Open for Registration! – “Care & Gender – Potentials and Risks of UBI”

Open for Registration! – “Care & Gender – Potentials and Risks of UBI”

The FRIBIS Annual Conference 2023 from Oct. 09 – Oct. 11 will focus on Care & Gender as fundamental dimensions of human societies. It is dedicated to research, approaches and the possible interactions of care & gender in context of the Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). Although care and gender have many intersections, they have unique characteristics and specificities that necessitate separate consideration. Therefore, FRIBIS welcomes contributions which address the theme of care and gender separately or in tandem.

For more information visit the FRIBIS website.

Highlights (Keynotes & Panel Discussion)


Prof. Dr. Almaz Zelleke (NYU Shanghai): “Toward a Gender-Inclusive Social Policy State

Prof. Dr. Ben Trott: “A Queer Case for the Basic Income at Our Current Conjuncture: Political Philosophy, Individual Rights and De-Individualisation

Mag. Margit Appel: „Zusammendenken: Arbeit – Care – Grundeinkommen

Panel Discussion

Care-Ökologie und das Grundeinkommen: eine komplexe Beziehung“ mit Prof. Dr. Ute Fischer (Moderation) und den Gästen: Mag. Margit Appel, Prof. Dr. Georg Cremer, Dr. Christine Rudolf & Prof. Dr. Sascha Liebermann.

More information on Basic Income Pilot for Care Leavers in Wales

More information on Basic Income Pilot for Care Leavers in Wales

On Wednesday, February 16th, 2022, Jane Hutt, the Minister for Social Justice, announced that a pilot of Basic Income will be launched in Wales in the 2022/2023 financial year. This program is focused on those leaving care at age 18. The goal of this pilot is to increase the support that is available to young adults and examine the impact that these financial resources have on young people leaving care. All young people leaving care who turn 18 years old within the initial 12-month period of the program will be considered eligible for the basic income pilot program across all local authority areas in Wales.

Those leaving care will receive a stipend of £1,600 a month for up to two years, with the first payment arriving one month after their 18th birthday. This amount, totaling £19,200 before tax annually, will be considered a source of income and taxed accordingly. These funds are given unconditionally, and participants will still be eligible for this funding even after they become employed. Officials say this amount is equivalent to the real living wage in the United Kingdom, and will help to provide a safety net for those leaving care who may not have support from their families.

The pilot will begin distributing funds in the summer of 2022, and it is estimated that over 500 young people will be eligible. This would cost up to £20 million over three years. Other forms of support will be offered to participants in addition to the monthly cash award of £1,600, such as financial wellbeing training and signposting to support services. This program will help experts determine the benefits of basic income, which include improving financial wellbeing and addressing poverty. This pilot will allow ministers to examine the effects of basic income programs and help those leaving care transition into independent adults by delivering financial stability.

A Technical Advisory Board has been assembled to monitor the progress and evaluate outcomes from this basic income program, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot. In addition, an external reference group will be involved with this pilot to support the participants and provide representation on their behalf.

More information will be provided in the coming months.

Maria Matarazzo, April 11. 2022

United States: Elizabeth Warren pushes for a universal child care policy in her presidential candidacy program

United States: Elizabeth Warren pushes for a universal child care policy in her presidential candidacy program

Elizabeth Warren. Picture credit to: Vox


Childcare in America is amongst the highest in the world. For typical middle-class families (two working parents with two children), it sits at just about 30% of the family’s earnings, according to an OECD study which places it as the 5th more expensive in the world. For low-income single parents the result is even more severe, with childcare cost representing about 32% of the earnings, and pushing the USA to the second most expensive country in the world (only supplanted by Ireland). That seems to be related with the lack of state support for childcare (as opposed to that of the UK, for instance, where this last population bracket may get refunded for up to 85% of their childcare costs), joined with staggering rises in prices for these services, which have risen 1000 % in 30 years.


Despite this grim scenario for working parents, especially those on low incomes in the USA, childcare has not often been on the political agenda. Republican dominated governments have always been contrary to large federal spending programs, and Democrats initiatives along the years (e.g.: Obama, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton) have gotten little attention, both from media and voters. However, the issue is regaining traction among Democratic leaders, and Elizabeth Warren’s initiative to go for universal child care (UCC), as part of her presidential candidacy agenda for 2020, is getting some media attention.


The policy is set to guarantee that no family gets to spend more than 7% (official Department of Health and Human Services figure for what is considered “affordable”) of their income on childcare. If implemented, the policy will also exempt families earning less than twice the poverty line from paying any related childcare cost. Of course, this represents a large increase in governmental spending, estimated in 700 billion $ in 10 years, and Warren proposes to tax it from the super-rich. This new tax represents a 2% levy on fortunes worth at least 50 million $, and a 3% on those surpassing 1 billion $. According to economic consultants (Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, former Thomas Piketty collaborators) working with Warren, this new tax could generate 2,75 trillion $ in the same 10-year period.


The universality of the proposed policy is an important feature of it, even though it is tied to childcare alone. On the other hand, and unlike a basic income type of policy, it is given as a subsidy for children care centres, as a cap on costs at 7% would be installed for parents. So, all parents (and their children) would potentially benefit from it, depending on the percentage that their childcare costs represent on their total income. In other words, Warren’s idea is not to boost citizen’s earnings, and create a secure financial floor under which they cannot go – as a basic income would do – but to universally reduce childcare costs for all families, capping those costs as a percentage of their earnings.



More information at:

Reality Check Team, “Childcare: Do UK parents pay the most in the world?”, BBC News, February 13th 2018

Sarah Kliff, “Elizabeth Warren’s universal child care plan, explained”, Vox, February 22nd 2019

Matthew Yglesias, “Elizabeth Warren’s proposed tax on enormous fortunes, explained”, Vox, February 24th, 2019

Mark Zandi and Sophia Koropeckyj, “Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act: Helping Families and the Economy”, Moody’s Analytics, February 2019

Obamacare’s model can solve basic income’s cost issue

Obamacare’s model can solve basic income’s cost issue

As income inequality continues to soar in the US and around the world, progressives are in a heated debate as to what the most effective policy may be to address growing precariousness.

My recent article reflected a left-leaning criticism from Philip Harvey of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as unaffordable from a political standpoint, and counterproductive in advancing politically feasible solutions such as a job guarantee.

There has been much research done on the subject of basic income’s cost. Karl Widerquist has become a prominent voice on this subject, arguing that the net cost is the true cost that should be considered.

In reaction to my interview with Harvey, Widerquist said the arguments about UBI’s cost were misleading, and in reality UBI is far more inexpensive than simplistic calculations let on.

“If the government gives a dollar and takes a dollar from the same people at the same time, it doesn’t cost anyone anything. According to my analysis, UBI can eliminate poverty by putting $539 billion in the pockets of low-income people after they’d paid their taxes and received their UBI. The only meaningful cost of that UBI is higher-income people have to make do with $539 billion less in their pockets after they’ve paid their taxes and received their UBI,” Widerquist said.

In “Financing Basic Income: Addressing the Cost Objection,” a book edited by Richard Pereira, also argues that the actual cost of basic income is largely overstated. Pereira told me that basic income can create a surplus to lower taxation burdens elsewhere.

“The demogrant is similar, with a seemingly much larger cost upfront.  I say ‘seemingly’ because as some major studies that I reference explain, the demogrant can be “calibrated” to achieve the same result/cost as the NIT,” Pereira said.

The book persuasively addresses the critics that say UBI is too expensive. Other savings noted by Pereira’s book, such as those from reduced crime and improved health due to UBI, are important in the calculation of basic income’s net surplus. However, these topics deserve a separate consideration.

One area basic income advocates need to emphasize more is this clawback of basic income. As basic income pushes up an individual’s income, it subjects a person to paying back a portion of their UBI under the current income tax system, as Pereira’s book notes. Moreover, many individuals relieved from poverty due to UBI will no longer qualify for other welfare benefits.

As such, the actual long-term tax rates needed in a world with UBI is probably substantially lower than what the gross cost would suggest, because the government will start receiving a portion of everyone’s basic income back to use for the following year’s UBI.

A benefit of the Negative Income Tax (NIT) is that the gross cost and net cost are the same, because they immediately clawback the NIT credit in one’s taxes. This tax is politically superior to UBI’s indirect clawback through other taxes. However, a monthly UBI paid upfront to all in the same amount is still desirable to NIT because it ensures that everyone receives the funds, especially in the event an individual experiences a financial emergency and does not have the time or ability to apply for assistance.

Basic income advocates can learn from the payback scheme in the Affordable Care Act and combine the UBI proposal with a phase-out in the Negative Income Tax (NIT).

A helpful analogue is the ACA’s clawback of insurance subsidies. An individual can receive healthcare subsidies based on the previous year’s income tax, but pay back some or all of the subsidy through their income tax if they make more the following year. This lowers the amount that the government has to tax for the following year to pay for new subsidies.

The basic income could be paid upfront in the same amount to each individual on a monthly basis. However, the clawback from high-income earners should be more explicit, with a NIT type phase-out based on annual income taxes for high earners.

Perhaps 50 cents could be paid back on each dollar earned above $50,000. The rest of the clawback (and net funding for low-income basic incomes) can occur in indirect ways, such as through carbon taxes or financial transaction taxes.

Having high-income earners pay back their UBI through the income tax means that other taxes will not have to be raised as significantly. It may be helpful in the political realm to with this built in clawback because it is easier to understand.

At the end of the day, a UBI is likely the most effective way to end global precariousness. It’s time to get down to the specifics of how we make a UBI above the poverty line politically possible.

“There is no benefit to working people to being under the constant threat of poverty, homelessness, and destitution, if they have refuse or find themselves unable to take orders given to them by more privileged people. We need to build an economy based on positive incentives, not threats. A generous UBI can do that. A job guarantee cannot,” Widerquist said.