer be enough work to go around. But that misses the point. Americans have always defined themselves by what they do and how they provide for their families. What the idea of a universal basic income misses is that a job is about more than a paycheck. It is about dignity and one’s place in their community. What Americans want is a good job and a steady paycheck, not a government check or a consolation prize for missing out on the American dream. The American people are willing to work and when they work they’re entitled to be justly rewarded. That’s the American promise.”
Editors’ Note: Though the source article is undated, Biden is referred to as the Vice President, meaning the article was published between Jan. 20, 2009 and Jan. 20, 2017.-
Joe Biden, “A Plan to Put Work – And Workers – First,” bidenschool.udel.edu (accessed Oct. 27, 2023)
Not Clear or Not Found
“The reason I wouldn’t say an outright ‘no’ to universal basic income and a guaranteed jobs program is because I don’t really understand what AI [artificial intelligence] is going to do to our country … We’ve had big dislocations before, the end of slavery for example, in our country when we had to do these big economic readjustments and the invention of the automobile at the beginning of the 1900s … If you were a buggy whip manufacturer that job disappeared or if you were a buggy manufacturer or whatever, a stable. Jobs disappeared in a couple of years. But they were replaced by new jobs and, in most cases, they were better jobs. They were manufacturing jobs and factories. Those were very high paying and that’s what supported the growth of the American middle class. I do not know… how we’re going to prepare ourselves for AI, for the AI economy.”-
UBI Works, twitter.com, June 20, 2023
“You know what I’m proposing, I’m proposing to gut them [“three letter government agencies” such as the FBI]…. These beuracracies have failed repeatedly…. I think actually I would just take that money [used to fund the government agencies]–here’s a general blueprint for how I’ll run the federal government, from health care to education policy, even to other areas of the federal government–take those savings and put that money back in the pockets of our citizens. Just send them a tax-free check, if that’s what it takes.”
Editors’ Note: The above is not a UBI plan. However, the idea of a tax-free payment is akin to UBI.-
News Nation, “GOP Hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy Rises in the Polls | The Hill,” youtube.com, Aug. 15, 2023