Should we have a universal basic income?

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air Date: July 17, 2019 This week on the program, we bring you a forum to ask the question, “Should we have a universal basic income?” (UBI) in the U.S.?

A UBI refers to the dispersing of an amount of income to all members within a society, no strings attached—with the intention of curbing poverty and increasing economic freedom. While limited tests or modified UBI systems have been attempted across the world, an unqualified universal basic income has never been adopted. But the policy has gained proponents ranging from economists to politicians to revolutionaries.

Just a few months ago, discussion of a universal basic income was regulated to Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign. Now the policy tool has gained renewed relevance in light of the cascading economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. While the U.S. has already passed a $1200 per person stimulus, other countries are adopting more robust and continuous relief efforts. Spain, an epicenter of COVID-19, is currently working on plans to institute a UBI. Canada is enrolling unemployed workers and those making less than $12000 a year in a $2000 per month relief program for up to four months. Democratic members of Congress, such as Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Ro Khanna, and Tim Ryan have pushed to implement similar programs in the U.S. But what will be included in future federal relief packages is still being worked out.

Getting into the strengths and weaknesses of universal basic income are Rudiger von Arnim, associate professor of economics at the University of Utah; Gina Cornia, Executive Director of Utahns Against Hunger; and Stephen Bannister, Associate Professor of economics at the U. Moderating the discussion is Brad Williams, Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at the David Eccles School of Business.

This discussion was recorded on February 27, 2019.

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