Chicago Lawmakers Consider Testing Universal Basic Income

Nick Kangadis | July 17, 2018
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The push to redistribute the wealth of Americans took another step recently, as the city of Chicago is now contemplating proposed legislation that would provide a “Universal Basic Income” (UBI) to “1,000 Chicago families.”

It seems as though the majority of Chicago’s lawmakers are on board with the idea of UBI, since most of them co-sponsored the plan.

According to The Intercept:

[Chicago Alderman Ameya] Pawar recently introduced a pilot for a UBI program in Chicago. Under his program, $500 a month would be delivered to 1,000 Chicago families — no strings attached. Additionally, the proposal would modify the Earned Income Tax Credit program for the same 1,000 families, so they’d receive payments on a monthly basis instead at the end of the year — a process known as “smoothing” that enables families to integrate the tax credit into their monthly budgets.

The proposal also leaves room for the creation of a Chicago-specific EITC program.

The move is interesting in the sense that former Chief of Staff to former president Barack Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is on board with the proposal. The plan would make Chicago the largest U.S. city to ever — at least in part — implement UBI.

Obama made reference to UBI on Tuesday during a speech in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“So we're going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our workweek, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level,” Obama said. “But we're going have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track.”

One of Pawar’s major reasons for proposing giving money to people — no questions asked — is that of automation. With advancing technologies, automated systems could displace employees across many industries. Amazon and Uber — among other companies — have already begun to look into automation for its drivers.

“Nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t have $1,000 in the bank for an emergency,” Pawar told The Intercept. “UBI could be an incredible benefit for people who are working and are having a tough time making ends meet or putting food on the table at the end of the month.”

H/T: Fox News

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