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Silicon Valley Continues To Explore Universal Basic Incomes

A Silicon Valley Congressman “is pushing for a plan that has been described as a first step toward universal basic income…a long-shot $1 trillion expansion to the earned income tax credit that is already available to low-income families.” An anonymous reader quotes the Mecury News:
Stanford University also has created a Basic Income Lab to study the idea, and the San Francisco city treasurer’s office has said it’s designing pilot tests — though the department told this news organization it has no updates on the status of that project… The problem is that giving all Americans a $10,000 annual income would cost upwards of $3 trillion a year — more than three-fourths of the federal budget, said Bob Greenstein, president of Washington, D.C.-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Some proponents advocate funding the move by cutting programs like food stamps and Medicaid. But that approach would take money set aside for low-income families and redistribute it upward, exacerbating poverty and inequality, Greenstein said… Jennifer Lin, deputy director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, is skeptical that basic income can do much lasting good in Oakland. What the city needs is more high-paying jobs and affordable housing, she said… The idea, [Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator] said at the Commonwealth Club, tackles the question not enough people are asking: “What do we as the tech industry do to solve the problem that we’re helping to create?”
This summer Y Combinator is expected to announce a larger Universal Basic Income program, though the article also describes “small pilot studies” in the 1960s and 1970s in Canada and in several U.S. states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Iowa and Indiana, where “Some studies showed improvements in participants’ physical and mental health, and found children performed better in school or stayed in school longer. But some also showed that people receiving a basic income were inclined to spend fewer hours working.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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