Moving America Forward

Could a Basic Income Cut American Poverty in Half?

November 20, 2013
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Could a Basic Income Cut American Poverty in Half?
income money dollar bills
Flickr, Ervins Strauhmanis
It would allow the government to eliminate other social welfare programs, like SNAP food assistance

Here’s a far-out idea to fight poverty: create a basic income. If implemented, everyone over the age of 21 would receive a monthly check from the government, regardless of income. Proponents argue that a basic income would cut American poverty in half. It would allow the government to eliminate other social welfare programs, like SNAP food assistance. One concern with the idea–and there are many– is that it could create a disincentive for people to work. An article in The Atlantic says that because the basic income would be, well, basic, people would still want to work for the niceties they could purchase with a higher income. In an upcoming election, Switzerland will vote on whether or not to give this idea a shot. If it passes, Switzerland will be the first country to implement this policy on a national level. If it succeeds, other countries may follow suit. Based on the state of American politics, it’s unlikely we’ll be one of them. Still, it’s an idea.

 

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