Tuesday, May 11, 2021

UBI? How about “GBI”?

Guaranteed Basic Income might be a better alternative to Universal Basic income. It is the guaranteeing of an income sufficient enough to cover basic needs. It can be in various forms, such as a negative income tax (NIT), an unconditional basic income (UBI), or even a guaranteed minimum income (GMI).

First proposed by philosophers in the 16th century, the idea of an income delivered directly by the state has been seen in many quarters as a balm for all kinds of social ills. Progressives argue that a guaranteed minimum income has the potential to lift communities out of poverty. Some conservatives and libertarians, meanwhile, see universal basic income as a cost-effective alternative to existing social welfare systems. 

In the United States, proponents of guaranteed income as a matter of economic justice have included the Black Panthers and Martin Luther King Jr., while the libertarian economist Milton Friedman advocated it as a form of negative income tax. Even President Richard Nixon proposed providing cash directly to families, without conditions. His plan—produced after 1,000 economists urged it in an open letter—twice passed the House, but got rejected by the Senate.

Read more... As it turned out, what made the difference wasn't more research but a global pandemic. In the face of the recession caused by the pandemic, relief packages were suddenly seen as necessary to jump-start the American economy. The success of the $1,400 stimulus checks make it more likely now than ever before that that guaranteed income could soon become a permanent fixture of federal policy.

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