For a long time, guaranteed income has been suggested as a remedy for Americans’ financial problems. According to Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a network that supports such initiatives, guaranteed income programs have been launched in 48 locations countrywide since 2020, demonstrating how the concept is gradually being put into effect.
Governmental and private sources of funding have both been used to finance guaranteed income programs. The former CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, gave $15 million to MGI in 2020.
According to The New York Times, California has evolved into “the movement’s hub.” 3,200 persons in Los Angeles who have at least one kid and a yearly income under the federal poverty guidelines are helped by the guaranteed income program, which is mostly funded by taxes. A privately-funded company in Oakland, California, promised to offer 600 low-income families $500 every month for 18 months. Certain families that have young children in San Diego will get $500 per month for two years from a nonprofit organization.
When announcing the start of his city’s initiative, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti remarked, “When you provide resources to families who are struggling, it can allow them the breathing room to fulfill goals that so many of us are fortunate enough to have taken for granted.”
The New York Times reported that California allocated $35 million over a five-year period for other towns to run their own pilot projects last year.
Cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Denver have also experimented with guaranteed income in some capacity.
All major parties have expressed support for a universal basic income (UBI) or other type of guaranteed income. A UBI of between $12,000 and $13,000 per year was suggested in separate publications by conservative author Charles Murray and leftist former union leader Andy Stern in 2016. According to Murray’s plan, UBI would be a more efficient replacement for the current bureaucratic welfare state. According to Stern, UBI is required to prepare for a future in which most labor is automated and human labor is no longer valued.
When Andrew Yang made a comparable system the focal point of his 2020 presidential campaign, the concept of guaranteed income gained traction.
Guaranteed income policies are opposed on the grounds that they are unsustainable and ineffective. The issue with these programs, according to Oren Cass, executive director of the conservative think tank American Compass, is that “a permanent and society-wide system to provide for everyone would defeat fundamental components of the social agreement and start creating the wrong incentives for individuals as they make decisions about their life’s course.”