Op-Ed; Opinion

US: Stein’s clarification on basic income disappointing

The Green Party and its presidential nominee Jill Stein has made overtures to the guaranteed basic income. However, Stein recently clarified her position on CNN, saying that the basic income is only a “visionary goal” at this point.

The Universal Basic Income is part of the Green Party’s platform, and many news outlets have previously reported that UBI is part of Stein’s core policies.

Stein’s clarification that the UBI is not a “practical” policy to push is extremely disappointing. She could have helped bring the UBI to the forefront of the debate as voters search for an alternative choice to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Perhaps Stein does not want voters to confuse her position with that of conservatives and libertarians such as Charles Murray, who want to replace most social services with a $10,000 universal basic income.

Instead of dismissing UBI outright, Stein should advocate for creating pilot programs to test the efficacy of basic income around the United States. Not only does this sound completely reasonable, it is likely the inevitable first step toward implementing a full basic income throughout the country.

Alternatively, Stein could use the carbon tax as a method to promote the UBI through a carbon dividend. This would motivate those passionate about the environment and basic income.

The biggest problem with Stein’s comments to CNN is that they may deflate some motivation to push for a basic income. Stein has billed herself as a revolutionary candidate and yet she is hesitant about the guaranteed basic income. That may give some potential basic income supporters hesitation about the policy.

After Stein’s new comments, it is unclear which candidate is the most friendly to basic income. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson said he was “open” to a basic income and supports a Fair Tax, which includes a prebate check that would essentially create a universal basic income.

Hopefully, Stein will take a more proactive approach with the basic income and support experiments to determine whether she is right about its practicality.

Basic income is not just a vision.  It is a critical movement for the twenty first century.

Image By Paul Stein – http://www.flickr.com/photos/kapkap/7999998562/sizes/m/in/photostream/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21702881

Tyler Prochazka

About Tyler Prochazka

Tyler Prochazka has written 73 articles.

Tyler Prochazka is a Fulbright scholar completing his Master’s in Asia Pacific Studies at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He is the features editor of Basic Income News and a coordinator for UBI Taiwan. Tyler launched the first Asia-Pacific basic income conference in 2017.

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The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • Strazdas

    More like clarification was as expected. In terms of social security for its citizens US is far behind most western states. Neither public education nor healthcare especially comes even close and their social security net for unemployment and poverty is practically nonexistent. They are a long way from BI being a possibility in terms of how much social change you need to create.

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