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More Cities Push for UBI Programs
The idea is not new, but COVID-19 has given renewed momentum for cities to create UBI programs.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) is essentially a program whereby the government provides no strings attached cash assistance. It has been tested throughout the world for decades and gained popular attention in the U.S. over the past several years. In the past, we’ve discussed Alaska UBI’s program (one of the longest running in the U.S.), but over the years more cities are taking it upon themselves to pilot new schemes. Some cities are even tying the movement to providing free or reduced transit.
Political and philosophical reasoning aside, UBI has merits to reduce poverty, improve mental health, and aid individuals or families. Within the past month there has been an increase in U.S. local governments proposing new UBI programs. The increase follows news the City of Chicago would launch a program which will pay $500 a month to 5,000 low-income families.
This week’s digest looks at UBI around the U.S., where it has been experimented with around the globe, and some benefits of the programs.
Across the Country Places Continue to Experiment
Coming to a City Near You?
Hudson expands UBI pilot WAMC Northeast Public Radio
What Has Already Been Done
CHART OF THE WEEK
The Bottom Line:
UBI is not new and has been around for decades.
The pandemic has given new momentum to the program around the world.
Small scale trials have shown improved mental health and other beneficial outcomes.
The Issue: “Since March 2020, rising inequality and drastic changes to the labour market have forced governments to implement economic initiatives, such as basic income programmes, that previously would have been politically untenable.”
A review of 24 cash transfer trials in sub-Saharan Africa looked at social determinants of health. All eight studies examining the financial effect found that short term poverty was reduced. Nine of 11 trials looking at healthcare use reported a positive effect, including an increased likelihood to seek healthcare when seriously unwell.
Any opinions expressed herein are those of the author and the author alone.