UBI revisited

As unemployment continues to break records every month I along with many, sometimes surprising, others contemplate the possibility of Universal Basic Income. Universal basic income, is the idea that the government guarantee a transfer payment (often suggested of $1000) to all citizens of a country with no preconditions. The idea has always had a strange following of small government types, leftwing progressives, and social conservatives that rarely come together around an idea. Small government types like the idea of replacement for the government bureaucracy of transfer payments. Social conservatives like it, as a way to replace welfare with a more universal system that doesn’t just help the poor. Leftwing progressives like it as a way to redistribute wealth directly. Whatever the reason, these rag-tag groups are now being joined by the mainstream, as people look to offset the massive unemployment. Along with the large growth in unemployment, the reduced focus on inflation is causing the costs to go down and the benefits to go up. I think that there is also a moral component to Universal Basic Income, key work “Universal.” As all Americans are experiencing the same tragedy, as has not happened since 9/11, people become more willing to help all in society regardless out of a sort of patriotism. It some ways in makes sense that an idea that reflects a more European style of universal government transfer payment, emerges in a time when the United States as a country feels more connected (such as smaller, more homogenous European company). Overall I think that given that there is increased interest and necessity for UBI, it is very possible we will see its implementation in the near future.

About Brennan

Brennan is a fourth year economics major at the University of Puget Sound.

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