Advocating for a Universal Basic Income in the USA

How do we pay for UBI?

We've got the money.

Before talking about how much UBI costs, we need to recognize how much it costs us to NOT have a UBI today.

With the system we have today, there are massive costs of not having UBI, due to child and adult poverty, higher crime and incarceration rates, and worsening healthcare outcomes. Trillions of dollars and incalculable human potential is being wasted within our current system. With UBI, we would save on many of these massive costs.

We can also start to recognize "common" assets that our society collectively created (like our finance system), collectively funded (like the government funded research & development directly responsible for the tech breakthroughs powering today's digital economy) or collectively inherited (like our environment and natural resources). Because no one person is responsible for these, all residents should be seen as co-owners in their value and have some of these generated revenues paid into a UBI.

Finally, we can also look at consolidating some of our current social programs and closing taxation loopholes, which would be more efficient and more effective via UBI.


Won't people stop working?

The evidence says no.

A common assumption is that many people would simply stop working if they had UBI. That's not what the data says.

From Alaska to Iran, from developed countries like Canada to developing countries in Africa and Latin America, the growing evidence from cash-transfer programs disproves this theory. 

Also, if it really were the case, shouldn't we then also worry about rich people quitting their jobs if they received tax cuts? Or preventing any financial inheritance passed down within families, for fear of creating unproductive citizens? We often forget that your wealth should not be used to determine your value and worthiness as a human being.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to find purpose and meaning in their life, and that kind of work takes many different forms. UBI helps ensure everyone the opportunity to do just that.


Won't people waste their UBI?

There is no evidence to support this.

Another common fear is that with UBI, many people would spend more of their money on drugs, alcohol, or other "temptation" products.

Again, the data contradicts this belief. A review by the World Bank of 30 studies across Latin America and Asia found that with cash-transfer programs, people actually spent less or just the same as they did before on these kinds of products.