In an ideal world no one would go hungry because everyone would have enough to eat, no one would get sick because their drinking water was contaminated, and no one would die from exposure to heat or to cold.
Yesterday the long-awaited Republican tax plan was revealed and, as expected, it favors businesses and the wealthy. MSN reported that, not surprisingly, it “contradicted Trump’s rhetoric of bringing tax relief and economic benefit to the stressed middle class.”
Today my goal is to plant a thought in your minds and to invite you to explore the idea of a guaranteed income. If everyone had the same base guaranteed income, how would our lives change?
Unknown to most of us, a guaranteed income is an idea currently being explored by governments, philanthropic groups and wealthy individuals. It isn’t a new idea; Thomas More may have been the first person to suggest it, but the idea has been championed by such diverse individuals as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Richard Nixon who proposed a “negative income tax” similar to basic income. However, it failed to pass in Congress and when it did the momentum for it was lost.
An article on Universal Income, which was part of an Associated Press series on the Future of Work, cited examples of a few trial guaranteed income programs currently underway outside the U.S. GiveDirectly is a New York-based philanthropic group. They started their experiment in a Kenyan village where they began distributing $22 a month to 100 residents after calculating that is roughly the amount needed to buy essentials. Each recipient will receive that sum for 12 years. Their plan is to expand the number of recipients to 26,000 when they reach their $30 million funding goal.
Finland has a program in place with 2,000 participants in hopes they can use what they learn from the experiment to adapt their social security system to a changing workplace. Other groups, other countries, and wealthy individuals are considering some form of a guaranteed income to level the playing field as jobs are lost to automation and artificial intelligence.
Closer to home, Hawaii state lawmakers have voted to explore the idea. As one of them asked, “If people in Alaska deserve an oil dividend, why don’t the people of Hawaii deserve a beach dividend?”
What if we all had the same guaranteed minimum income for life? Would it calm the anger and frustration of young men who cannot find a job? What impact would it have on our nation, on international relationships, on the world? Would it free us to be more creative? Would it work for you? If so, how would your life change?
Blessings on Your Pondering,