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One of the proposals championed during the 2020 Democratic primary was Baby Bonds, which would create steadily growing trust accounts for each child that they could access when they turn 18. The Institute for Assets and Social Policy at the Heller School of Social Policy at Brandeis partnered with podcast co-host Jim Pugh through the Universal Inco…
 
Recently, the CARES Act, the largest coronavirus relief package to date was signed into law, and it included, among many other things, a $1200 check for every legal adult resident making $75,000 (or $150,000 for couples), and $500 for each of their children. Jim and Owen discuss this major dispersement of unconditional cash, what it means in the sh…
 
While interest in universal basic income has increased steadily over the last five years, it has surged to unprecedented levels over the last five weeks. Cash transfers, either as a one-off or an ongoing program, are being discussed on both sides of the aisle as the U.S. deals with the economic fallout caused by social distancing measures to slow t…
 
We often mention that our current welfare programs have serious inefficiencies, bottlenecks and unnecessary filters, and on this episode, we delve into the tragic human toll these bureaucratic issues cause. Dr. Leah Hamilton, Associate Professor at Appalachian State University and author of Welfare Doesn’t Work: The Promises of Basic Income for a F…
 
The amount that everyone would receive under a basic income is generally stated as $1000 per month, give or take, with any nod to how this amount would change contained in the occasional “chained to inflation” at the end. Our guest this week, Alex Howlett, argues for a different framework: making the basic income dynamic and dependent on several ec…
 
The Andrew Yang presidential campaign introduced millions of people to the idea of basic income, and galvanized many who are excited by the idea. Income Movement is an organization looking to build on this progress to create a sustained national movement for basic income. Jim spoke with Stacey Rutland, one of Income Movement’s cofounders, on what t…
 
Most of us recognize that the way our economy operates today is leaving a lot of people behind. But what would it actually look like to have an economy that worked for everyone, and in particular, people of color who have been especially excluded? Jeremie Greer, co-founder of Liberation in a Generation, joined the podcast to discuss the work his or…
 
We have heard much about the basic income trial in Stockton, CA, and finally got some aggregate statistics earlier this year. These averages and other global reports are an important part of the story, but the actual experience of receiving unconditional cash is unique to each person. That becomes readily apparent through the in-depth profiles of f…
 
While Andrew Yang has brought basic income to the national stage, we are seeing more and more state and local politicians exploring the idea as well. One of them is Morgan Harper, who is seeking to represent Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District. Harper is running on a number of transformative policies, including universal childcare, Medicare for all, …
 
While there is much excitement around the various basic income pilots in progress or under consideration in the U.S. and around the world, it is worthwhile to ask what their value is, and how we can design them to maximize their value. Michael Stynes, CEO of the Jain Family Institute, and Steve Nunez, JFI’s Project Lead for their Guaranteed Income …
 
The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) has drawn national attention as a modern basic income trial. Recently, we got the first reports from basic income recipients there, who are receiving $500 a month for 18 months. The results back up a lot of what we’ve already seen from cash transfer trials, but we also have some powerful storie…
 
For most of the late 20th century, having a job provided you with enough financial security to live a decent life in the United States. But today, millions of American workers are living in extreme precarity, just one emergency expense away from financial destitution. A new initiative called the Workers Strength Fund is aiming to combat this proble…
 
If we were to fund a basic income of $1,000 a month with a wealth tax, a carbon tax, some program consolidation and deficit spending, how much would your bank account increase or decrease after your income and current government assistance are factored in? A new project, the UBI Calculator (ubicalculator.com), seeks to answer this question down to …
 
Recently we reached out to our audience asking for questions on basic income. This episode takes on three big ones: will rent and other costs increase, eating up the benefits of the UBI? How could a basic income fit into a national budget with other competing priorities such as single-payer healthcare and free community college? How might we forge …
 
Recently, legislation was introduced in Massachusetts to launch a state-funded basic income trial. The bill would create a pilot project involving 300 families over three years. We spoke with one of the legislators, Rep. Tami Gouveia, proposing this pilot about what is motivating it, and what it could achieve. The legislation is listed as H1632 in …
 
Robert Stayton proposes an outside-the-box idea for how to provide both ample clean energy and a basic income on the local, state or national level: solar dividends. This proposal would leverage the abundance of available solar energy with the regulatory ability to increase the price at which solar energy is purchased into the grid. To read more ab…
 
One of the most prominent advocates of guaranteed income is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the Poor People’s Campaign in the 1960s to demand economic justice for those living in poverty in the United States. The Poor People’s Campaign has been revived in recent years by Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and Rev. Dr. William Barber and aims to combat the…
 
In this discussion episode, Jim lays out his ideas on how we should think about basic income in relation to other benefit programs like unemployment insurance and the Earned Income Tax Credit. We get into topics like whether basic income should count as taxable income, and the difference between the social safety net and the social contract. Also, …
 
Basic income has been heralded as a policy that can partially address racial inequities in our economy and social benefit system, but how would the goals of racial equity inform basic income policy? Jhumpa Bhattacharya of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development joins the podcast to discuss this issue, and the vital importance of count…
 
As basic income gains more recognition and interest, new proposals and ideas for what a basic income should look like are starting to emerge. While these proposals are occasionally studied on a one-off basis, the basic income conversation didn’t necessarily have a single hub where one could evaluate policies side by side. The UBI Center, founded by…
 
A conversation with Rutger Bregman, author of Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders and a 15-Hour Workweek. We discuss what brought him to the basic income movement, some historical basic income experiments, and how a basic income could benefit his home country of the Netherlands. This was one of our first episode…
 
Basic income advocates often talk about what a transformative impact universal basic income could have on society — but what issues and challenges will it actually solve? Jim and Owen share their thoughts on whether basic income is the solution to poverty, automation, wealth inequality, and more. This episode originally aired in February of 2018.…
 
Canada’s basic income trials in trials in the 70s – the “Mincome” experiments – were largely forgotten until Dr. Evelyn Forget found records of the Mincome trials and individuals who had received a basic income. She discusses what she found, and the implications for Canada’s upcoming trials in Ontario. This episode originally aired in May of 2017.…
 
Three years ago, few people had even heard of universal basic income. Now interest is growing across the country, and the idea is getting more exposure and support. What led to this shift? Owen and Jim delve into many of the factors at play, and discuss how we can take advantage of this moment. This episode originally aired in August of 2017.…
 
Roy Bahat, Head of Bloomberg Beta, discusses the future of employment and why a universal basic income could spur innovation. He also discusses the mental leaps it requires to wrap our minds around the basic income, and what we can do to help others to make those leaps. This episode originally aired January, 2017.…
 
Recently John McDonnell, shadow chancellor of the U.K.’s Labour Party announced that he would like to see state-funded basic income trials when the Labour Party returns to power. This has triggered an active discussion on basic income in the Labour Party and throughout the United Kingdom. Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland came back on the Basic Inc…
 
On June 26th and 27th, the first Democratic Presidential debates were held in Miami, Florida. The debates gave basic income-focused Andrew Yang a national platform, and several other candidates pushed ideas such as a carbon dividend or expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit that would put more cash in people’s hands. Owen and Jim discuss the deb…
 
Expecting Justice, a program out of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, is spearheading a cash transfer program for low income expecting mothers, with a focus on Black and Pacific Islander women. Dr. Zea Malawa, who is leading the initiative, joined the podcast to discuss the rationale behind the pilot and how cash transfers can be cost-…
 
Maryland Delegate Gabriel Acevero is leading the charge for the creation of a social wealth fund in his state. This fund, which would be seeded with revenue from medical cannabis, would eventually pay out dividends and potentially other benefits to Marylanders, with the goal of becoming a universal basic income over time. Del. Acevero joined the po…
 
We reached out to you for your questions on basic income and you wrote in with many excellent ones. In this Q&A, Owen and Jim discuss whether basic income would be taxable, how a UBI could affect wages and employee bargaining power, and whether basic income could eventually lead to systemic change in other realms. Reach out on Facebook and Twitter …
 
The Gyeonggi province, the most populous province in South Korea, has started a unique basic income project. Under the program, 24 year-olds will receive one million Korean Won, about $900, unconditionally in a local currency. Juon Kim, a local basic income activist joined the podcast to discuss the rationale behind the program and how it came abou…
 
Recently an article in Fast Company proposed reaching a basic income by expanding social security. Owen and Jim dive into the pros and cons of that approach for social security, the earned income tax credit (EITC), child tax credit and carbon dividend. Each has advantages to offer and issues to overcome on the policies themselves and the political …
 
The basic income movement in India is growing rapidly. There are proposals for a national basic income, and the state of Sikkim seems likely to introduce a basic income program in the near to mid future. In this episode, Jim interviews Sarath Davala, who has been witness and participant to the progress that has led to this moment. He charts what go…
 
While in many ways it feels like we live in unprecedented economic times, through another lens we have been here before. Dr. Carlota Perez charts economic cycles around technological breakthroughs, and she provides needed clarity on our current economic moment. In this episode, she discusses where we are in today’s economy, how we could proceed for…
 
One of the most common questions we get about basic income is, “why should it be universal?” Or put another way, “what’s the point of giving Bill Gates $1000 a month?” In this episode, Jim and Owen dive into the debate and break down the benefits and drawbacks of universal and targeted programs, and whether a hybrid approach would be possible.…
 
With India seriously considering basic income proposals, the movement is gaining traction in South Asia. This includes Sri Lanka, which is having a wide reaching political debate in the lead up to its coming elections. We spoke to Talal Rafi, who is helping to spearhead the basic income movement in Sri Lanka about the state of the movement and his …
 
Since LBJ’s Great Society programs revamped America’s social safety net, the average American has steadily taken on more and more risk, both through increasing costs of healthcare and education, and the growing precarity of employment, due to globalization, automation and contract work, among other factors. Jacob Hacker, professor of Political Scie…
 
The basic income movement is gaining national exposure through the presidential campaign of Andrew Yang. Yang has now been interviewed by many major TV networks, magazines and podcasts, and he has qualified for the first two Democratic debates. Owen spoke to Andrew Yang as he was on his way to a campaign stop in New Hampshire about running for pres…
 
Finland recently concluded a nationally funded basic income experiment, focused on people receiving unemployment benefits. We got the first wave of findings from the data, and dove into the results with Ylikanno Minna, Senior Researcher at Kela. We discuss the data, what it means, what we can learn from this experiment (so far) and what we can’t.…
 
Recently, a variety of basic income-esque legislation has been introduced at the federal level. Bills from Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Ro Khanna, Sherrod Brown and others provide cash dividends in some form. Some focus on working people, others on children and one bill would fight climate change and poverty through a carbon dividend. Owen and Jim b…
 
Recently the idea of a “data dividend” has received renewed attention, due to interest from California Governor Gavin Newsom. The idea that people are entitled to a cut of the profits from the data they are producing from their online activity, and even location data that companies are collecting holds some intuitive appeal. But how would this work…
 
Italy’s Five-Star Movement rose to power campaigning on a host of proposals, chief among them a “citizen’s income,” a cash assistance program. While there are obvious thing to like about the program, there are problematic elements as well, including the inclusion criteria, and what recipients have to do to stay on the program. Owen and Jim break do…
 
In this discussion episode, Owen and Jim take on some of the major events of the last few decades, asking the question, how would things have been different if we’d had a basic income? The episode examines climate-related disasters, such as the recent fires in California, mass incarceration, and the election of Donald Trump. Examining concrete even…
 
In Germany, a group called Sanktionsfrei (“sanctions free”) is experimenting with a unique intervention into a public program. Germany’s unemployment benefit system, often referred to as Hartz IV, contains many punitive sanctions for missed filings, appointments and the like. Sanktionsfrei is randomly selecting 250 individuals receiving Hartz IV be…
 
Owen and Jim discuss Vice President Joe Biden’s recent objections to basic income, and the practical and philosophical points that come up around basic income and employment. They delve into why a basic income could be good for workers and how automation has both driven and skewed the basic income conversation. They also touch on the increasing pre…
 
How would a basic income impact the disabled community? We delved into this question with social anthropologist Annie Harper of the Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale School of Medicine. Harper, who works with mentally disabled people, describes the hopes and concerns a basic income offers. This episode was originally broadcast in Nove…
 
How much would a basic income in the United States actually cost? What are the most common mistakes people make when calculating a basic income? To answer these questions, we spoke with Karl Widerquist, who has been studying and writing about basic income for three decades. Widerquist recently published a “back of the envelope” calculation on basic…
 
We often talk about what effect a universal basic income would have on financial stability, but what about our mental state? Jim and Owen delve into the research around poverty and cognition, and explore the differences between an abundance mindset and a scarcity mindset. This episode was originally broadcast in June, 2017.…
 
When considering the impact of basic income, we usually think of it as a standalone policy — but there’s nothing stopping us from imagining UBI as one piece of a larger policy framework. In this episode, Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of Institute for the Future, shares her perspective on a comprehensive framework for the future: Universal Basic…
 
In 2017, Hawaii became the first state to pass legislation on universal basic income, declaring that everyone in the state deserves basic financial security. The bill’s author, Representative Chris Lee, joined the Basic Income Podcast to discuss the legislation and his views on basic income. This is a rebroadcast of an episode that aired in June 20…
 
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