Free cash programs spread in the United States

Free cash programs spread in the United States

“Across the country, city-led guaranteed income programs are delivering unrestricted payments to struggling households, including those ineligible for other aid. Conservative critics are pushing back.

By J.J. McCorvey

Just weeks after Kiki Ramos received her first $500 monthly payment from the Richmond Resilience Initiative, her car was stolen.

“It would have been a big domino effect if I didn’t have this extra money,” she said.

Her damaged vehicle was soon recovered, but without the additional cash, the 33-year-old pharmacy technician couldn’t have afforded to get it fixed or secure a rental in the meantime, given her $1,000 insurance deductible. That would’ve meant figuring out car pools or public transportation to and from work, and little ability to shuttle her boys, ages 12 and 3, to doctor’s appointments and recreational activities.

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Basic income as a necessary component of a socio-ecological transformation 

“The dominant economic model is destabilizing societies. And the planet. It is time for change It is time for a basic income, too.

A memorandum signed worldwide by 39 renowned scientists and activists for basic income and 35 basic income organisations and networks from almost all continents points out the connection between basic income and socio-ecological transformation. According to the signatories, basic income is also a building block for climate justice. The memorandum will be sent to various UN organisations, the Club of Rome and leading European media in the coming days.

The memorandum is based on the demands of hundreds of scientists from Europe and of the report to the Club of Rome on basic income. It sharpens their analyses: “Global warming and the ongoing exploitation and destruction of nature are caused by the prevailing mode of production and life.” The profit and profit-driven utilisation of the environment and resources must come to an end. “A socio-ecological transformation must be oriented towards the needs of all people as well as towards fundamental ecological requirements – and must stop climate change immediately. Care for people and care for nature belong together. These are sustainable values, not the accumulation of superfluous goods to maintain the prevailing system of production and consumption.”

A basic income would reduce the existential pressure of having to accept even the most ecologically disastrous wage labour. It would also reduce the existential fear of necessary changes in the economy and society. It would promote a radical reduction in working hours and the democratic organisation of the socio-ecological transformation.

The memorandum argues in favour of the basic income movement, the ecological and feminist movements and other social movements coming together.

“Let us fight together for a world in which all people can live a good life on a healthy planet.”

To read the full memorandum, click here.

How Basic Income Can Support Climate Tech Solutions

The evolution of climate action has reflected the need for affordable options. Universal basic income (UBI) has the unique opportunity to empower everyone to change the world. The warming environment necessitates rapid development and deployment of climate innovations. UBI can provide the accessibility that is crucial to the widespread adoption of solutions like solar panels, energy-saving appliances, and electric vehicles (EVs). This article will explain how UBI and climate change intertwine to create the perfect catalyst for environmental responsibility.

Basic Income and Climate Change

UBI advocates recognize the positive impact that policy changes like this can have on the environment. Basic income is an underutilized concept that outlines how the government would provide all citizens with a base-level income monthly or annually. Ideally, this would be unconditional and exist regardless of socioeconomic status. The intersection of basic income and climate change mitigation lies in the opportunities UBI can create to reshape consumer behavior, foster innovation, and provide a safety net for those most vulnerable to the impacts of environmental shifts. 

Ensuring a basic income for all citizens can create a foundation that enables them to make sustainable choices without the constraints of financial insecurity. Financial stability can drive a shift toward eco-friendly practices, encourage investments in clean technologies, and empower communities to actively participate in the transition to a low-carbon or carbon-neutral economy. Moreover, basic income serves as a buffer against the inevitable career impacts that will stem from technological and environmental changes. Offering the chance to save money and seek employment in environmentally sustainable careers offers society a more resilient and sustainable future.

Incentives To Invest in Sustainable Tech

With a guaranteed income, people are not only granted financial stability but are also better positioned to engage in environmentally conscious choices. If entire paychecks aren’t being sunk into costs of living, people are more likely to use excess cash flow to take advantage of sustainable tech investments. There are federal and state tax incentives specifically designed to promote sustainable technology investment in solar panels, EVs, and the like. Some include: 

  • Business tax benefits;
  • Federal solar tax credits; 
  • Low-interest loans;
  • State tax credits;
  • Utility rebates.

With the financial stability of UBI, low-interest loans could become easier to obtain. This can facilitate the adoption of climate-friendly solutions that have upfront costs that many couldn’t otherwise afford. This financial empowerment enables a broader segment of the population to actively participate in the green revolution. 

Return on Investment

There are plenty of climate tech solutions that offer a return on investment, whether that’s through tax incentives or decreased utility costs. Heat pumps, for instance, are valuable investments that provide an energy-efficient alternative to traditional HVAC systems. Some of the perks of installing heat pumps instead of furnaces or air conditioners include: 

  • Less electric use; 
  • No smoke or fumes; 
  • Compact sizing; 
  • No fossil fuel use;
  • Filtered air; 
  • Increased home value.

With the economic flexibility provided by UBI, people can purchase heat pumps that not only reduce their carbon footprint but also provide individualized, long-term savings. Lowered utility bills and higher ROI when selling homes are just two examples. 

Ability To Reskill for Green Careers

Long-term financial stability often involves safeguarding your career for the future. Offering UBI can give people the flexibility to participate in continued education. The demand for jobs in many industries is going down as the climate is changing, literally and figuratively. The shift to more eco-conscious careers is palpable. As the job market evolves toward sustainability, UBI empowers people to pursue education and training in fields such as social purpose, renewable energy, environmental science, or sustainable agriculture.

Some of the careers in these fields are inherently entirely new. Upskilling or reskilling can give job seekers the edge they need to secure a long-term career in less volatile sectors like clean energy. With the assurance of a basic income, they can gain the freedom to seek further education and unlock opportunities to transition into these green careers. The financial stability UBI provides offers a safety net during the learning process, mitigating the risks typically associated with career changes.

Room for Investments in Decarbonization

UBI also affords people a newfound capacity to invest in companies dedicated to climate tech solutions. This democratizes climate action, breaking down financial barriers and enabling a broader segment of the population to become stakeholders. 

By investing in these forward-thinking companies, people not only align their portfolios with sustainable values but also become integral participants in driving the transition toward a low-carbon future. This diversifies the pool of sustainable investors but also creates a more inclusive and impactful approach to decarbonization, fostering a collective commitment to building a greener and more resilient global economy.

Looking to the Future

With climate change comes the threat of extreme weather events and, ultimately, mass extinction. UBI could be the answer by allowing the widespread adoption of climate action. It’s not that people generally don’t want to get involved in saving the environment. If they are educated on decarbonization efforts and the incentives to participate, UBI can be the driving force to get them involved.

Written by: Beau Peters

Ramaphosa promises Basic Income Grant for South Africa is coming

Ramaphosa promises Basic Income Grant for South Africa is coming

Editor’s note: What is discussed here does not meet the BIEN definition of basic income since it is targeted

The ANC has again promised to introduce a permanent Basic Income Grant (BIG); however, the party has not committed to any timeline.

The proposal was again put forward by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the party’s manifesto launch on 24 February.

Ramaphosa echoed his State of the Nation Address (SONA) earlier in the month by again laying out that the ruling party would “progressively implement a basic income support grant by extending and improving the value and coverage of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant for the unemployed.”

To read the full article click here.

Places across the U.S. are testing no-strings cash as part of the social safety net

Places across the U.S. are testing no-strings cash as part of the social safety net

by Jennifer Ludden Photo by Frugal Flyer on Unsplash

Christopher Santiago recalls being skeptical the first time he heard about basic income — giving people cash with no conditions on how to spend it. It was 2020, when presidential candidate Andrew Yang pitched it for all American adults, and Santiago thought, “That doesn’t make much sense.”

But for a year now, Santiago has been getting $500 a month through one of the largest cash aid pilots in the U.S., and he’s come around.

The single dad of three lives in Alsip, Ill., and was one of a whopping 233,000 people who applied for the program in Cook County, which includes Chicago. (There was a lottery to pick the 3,250 participants.) As a public employee, his income is toward the upper end of the program cutoff, but he says it hardly feels like enough for a family of four.

To read the full article, click here.