Labor activist Andy Stern has been a proponent of the Universal Basic Income and its potential to lift people out of poverty. He says UBI could provide a safety net for displaced workers in the not-too-distant future. Stern says that UBI has support from some conservatives and libertarians due to the potential to eliminate a lot of bureaucracy and human service programs and simply allow people to spend their “assistance” as they see fit.
“It can be imagined as social security for all, it’s a very old idea that Thomas Paine proposed and Richard Nixon introduced as a bill and is now becoming an important idea as a more efficient way to end poverty as well as deal with the upcoming technological disruption.”
UBI would provide everyone from 18-64 years of age with a monthly check of $1000. Stern says it’s intended to eliminate many of the existing welfare programs by supplementing income rather than being a substitute for work. “In a world of ever changing work everyone needs some kind of safety net that allows them to take risks, raise families, go to different jobs and a Universal Basic Income would be that safety net.”
Stern said that in the late 1960s UBI was tested in 5 US cities including Denver. Right now, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian PM is looking to introduce the UBI in certain provinces.
Andy Stern spoke about UBI at the annual Colorado Center on Law & Policy‘s Pathways from Poverty Breakfast on October 6th.