As the coronavirus pandemic continues to put individuals at risk and dampen the economy, many are calling for lawmakers to implement Universal Basic Income to everyone in the U.S. Universal Basic Income (UBI) would provide a set amount of money to every person, regardless of economic status. Many tout this as a current solution to the financial woes of the pandemic and the ultimate solution to factory automation. Andrew Yang, a former presidential candidate and entrepreneur, is a leading voice for this cause, as are Stockton, California, Mayor Michael Tubbs and St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter. The latter two published a joint op-ed on the subject via CNN on Friday, and it sparked loads of conversation.
"We know unconditional cash payments work because we've tried them," the duo wrote. "The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), the nation's first mayor-led guaranteed income demonstration, has been giving 125 residents $500 per month for 24 months. Spending data from the program shows that not only did SEED recipients leverage the cash to prepare for and get through the first month of the pandemic, but some were able to find new jobs and continue to pay down debt.
"In Saint Paul, our Bridge Fund provided more than $4 million in direct emergency relief for families and small businesses most vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19. In just 10 days, we received over 5,200 applications from families in our community in need of help. With the available funds, we were able to provide 1,265 of those families with a one-time grant of $1,000 for living expenses.
"Because we know that too many in our community continue to struggle, we're exploring a full-scale guaranteed income pilot — similar to the program instituted in Stockton, California and inspired by the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — to provide recurring cash payments to help families put food on the table. We anticipate announcing the next steps later this year."
This article, Yang's continued call for payments and the continuous hardships Americans are dealing with all are leading to a wave of support for the measure. Scroll through to see some of the latest tweets on the matter from Yang and other supporters.
Universal Basic Income is our future - and the future is now.— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) August 20, 2020
40% of US jobs will be automated in the next decade. UBI distributes wealth so that those that are no longer needed in the workforce benefit from the fruits of automation. Otherwise wealth will accumulate in the hands of the robot owners.— Paul Borneo (@borneo_paul) August 22, 2020
We all know it now. It's clear.
Universal basic income is the future. #YangIsTheFuture— Heidi Briones🧢🌺 (@HeidiBriones) August 21, 2020
It's very cool that we need medicare for all and universal basic income and no matter who wins they won't lift a finger to give us medicare for all and universal basic income 🙂— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) August 20, 2020
Our humanity nor our healthcare should be tied to our hourly wage.
This is why I support Universal Basic Income and Medicare for All.— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) August 21, 2020
Andrew Yang was way ahead of everyone on this. It was only 6 months ago that everyone thought Universal Basic Income was too radical. The pandemic has shown UBI to be the most rational economic idea out there. Next January we need to be seriously working to pass this into law. https://t.co/dhysc4QJMV— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) August 21, 2020
Hope is not a policy. Now more than ever we need Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and Universal Basic Income.— Ryan Knight 🌹 (@ProudSocialist) August 18, 2020