Universal basic income: You may be thinking about it all wrong

Universal basic income: You may be thinking about it all wrong

There’s a lot of talk about Universal Basic Income, but not a lot of agreement. Is it a good idea, how would we qualify recipients, and how would taxpayers be convinced to foot the bill? Yet more major political figures than ever before have made it part of the economic conversation; Distributing cash is just too good a headline to ignore. Now what?

Sarah Foster is US economy reporter at Bankrate (CNET and Bankrate are both part of Red Ventures), where she recently posted a concise explainer of UBI that struck me with its unbiased take — something in short supply when it comes to UBI coverage.

Foster says one of the best way to evaluate UBI is to realize that we’ve already done it: “Americans have an understanding of UBI by the recent (pandemic) stimulus checks. They were kind of a sister to what UBI is.”

The “universal” aspect of those stimulus checks can be UBI’s most controversial feature: A true UBI program would pay everyone, from the poorest to Jeff Bezos. “Everyone gets a check, for the same amount, regardless of whether they’re working or how much they make,” notes Foster about a true UBI program. “This is where you open up UBI to a lot of criticism. It’s one of the reasons we think UBI is a long way in the distance.”

Sarah Foster and Brian Cooley explored many other aspects of UBI, including whether its really just a pass-through program for American business, a perspective that could completely change the conversation about it. Catch their full conversation in the video…Read more>>



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