United States: The Economic Security Project funds 35 grantees

United States: The Economic Security Project funds 35 grantees

The $10 million Economic Security Project (ESP) has awarded 35 organizations which will exercise with Universal Basic Income concepts in 2018.

 

The ESP, established in 2016 partly by Chris Hughes (co-founder of Facebook and roommate of Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard), supports the work of innovators who are committed to exploring how recurring cash stipends make economies work for everyone. In an article written by all three founders of ESP (Natalie Foster, Hughes and Dorian Warren), the grantees “are moving ideas and people to add more texture, dynamism, and information to the basic income debate in the United States.”

These include:

– The Boston Review, which is hosting a public event to elevate the debate on basic income first litigated in their Forum publication;
– The Center for Popular Democracy, which is exploring potential efforts to reimagine and expand the state earned income tax credit (EITC);
– The Golden State Opportunity Foundation, which runs CalEITC4me, is working to dramatically expand the state’s EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) program to cover all self-employed workers, full-time minimum wage workers, and one million more Californian families;

– The Institute for the Future, for producing research on Universal Basic Assets for the future;

– The Leap Forward Project, for collaboratively designing and promoting future cash-based policies in California and building the organizational capacity of constituencies historically left out of policy development;
– The Listen First Tour, that will refocus the voices and leadership of people who are poor as central to ensuring the success and relevance of the basic income movement;
– The Stanford University’s Basic Income Lab, which has recently convened a gathering of cities interested in basic income pilots;
– The Street Art Anarchy, that is producing a series of public art murals to raise awareness about the prospects of economic security and basic income;
– The Truth Be Told Productions, which is creating a short documentary film that focuses on the people of Dauphin, Manitoba, to capture stories of impact from the Mincome pilot back in the mid 1970’s;
– The Universal Income Project, for building grassroots support for a universal income that upholds progressive values;
– The University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions, that will host a workshop on basic income for junior scholars to engage with leaders in the field on the state of the art in basic income studies;
Upstream, for developing a new podcast that will produce a two-part series on the potential for universal basic income to bring about a new economic paradigm;
Y Combinator Research, which will implement the first randomized controlled trial of basic income in the United States.

 

More information at:

Natalie Foster, Chris Hughes and Dorian Warren, “Moving People and Ideas: Announcing Our New Grantees”, Medium, September 27th 2017

United States: CQ releases basic income research compilation

United States: CQ releases basic income research compilation

Congressional Quarterly (CQ) has published a research paper on basic income (BI) that explains its universal popularity due to automation growth estimates worldwide. The CQ Researcher covers everything from Scott Santens’ crowdfunded self-financing mechanism to U.S. ex-President Obama’s belief that the debate may last 10 to 20 years.

 

The 21-page research paper, written by London freelancer Sara Glazer, includes an explanation of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) – a basic income like payment to all residents – and revels in the prediction of automation worldwide. Predicted percentage of job losses are shown in charts for 8 countries, as well as for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (made up of 21 countries).

 

BI appeal to the political Left is explained as the continuation of a welfare state. Its appeal to the political Right is explained as a libertarian limit on government intrusion and cost. However, the research warns that many people believe the poor may be worse off: “Some anti-poverty advocates say a UBI would increase both poverty and inequality by using welfare funds now spent on the poorest two-fifths of the population to provide cash to people of all income levels“.

 

The report also mentions the current endorsement of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, as well as other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Chris Hughes. Moreover, references are made to the 1960s precedent of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s instituted War on Poverty as well as U.S. President Richard Nixon un-instituted 1970s negative income tax credit. This latter issue has been today resurrected by Congressman Ro Khanna, by his proposed bill for extending the earned income tax credit for the poor.

 

The Canadian 1970s experiment, called Mincome, is described as a positive pilot project, acting as a precedent for current basic income pilot projects in Finland, the U.S. (California ), Canada (Ontario ), Spain (Barcelona), Africa (Give Directly) and the Netherlands. In this report Karl Widerquist says that, with a BI, people will be allowed without fear to work the way they feel best. In an opposite viewpoint, Pavlina Tcherneva argues that a Job Guarantee program would be a better, less costly, way to make sure everyone had work they cared for.

 

More information at:

David Wheeler, “What if everybody didn’t have to work to get paid?”, The Atlantic, May 18th 2015

Chris Weller, “President Obama: We’ll be debating unconditional free money over the next 10 or 20 years” Business Insider, October 12th 2016

Kate McFarland, “SPAIN: Barcelona prepares study of Guaranteed Minimum Income”, Basic Income News, February 26th 2017

Peter Vandevanter, “United States: Ro Khanna introduces EITC bill, garners comparison to BI”, Basic Income News, October 2nd 2017

Kate McFarland , “THE NETHERLANDS: Government authorizes social assistance experiments in first five municipalities”, Basic Income News, July 11th 2017

Ashley Blackwell, “KENYA: GiveDirectly’s Guaranteed Monthly Income Expands to 200 Villages Fall 2017”, Basic Income News, September 10th 2017

Kate McFarland, “FINLAND: First Basic Income payments sent to experiment participants”, Basic Income News, January 12th 2017

Peter Vandevanter, “United States: Ro Khanna introduces EITC bill, garners comparison to BI”, Basic Income News, October 2nd 2017

Ashley Blackwell, “KENYA: GiveDirectly’s Guaranteed Monthly Income Expands to 200 Villages Fall 2017”, Basic Income News, September 10th 2017

Kate McFarland, “FINLAND: First Basic Income payments sent to experiment participants”, Basic Income News, January 12th 2017

 

United States: Congressman Ro Khanna introduces EITC bill, garners comparison to BI

United States: Congressman Ro Khanna introduces EITC bill, garners comparison to BI

Ro Khanna. Credit to: Salon.

 

Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman from Silicon Valley, has introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress that would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for all Americans, a step towards a basic income according to at least one Silicon Valley observer.

Khanna, a 31-year old Philadelphian, the son of Punjabi immigrants, walked districts with the future President Obama as a student at the University of Chicago and beat eight-term incumbent Mike Honda on his second try in 2016. His bill, which gives the bottom 20 percent of workers a 20 percent pay increase is, in his words, intended to offset “income stagnation since 1979”.

Generating a total of nearly 1 trillion dollars for employees, single taxpayers would get up to an annual US$6,000 in tax credits with families receiving US$12,000, approximately doubling the maximum payout for families, and increasing by a factor of 10 that for childless workers. Part of the Grow American Incomes Now (GAIN) Act, the bill is co-sponsored in the senate by Sherrod Brown.

 

Although not an historic basic income payment – which is for rich and poor, with no requirement to work – the Khanna tax credit increase is designed specifically to help low-paid workers. Khanna goes straight to the point, having told The Atlantic in an interview last April: ”[t]here is this huge income disparity in my own district (…) If you’re a teacher, if you’re a nurse, if you’re a firefighter, it’s very hard to live there, very hard to afford any sort of higher education for your kids. Forget it if you want to go to Stanford.”

The expansion of the earned income credit is similar to the approach of US President Nixon in the 1970s, who recommended a negative income tax (NIT), which would return money to the lowest wage earners. His bill passed the House in congress, but stalled in the Senate. Since in the US bills must pass both bodies to become law of the land, Nixon’s NIT never saw the light of day.

 

“We’re not divorcing it (EITC payment) from work, but we’re realizing (…) that people are working hard and they’re not earning a middle-class wage”, Khanna said in the Atlantic interview.

Chris Hughes, chairman of the Economic Security Project (ESP) and co-founder of Facebook, said in a ESP press release about the GAIN act: “[w]ith the unprecedented changes to the nature of work thanks to automation and other forces, it’s clear we need game-changer policy proposals like expanding the EITC to help ensure economic security for everyone.”

 

More information at:

Annie Lowrey, “Ro Khanna wants to give working class households 1 trillion dollars“,The Atlantic, April 28th 2017

Greg Ferenstein, “A step towards basic income: analysis of a proposed congressional bill“, Ferenstein Wire, April 7th 2017

Ro Khanna, The “GAIN act” bill, House of Representatives, September 8th 2017

 

China: Association for Promotion of UBI established

China: Association for Promotion of UBI established

Photo credit to: Basic Income Asia Pacific.

Zhang Chao and Gan Lin, high school seniors from the Chinese province of Zhejiang and founders of UBIForALL (Association for the Promotion of Universal Basic Income) recommend establishing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) city in an “undeveloped” area in China. Their prime motivation is to promote, research and develop literature on basic income, intended to be implemented within the Chinese (mainland) reality.

They wrote in August, shortly after having released UBIForALL on the 18th of July 2017: “I’m fully convinced that UBI will take its seat finally (…) so we either accept the UBI completely or suspend the process of UBI.”

The plan for these UBI cities involves buying inexpensive land, funded by governments, wealthy individuals, or unions, and possibly taxes on robots. It also suggests building infrastructure with volunteers and populating the city with UBICERS, who would be receiving the UBI and a special education in order to eliminate poverty and give a new sense of direction and purpose. Using high tech services such as driverless cars and other innovations for sustainable work, the city would avoid the inevitable crisis, when human beings, due to unemployment, are turned into members of an “useless class”.

“UBIC is a big social experiment both in psychology, economy, technology and the promotion of UBI”, Zhao and Gan conclude.

 

United States: Philosophy class examines universal Basic Income whose time has come

United States: Philosophy class examines universal Basic Income whose time has come

A Stanford University class –available on a podcast replays the 1970s Manitoba, Canada, experiment called “mincome,” on the way to rejoicing in Universal Basic Income.

In the U.S., Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who according to some is preparing to run for U.S. President, are promoting universal basic income.

What does basic income mean, students ask? The contentious subject raises many questions, such as: would society fall apart because everyone would just hang out on the couch?

The Stanford class seeks to separate the argument that robots will replace 47% of jobs, a prediction that fuels much of Silicon Valley’s support of basic income, from the “paradigm of work” dialogue, according to Juliana Bidadanure, Assistant Professor in Political Philosophy at Stanford University, who is teaching the class.

The podcast studies the observations of many “experts” on culture, race and gender in an effort to separate jobs (wage-work) from understanding the true nature of work. Several contributions are under analysis, such as the following:

– Doug Henwood — Journalist, economic analyst, and writer whose work has been featured in Harper’s, Jacobin Magazine, and The Nation, says if robots were really taking over, there would be a strong productivity growth in the U.S., which is not true, so far;

– Rutger Bregman — Journalist and author of “Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders and a 15-hour Workweek” thinks that if basic income were accomplished by the government printing money, that situation would definitely lead to inflation. But no inflation fears would be attached to a taxation process;

– Kathi Weeks — Marxist, feminist scholar, associate professor of women’s studies at Duke University in North Carolina, and author of “The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries” believes that wage-work is not the only meaningful activity. She points to pre-industrial society as a good example of when wage-work took a backseat to the value of non-paid work;

– Evelyn Forget — Economist and professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba and academic director of the Manitoba Research Data Centre, who first reported the “mincome” data. Forget argues that “mincome” made it possible for single mothers to get off welfare and proudly have a profession.

 

A second podcast will be available that discusses whether universal basic income is the end of capitalism or not.

More information at:

https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/podcast-universal-basic-income-idea-whose-time-come/2017/08/17