Events; Video & TV

United States (San Francisco): Sean Kline speaks at sold out event on Universal Basic Income

On January 23rd, Sean Kline, Director of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, spoke at a Questions & Answers event where he discussed his ideas for universal basic income (UBI) pilots in San Francisco, as well as other cities across the United States.

Basic Income Pilot in SF: Q&A with Sean Kline

As the debate around universal basic income heats up, more and more people are starting to ask "how do we move towards basic income in the United States?" Y Combinator recently launched their basic income pilot in Oakland, but there are also efforts underway in San Francisco.Sean Kline, Director of the Office of Financial Empowerment with the City of San Francisco, speaks with Jim Pugh, Co-Director of the Universal Income Project, about his plan for a basic income pilot in San Francisco, as well as other cities across the United States.(The first few minutes of the video are out of focus but clears up after a few minutes.)Thank you to Covo for hosting the event – you're interested in getting more involved in the Universal Income Project please like our page or visit us on our website – questions do you have about basic income? Leave a comment below and we may ask in our next Q&A event!

Posted by Universal Income Project on Friday, February 3, 2017

Kline was hosted by Jim Pugh, the co-director of the Universal Income Project, and they spoke at the Covo center in San Francisco.

“We’re at a galvanizing moment for cities to think more creatively about how they can generate revenue for really progressive policies,” Kline said. His speech focused on implementing basic income projects in cities in part because, “there’s a real appetite to do more at the city level.”

His focus at the city level is in part a response to the criticism of basic income projects: that they represent what Kline called a “Trojan horse that would or could eliminate other crucial social safety nets either in one fell swoop or through a paper cuts.”

Kline responded to this critique that we should not view UBI as a wholesale transformative policy that would immediately replace other social welfare programs. Instead, he spoke about a variety of “incremental paths” for UBI that could start small and grow. In this way, UBI could build on already existing programs that are already functioning and accepted.

To illustrate this point, Kline cited the Alaskan Citizen’s Dividend and the related Pension Fund in Norway, which both give a portion of oil profits back to the people. He said that even social security is a form of an income grant for a portion of the population. Kline claimed that a transition to basic income could build on these already-established programs and grow. “There are a lot of things that don’t have to sound quite so radical that we can build on,” he said.

Kline is currently searching for funding sources to implement city-level basic income experiments. The specifics of his proposals and their funding possibilities are still being considered and negotiated with potential funders.  Currently, the Universal Income Project is funded  by the Roosevelt Institute and the Citizens Engagement Laboratory.

More information at:

Universal Basic Income Facebook page

About Austin Douillard

Austin Douillard has written 4 articles.

Austin is currently studying Critical International Politics at Aberystwyth University in Wales.

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.

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