While interest in universal basic income has increased steadily over the last five years, it has surged to unprecedented levels over the last five weeks. Cash transfers, either as a one-off or an ongoing program, are being discussed on both sides of the aisle as the U.S. deals with the economic fallout caused by social distancing measures to slow the spread of the novel coranavirus. Jim and Owen discuss some of the bills under consideration, what makes for a good basic income bill and how far we’ve come in such a short period of time.
We often mention that our current welfare programs have serious inefficiencies, bottlenecks and unnecessary filters, and on this episode, we delve into the tragic human toll these bureaucratic issues cause. Dr. Leah Hamilton, Associate Professor at Appalachian State University and author of Welfare Doesn’t Work: The Promises of Basic Income for a Failed American Safety Net, has studied the welfare state in the U.S. and gotten to know families that have been torn apart as a result of asset limits and other harmful criteria in our benefit programs. She joined the podcast to discuss these problems and why basic income could be a solution.
The amount that everyone would receive under a basic income is generally stated as $1000 per month, give or take, with any nod to how this amount would change contained in the occasional “chained to inflation” at the end. Our guest this week, Alex Howlett, argues for a different framework: making the basic income dynamic and dependent on several economic factors. Jim discusses this concept with Alex, and how it might work in practice.
The Andrew Yang presidential campaign introduced millions of people to the idea of basic income, and galvanized many who are excited by the idea. Income Movement is an organization looking to build on this progress to create a sustained national movement for basic income. Jim spoke with Stacey Rutland, one of Income Movement’s cofounders, on what they have done so far and their plans for the future.
We have heard much about the basic income trial in Stockton, CA, and finally got some aggregate statistics earlier this year. These averages and other global reports are an important part of the story, but the actual experience of receiving unconditional cash is unique to each person. That becomes readily apparent through the in-depth profiles of five recipients, published by Bliss Broyard in New York Magazine. Broyard joined the podcast to reflect on her reporting and the lives she documented.
Read all of her profiles and an overall summary here: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/10/universal-basic-income-stockton-california.html
If we were to fund a basic income of $1,000 a month with a wealth tax, a carbon tax, some program consolidation and deficit spending, how much would your bank account increase or decrease after your income and current government assistance are factored in? A new project, the UBI Calculator (ubicalculator.com), seeks to answer this question down to the dollar for many of the UBI plans being proposed today. The project’s creator, Conrad Shaw, joined the podcast to discuss the UBI Calculator and why he built it.
Recently we reached out to our audience asking for questions on basic income. This episode takes on three big ones: will rent and other costs increase, eating up the benefits of the UBI? How could a basic income fit into a national budget with other competing priorities such as single-payer healthcare and free community college? How might we forge a path to a national basic income?
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In this discussion episode, Jim lays out his ideas on how we should think about basic income in relation to other benefit programs like unemployment insurance and the Earned Income Tax Credit. We get into topics like whether basic income should count as taxable income, and the difference between the social safety net and the social contract.
Also, we now have a new way you can support the podcast! To donate to support our operational costs, and, if we reach a certain level, to promote the podcast, go to https://glow.fm/basicincome.
As basic income gains more recognition and interest, new proposals and ideas for what a basic income should look like are starting to emerge. While these proposals are occasionally studied on a one-off basis, the basic income conversation didn’t necessarily have a single hub where one could evaluate policies side by side. The UBI Center, founded by Max Ghenis, seeks to change that by providing economic breakdowns of leading basic income proposals. Max joined the podcast to discuss his work, what motivates it, and his evaluation of Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend.
Basic income advocates often talk about what a transformative impact universal basic income could have on society — but what issues and challenges will it actually solve? Jim and Owen share their thoughts on whether basic income is the solution to poverty, automation, wealth inequality, and more. This episode originally aired in February of 2018.
Three years ago, few people had even heard of universal basic income. Now interest is growing across the country, and the idea is getting more exposure and support. What led to this shift? Owen and Jim delve into many of the factors at play, and discuss how we can take advantage of this moment. This episode originally aired in August of 2017.
Recently John McDonnell, shadow chancellor of the U.K.’s Labour Party announced that he would like to see state-funded basic income trials when the Labour Party returns to power. This has triggered an active discussion on basic income in the Labour Party and throughout the United Kingdom. Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland came back on the Basic Income Podcast to discuss these developments and where things might go from here.
On June 26th and 27th, the first Democratic Presidential debates were held in Miami, Florida. The debates gave basic income-focused Andrew Yang a national platform, and several other candidates pushed ideas such as a carbon dividend or expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit that would put more cash in people’s hands. Owen and Jim discuss the debates and how the politics of the moment is shaping these conversations.
The basic income movement is gaining national exposure through the presidential campaign of Andrew Yang. Yang has now been interviewed by many major TV networks, magazines and podcasts, and he has qualified for the first two Democratic debates. Owen spoke to Andrew Yang as he was on his way to a campaign stop in New Hampshire about running for president, how basic income resonates in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, and how the politics of this might proceed if he were elected president but faced a skeptical Congress.
What would it take to truly prepare the U.S. for the potential of widespread technological unemployment and invest in people in a way that allows them to really reach their potential? These questions and some novel answers inspired Venture for America founder Andrew Yang to run for president: he is a declared candidate for the 2020 election. Jim interviewed Yang at an event in San Francisco on his candidacy, vision, and the political path forward for basic income.