Basic Income News and Discussions

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Yuli Ban
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Basic Income News and Discussions

Post by Yuli Ban »

Universal basic income

General threads are all the rage, so here's one for basic income, guaranteed minimum income, negative income taxes, citizen's dividends, common seed loans, and so on.
For news stories you feel are important enough to warrant extensive uninterrupted discussion, feel free to make it its own thread as well as post the link in this one for archival purposes.

Support is growing for a universal basic income – and rightly so
Wales has become the latest country to explore the idea of a universal basic income, which gives every adult a fixed amount of money, regardless of their employment status. Announcing plans for a pilot scheme was a bold move by the first minister, Mark Drakeford, who said he has a “longstanding interest” in the idea. And he is not alone.

In Wales, a survey showed 69% of people supported a trial, and a letter asking the British government to consider similar plans was signed by over 500 cross-party politicians from across the UK. Already, 32 local councils across the country have voted in favour of a pilot in their areas.

Since COVID-19, there has been a global surge in support too. In the USA, Los Angeles has become the latest city to launch an experiment, and there have been trials in Canada, South Korea and Kenya. In Europe, a poll last year, covering France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, found that more than two-thirds of people were in favour of a basic income.

Of course, there are sceptics. The Conservatives reacted to the Drakeford’s announcement by saying Wales should not become “a petri dish for failed left-wing policies”. But there is nothing especially left-wing about providing everybody with a basic income – it is a matter of common justice that would enhance freedom and provide basic security for all.
"Failed left-wing policies"
I believe the only country in recent history with a functional national basic income program is Iran, and one of the last things I'd call them is left-wing.
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Yuli Ban
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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'Just Give People Money': Study Finds Covid Survival Checks Reduced Food Insecurity, Alleviated Anxiety
"It turns out, relieving a lot of everyday hardship can be done very simply and directly by giving poor people money and support. Who knew?"
A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that the direct payments Congress approved last December and this past March—totaling $2,000 per eligible individual—helped significantly reduce food shortages in households with children, lessen financial instability, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The results of the analysis (pdf), which draws upon household surveys conducted in recent months by the U.S. Census Bureau, were touted as further evidence that direct cash transfers are a highly effective way to combat material and emotional hardship—an argument progressives have been vocally pushing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Free access to mental healthcare is critical, but therapy isn't a solution for worker exploitation and subhuman conditions," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday in response to the new study. "You need to get paid. Guaranteed living wages, healthcare, material stability, and safety—these are key conditions for mental and general public health."
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Plan unveiled for 5,000 people in Wales to trial Universal Basic Income

Wednesday 9 June 2021, 7:21am

Five thousand residents in Wales could take part in a two-year trial of Universal Basic Income, meaning they would receive regular and unconditional cash payments.

It is designed to ensure everyone has a guaranteed income - regardless of their circumstances.

The pilot would run in both urban and rural areas across Wales.

The plan would see two pilots organised at the same time and would include every resident in the selected areas, including children and people beyond working age.

The pilot would cost £50 million per year to run which amounts to 0.6% of the Welsh Government's 2021-22 budget.

https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2021-06- ... sic-income
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Yuli Ban
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When One City Gave People Cash, They Went Out And Got Jobs
Residents Of Stockton, California Who Received $500 A Month Disproved The Notion That Handouts Make People Lazy
Stockton, California has gotten a lot of press for its experiment in providing a basic income to its residents, but it wasn’t until a recent study looked at the first year of results that we saw proven evidence of what impacts the experimental program was having.

Besides feeling less pain and anxiety about their lives and their financial situations, a surprising percentage of the program’s recipients got jobs. By the end of the first year of the study (2019, before the pandemic began) full-time employment in the recipient group had risen from 28 percent to 40 percent — double the increase found among folks who didn’t receive the money.

This runs counter to some conventional wisdom, which says that free money disincentivizes work. Rather, the report, along with anecdotal evidence, seems to say the opposite: it is the uncertainty that low-income folks live with that makes it harder for them to find the jobs they desire. Providing this modest monetary cushion allows folks to realize their potential, which benefits the entire community.
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They used to say of Gandhi that it took millions to keep him in poverty.

We have an old system of carrot and stick, mostly stick, for trying to motivate people to work. What is often overlooked is that constant application of the stick makes workers lees productive. What we need to do is refashion the world of work to make it more attractive and less alienating. We also need to understand that folks in poverty need a base line from which they can operate to be able to maximize their ability to find a way to best fit into the economy. Make them too desperate, and they take the first job that comes along just to be able to put food on the table. Allow them to find a better fit, and overall productivity can increase. The most serious obstacle to all of this are outdated modes of thinking and a fondness for the stick.

Otherwise, we will just keep spending more and more of our resources to be sure that we keep people in poverty. Just for the false psychological sense of "being superior" to people like Gandhi.
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California Lawmakers Unanimously Approve the State's First Basic Income Program

Christian Britschgi | 7.16.2021 3:30 PM

The idea of attaching fewer strings to government assistance continues to gain currency. On Thursday, the California legislature unanimously passed a budget trailer bill that will create the state's first guaranteed income pilot program.

Under the lawmakers' plan, the state's Department of Social Services (DSS) will get $35 million to dole out in grants to cities and counties that will then set up local basic income schemes. Grants will be prioritized for programs focusing on "pregnant individuals" and young adults 21 or older who've aged out of extended foster care programs.

State Sen. Dave Cortese (D–San Jose) said in a press release Thursday that participants of these pilot programs could end up receiving monthly payments of as much as $1,000 each.

"The first-of-its kind pilot we championed in Santa Clara County is only one example of guaranteed basic income working successfully to improve lives and lift people out of poverty," said Cortese, referencing a similar program launched in 2020 that provided 72 young adults formerly in foster care programs $1,000 monthly stipends. "I'm excited that 40 million Californians will now get a chance to see how guaranteed income works in their own communities."

The bill that passed the legislature yesterday largely leaves it up to DSS to come up with a plan for how to distribute the $35 million to local governments. In order to be eligible for grants, cities and counties have to show that their basic income programs are getting nongovernmental funding worth at least 50 percent of the state money they're receiving.

Read more: https://reason.com/2021/07/16/californi ... e-program/
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wjfox wrote: Sun Jul 18, 2021 1:33 pm California Lawmakers Unanimously Approve the State's First Basic Income Program
This has HUGE implications for the future of the entire country. California is often the bellwether for many economic and socio-cultural reforms that originate there to eventually be adopted by most of the country, if not all. The timing of this couldn't be more impeccable given the upheaval this country is going through with regards to the pandemic and more jobs getting automated. This is something to keep watching.
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Yuli Ban
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An Old Idea for a Guaranteed Income Is Back in Style
A new proposal for a negative income tax could eliminate poverty in the United States
n these heady days of progressive proposals for massive increases in the federal budget, such as the Democrats’ recently announced $3.5 trillion human infrastructure package, a timely paper has reopened an old debate with a new proposal for a guaranteed national income, in the form of a negative income tax (NIT). The NIT, first proposed in the 1970s, is one type of income guarantee. It provides a cash benefit to individuals — an income floor — that declines as their income from other sources increases. The authors claim that their plan would completely eliminate poverty in the United States, which would be a very big deal.

The United States currently establishes income floors for various groups of people, especially under Social Security, but the biggest gap has always been those of working age said to be able-bodied who for one reason or another are unable to earn much or any income. An important but limited response to this gap is the new expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC), which began distributing direct cash payments to parents earlier this month.

The paper was authored by a group of economists and researchers, including Naomi Zewde, Kyle Strickland, Kelly Capotosto, Ari Glogower and Darrick Hamilton of the New School’s Institute on Race and Political Economy. Hamilton was an adviser to Bernie Sanders during his 2020 campaign and bids fair to remain a leading economic voice on the Left for a long time to come, so this proposal is as much a news event as a policy paper. On a parallel track in Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D‑Mich) has proposed an NIT in her ​“LIFT+ Act,” which would provide a $3,000-per-adult basic income.
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When I was in college (yes they had colleges that long ago) in my sociology class the instructor announced that volunteers were being sought to help with outreach regarding the Supplementary Security Income (SSI) program. I decided to volunteer, and found it a very rewarding experience, despite the lack of any pay for my part. It is good to see that it is still around and highly significant to the topic of this thread. Of course, that is not to say that the SSI program should not be improved or deny that a UBI program would not have advantages over a more narrow poorly funded SSI program.

Moving From Neglect to Dignity in the SSI Program
by Jonathan M. Stein and Che-Ser Tran
July 28, 2021

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021 ... si-program

Introduction:
(Common Dreams) What program within our Social Security system that serves the low-income disabled and elderly has received half a century of neglect from both parties and whoever has occupied the White House?

It's no contest that it has been the Supplemental Security Income ("S.S.I.") program. Signed into law by President Nixon in 1972, S.S.I. is a modest but vital source of subsistence income for about 8 million of the nation's poorest seniors and people with disabilities, including over 1 million children with severe disabilities.

The S.S.I. Restoration Act, and efforts underway in Congress to incorporate it into the upcoming Reconciliation budget bill, offers some hope in a once-in-a-generation opportunity to update and improve the program.

Although the maximum monthly benefit for S.S.I. recipients is $794, three-quarters of the federal poverty level, the average payment of $585 a month is about half of the poverty level. This $585 amount is due in part to the fact that many S.S.I. beneficiaries, because of the sub-poverty payment amount, cannot afford their own apartment or house and are forced to live with other poor relatives or friends. (The average rent for a modest one-bedroom apartment was $1,063 monthly in 2020). When this happens, the very harsh S.S.I. law requires that the benefit gets cut by one-third, forcing the beneficiary into even deeper poverty.

The basic problem is that the S.S.I. program has been virtually unchanged since its inception. Its sub-poverty level payment and nearly 50-year-old punitive means test provisions have meant increasing homelessness among the S.S.I. elderly.
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