Minimum-Income Ideas Get Widest Airing in 50 Years

Wall Street Journal

As Democrats embrace a more activist government, some are flirting with an idea that hasn’t received serious attention since the 1970s: a minimum guaranteed income for all Americans.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang’s presidential candidacy has gained traction with a proposal to give a $1,000 monthly “freedom dividend” to all Americans—from the poorest to the richest, employed and unemployed alike.

No mainstream officeholder has joined Mr. Yang’s call for a universal basic income. But policies to create a kind of basic income—albeit not universal—in the form of a new financial floor for millions of households have drawn backing from other Democrats seeking the White House and many lawmakers.

Party leaders are embracing a range of federally backed economic rights, including universal access to health care, college, child care, and broadband. The right to a basic income doesn’t get as much attention, but it is seeping into the debate as Democrats hone a message to counter President Trump’s bid for re-election.

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