Opinion; The Independentarian

BIG Bill to Be Introduced in the U.S. Congress (from 2006)

This essay was originally published in the USBIG NewsFlash in March 2006.


Congressman Bob Filner (Democrat from San Diego, California) will introduce a bill in the U.S. Congress in late April 2006, entitled, “A Tax Cut For the Rest of Us.” The preamble of the bill reads, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a basic income guarantee in the form of a refundable tax credit for taxpayers who do not itemize deductions.”

The Bill would transform the standard income tax deduction into a standard tax credit of $2000 per adult and $1000 per child. For the first time, it would give a “refundable tax credit” to everyone who filed an income tax return, even if the person had no private income. The current “Earned Income Tax Credit” provides a small refundable tax credit, but only to those who have some earned income. Anyone who earns zero is ineligible. The current “standard tax deduction” is “nonrefundable,” meaning that if people’s incomes are so low that their deductions are greater than their taxes, they pay no taxes, but receive no cash back either. The BIG bill would change that, allowing low-income Americans to receive up to $2000 in cash as a tax credit, and everyone else to receive the same amount off of the taxes they pay.

Al Sheahen has been working tirelessly with Filner and his staff for nearly two years to get this bill introduced. The Bill is based on a proposal written by Al Sheahen and Karl Widerquist presented at the 2005 USBIG Congress. The bill lacks a Republican co-sponsor, which makes its prospects dim in the current Republican-controlled session, but Sheahen sees the bill as a long-term objective, around which to organize support and which might have a much better chance after congressional elections in November. A copy of “The Tax-Cut-For-The-Rest-Of-Us Act of 2006” is on the USBIG website at http://www.usbig.net. For information on how to help support the bill contact Al Sheahen at alsheahen@prodigy.net.

-Karl Widerquist, Oxford, UK, March 31, 2006

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 931 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

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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.

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