Coronavirus fallout revives talk of ‘universal basic income’

Stockton (United States) (AFP) – The scoffed-at idea of paying everyone a basic income as machines take people’s jobs is actually getting a fresh look as a possible remedy for economies cratered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lambasted until recently as too costly or too “socialist,” paying people for simply being alive in addition to also also trusting they will be productive has fresh support as jobs vanish.

The massive recovery package being considered from the US Congress to offset the tremendous hit to the economy might move a step closer toward idea of a “universal basic income.”

Aspiring Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang argued for that will on the campaign trail, even as his opponents in addition to also also economic pundits shot down the idea as idealistic in addition to also also impossible to finance.

today, with the US economy crippled as people hunker down at home, the likes of conservative Republican Senator Mitt Romney are raising the idea.

– Peace of mind –

UBI has been tested from the northern California city of Stockton for about a year, with 125 residents in a community considered economically disadvantaged getting monthly payments of $500 each to see whether that will helps alleviate poverty.

Stockton is actually in a part of the state where agriculture dominates, in addition to also also the city was so devastated by the 2008 financial crisis that will that will declared bankruptcy.

Preliminary results indicate people from the UBI experiment spend about 40 percent of the money on food.

Single mom Lorrine Paradela was able to cut back via two jobs to working just one, in addition to also also manage unexpected expenses such as car trouble.

“that will’s a huge help,” Paradela said of the UBI program.

“This kind of money gave me a little peace of mind.”

She recalled getting home after working two jobs with her mind racing, bills to pay, in addition to also also relentless pressure to earn more money.

“Sometimes, I might shop for food yet only for my children, not for me,” Paradela recounted.

The UBI program in Stockton is actually showing that will a modest boost in income can make a tremendous difference to people on tight budgets, according to Mayor Michael Tubbs.

“I think, over the long run, we’ll see Great in terms of people living longer; living happier, less sick, more productive in addition to also also more able to do all the things you need for society to thrive,” Tubbs told AFP.

– People vs. Machines –

The UBI program in Stockton is actually backed by an Economic Security Program created by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

Ideas floated by the project include rebuilding the middle-class by providing allowances to augment incomes of people US households earning less than $50,000 annually.

The cost of living in California is actually so daunting that will workers can’t live on pay of $1,000 monthly, contended Steve Smith, a spokesman for a federation of unions.

One in three American workers are at risk of losing their jobs to technology from the coming 12 years, Yang has argued.

“To avoid an unprecedented crisis, we’re going to have to find a fresh solution, unlike anything we’ve done before,” Yang reasoned while campaigning.

His remedy commenced having a “no strings attached” UBI for all American adults.

– Avoiding a fresh Depression? –

In a recent National Public Radio interview, Yang said the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has caused many politicians in addition to also also analysts to reconsider their opposition to UBI.

“that will has completely muddled in addition to also also transcended party lines where Republicans have enthusiastically come out for cash directly to Americans,” Yang said of UBI.

“Which is actually the obvious in addition to also also, frankly, only move that will we can make that will could keep our economy via collapsing into a fresh Great Depression.”

However, checks sent out as part of the emergency aid plan might involve a temporary measure, while actual UBI might be ongoing in addition to also also costly to the government.

Public money might need to be spent more wisely, having a retreat via the trend of tax gifts to the wealthy, UBI supporters maintain.

“I haven’t always been a fan of universal income,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“yet, its irresistible virtue is actually its simplicity. that will gets money to individuals in need, in addition to also also out into the wider economy, more quickly than any some other alternative.”

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Source : Coronavirus fallout revives talk of ‘universal basic income’