Government policies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have reignited the universal basic income (UBI) debate, showing us the vital lifeline that income support can provide. In the US, Congress has distributed nearly $850 billion through three rounds of stimulus checks. In the UK, the furlough scheme and self-employed income support schemes have helped millions to keep their heads above water. But these measures are temporary and specific, so what can they really tell us about the viability of UBI?
The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), a 2-year guaranteed income pilot which began pre-pandemic and concluded in March this year has published results showing that the recipients of an unrestricted, reliable $500 monthly income are happier, healthier and better able to find full time work. Could this be the way out of the crisis that we need? Is there scope for UBI to pick up where the crisis-response income-support schemes end? And critically, can UBI really address persistent imbalances in poverty, income, and wealth?
Former Stockton Mayor, Founder & Chair of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and driving force behind SEED, Michael Tubbs, and co-chair of the Economic Security Project Natalie Foster join us to explore SEED's findings and what a year of state-funded income support means for the UBI debate.