Basic Income

It is my personal belief that a form of universal basic income should be implemented. The United States spent 361.9 billion on welfare in 2015, of this 35 Billion went to unemployment, and another 279 Billion in Family assistance programs. I am not saying people should not work, nor that there should not be a minimum wage, instead I am saying that by providing everyone over the age of 18 with just 100 dollars a week, or 5,200 a year that we can not only supplement citizens existing income, but potentially reduce funding to social welfare programs for individuals without dependents who would otherwise struggle to pay the bills. The living wage in Ohio for one adult is $8.27 an hour for a single individual and $17.62 an hour for a family of four. The minimum wage in Ohio is 7.30 an hour. To the rich, or even the moderately well of $100 is chump change, the cost of a few meals, but to those who struggle to make ends meet it would be the difference between going hungry for the day or not.

The question would shift from why should we do this to “how would we pay for it?” For that answer one needs to look at where existing flows of revenue go. It is estimated that in the United States there are 245 Million people over the age of 18. This means that the dollar figure to implement this is 1.3 Trillion a year. this may sound like a lot, but by adopting a basic supplemental income it is then possible to cut out 200 Billion in other cash assistance programs. The remaining would be covered through increased economic growth and associated corporate taxes. The Government during the bailouts of 2008-2011 committed 12.2 Trillion on failing companies to keep them solvent. If the Government can dole out 12.2 Trillion dollars to failing companies shouldn’t it be able to afford 1/12 of that to give the poorest a living wage?

In addition if young adults had access to a supplemental income it would not only make higher education affordable, but also promote future financial independence from their parents thereby reducing the number of Millennials and future generations who live with their parents at 20-30 years old. Counter to popular opinions it has been found that when individuals are provided direct cash instead of earmarked funds they use the money to better their children and food. It is not that people do not want a better life it is that they can not afford one.