Could a $1,000 economic stimulus grow into a universal basic income?

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When Andrew Yang started his presidential bid in 2017 his platform was built around the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI). Yang wanted to give every American adult $1,000 a month, which would be paid for by the companies that received the most benefit from automation.

Yang’s idea of the UBI came out of the realization that many of our jobs would be automated away in the near future. “Economists project that one-third of all Americans will lose their jobs to automation and technology in the next 12 years,” he predicted.

When COVID-19 reached the United States, most of the country didn’t know how much it would
impact the economy. As actions are being taken to stop this pandemic, jobs in many industries have temporarily gone away to comply with social-distancing standards and keep the virus from spreading.

To prevent a total economic meltdown, the White House is pushing for the idea that Yang made famous, a UBI to keep the economy from falling apart.

On Monday, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) proposed giving every American adult a one-time check of $1,000 as a starting point. “Every American adult should receive $1,000 to ensure families and workers can meet their short term obligations and increase spending in the economy.,” Romney stated.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a press conference on Mar 17 that the administration wants “to make sure that Americans get money in their pocket quickly. We’ve put a proposal on the table that would inject a trillion dollars into the economy. That’s on top of the 300 billion from the IRS deferrals.”

Mnuchin went on to say, “This is a combination of loans; this is a combination of direct checks to individuals; this is a combination of creating liquidity for small businesses.”

Chris Juhn/MSR News Andrew Yang

The news of the proposal made the Dow Jones spike 1,000 points. The idea quickly won the backing of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, showing unity during a time of crisis. Some lawmakers have taken this idea and are pushing for it to be expanded on since some don’t believe $1,000 is enough.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suggested injecting two trillion into the economy, giving
$2,000 a month to each household for the duration of this crisis.

On March 17, Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05) tweeted out her plan on Twitter:

Democratic Senators Cory Booker (N.J.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Michael F. Bennet (CO)
want to see $2,000 given to everyone under a certain income threshold ($75,000) as a way to keep the economy from collapsing. After that initial disbursement, additional checks of $1,500
would be cut if conditions did not improve, as well as $1,000 quarterly checks.

It’s been reported that White House officials and Republicans in Congress are working on an emergency stimulus package that would send Americans two $1,000 checks. On Tuesday, Mnuchin said that the president would like to have it implemented in two weeks.

As for Yang, he’s just happy that his idea might help the American people at a time of great need. “I’m pleased to see the White House adopt our vision of putting money directly into the hands of hard-working Americans,” Yang said in a statement.

“It’s unfortunate to see this development take place under the current circumstances, but this is exactly what Universal Basic Income is designed to do—offer a way to ensure that Americans can make ends meet when they need it most.”

About Chris Juhn

Chris Juhn is an editorial intern and contributing photographer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at cjuhn@spokesman-recorder.com.

View all posts by Chris Juhn →

One Comment on “Could a $1,000 economic stimulus grow into a universal basic income?”

  1. Thank You for not forgetting seniors. It is costing us so much more to live than before this virus took effect. We need the stimulus as much as young families. Thank You again

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