Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a program in which all people receive a regular sum of money unconditionally, regardless of employment or current wages. Proposed UBI programs vary across the world. This allows different UBI programs to align with both progressive and conservative goals. Several UBI pilot studies have been tried throughout the world, but the interpretations of results vary. UBI proponents consider many questions about logistics, economics, and human behavior: How will UBI be funded? Who will receive the income, every person or every household? Will people stop working or will greater economic stability allow them to better contribute to society?
Yes, UBI is a good ideaShow moreShow less
Universal basic income programs can work and should be explored.
UBI can help people during times of economic crisis or widespread unemployment. Everyone should have the unconditional ability to meet their basic needs in life. When basic needs are met, people are healthier and less-stressed, a state of living that everyone deserves.
Income from a job is not guaranteed. In times of economic recession, famine, or pandemic, the government still has the responsibility to provide for its people when there are no jobs. Even when steady income from a job is not guaranteed, people should have the means to meet their basic needs.
When basic meets are met, people are healthier and less stressed. A pilot study of UBI done in Finland found that UBI recipients reported better mental health than those who did not receive UBI. Recipients also reported "greater feelings of autonomy, financial security, and confidence in the future." Another pilot study of UBI done on the Eastern Band of Cherokees' casino dividend program found that recipients had better mental health and decreased substance abuse. The study found that UBI reduced addiction by providing economic security.
Though the logistics and overall costs of UBI remain unknown, UBI should still be considered because all members of a society should be given an opportunity to have their basic needs met. In the U.S. where racial inequality remains rampant and black Americans are disproportionately below the poverty line compared to white Americans, UBI provides a solution to economic and racial inequality.
UBI is meant to promote general welfare, but giving unconditional cash may just act as a band-aid to address structural inequalities in education and employment.
Better ways to address inequality would be to promote policies that help de-commodify labor, promote strong worker rights and unions, and allow more people to participate in the labor market.