New stimulus proposals look like a guaranteed income experiment. Early results show whether it will work


The new federal coronavirus relief bill that’s poised to be approved on Capitol Hill could put unprecedented sums of money into the hands of American families.

That includes new stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for adults and their dependents, as well as up to $300 per month per child through an enhanced child tax credit.

This week, some Democratic senators upped the ante, and called for recurring stimulus checks and indefinite expansion of unemployment benefits for the duration of the pandemic.

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Stockton’s Basic-Income Experiment Pays Off

The Atlantic

Two years ago, the city of Stockton, California, did something remarkable: It brought back welfare.

Using donated funds, the industrial city on the edge of the Bay Area tech economy launched a small demonstration program, sending payments of $500 a month to 125 randomly selected individuals living in neighborhoods with average incomes lower than the city median of $46,000 a year.

The recipients were allowed to spend the money however they saw fit, and they were not obligated to complete any drug tests, interviews, means or asset tests, or work requirements. They just got the money, no strings attached.  

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The time has come for a guaranteed livable income program

The Leader-Post

The pandemic has re-animated the discussion of a guaranteed liveable income in Canada. The goals of any guaranteed income program are to provide for the basic needs of households and families, to consolidate the hodge-podge of income support programs that exist, to simplify access to and delivery of income support, and to avoid the need for ad hoc programs in times like these.

This is not a new idea. For decades, former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal advocated for a Canadian guaranteed basic income. In the 1970s the NDP government of Manitoba launched a pilot project. More recently, the Ontario Liberal government created a test in several Ontario communities. Unfortunately, both pilots ended prematurely when governments changed.

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Green Party leader urges feds to consider universal basic income as 'safety net' beyond pandemic

Green Party leader Annamie Paul is calling on the federal government to launch discussions on creating a national guaranteed livable income.

“A guaranteed livable income is almost inevitably going to have to be part of the solution if we’re going to ensure that everyone has a social safety net beneath them,” Paul said at a roundtable discussion Monday with Independent Sen. Kim Pate and co-founder of Revenu de base Québec Jonathan Brun.

Paul says the pandemic has shed light on the high number of people who would have been struggling to make ends meet — had it not been for emergency benefits.

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Liberal MP Says Some Cabinet Ministers ‘Very Supportive’ Of Basic Income

Huffington Post

Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz says her push for basic income has traction among her caucus colleagues, including a number of cabinet ministers. 

Dzerowicz introduced a private members’ bill this week, Bill C-273, which calls on the federal finance minister to study guaranteed basic income models and develop a national strategy to evaluate how a program could be implemented in Canada. 

“I will tell you that I do know that there’s cabinet ministers that are very supportive of basic income,” the Toronto MP told HuffPost Canada during a virtual meeting availability to discuss her bill Thursday. There’s a “broad swath” of Liberal caucus members who support the idea, Dzerowicz said. “I don’t want to give you the number, but it’s quite a few.”

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MP Julie Dzerowicz introduces private members bill to establish national strategy for a guaranteed basic income

Julie Dzerowicz, Member of Parliament for Davenport, has introduced legislation in the House of Commons that would enable a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income in Canada. 

This is the first time a bill has been introduced in the House of Commons on guaranteed basic income.    

If passed, this bill would enable the federal government to establish pilot projects in one or more provinces to test models of implementation of a guaranteed basic income program; create a framework of national standards to guide the implementation of a guaranteed basic income program in any province, and collect data on the impact on government (including responsiveness, cost and reducing the complexity of and/or replacing existing social programs), on recipients, and on recipient communities (including entrepreneurship, job creation and civic action).

Canada’s current social welfare system was created in the 1970s. No matter how many times it is adjusted still too many people fall through the cracks, says a media release.

“Canada needs a robust social welfare system that meets the needs of the 21st century worker, that is more flexible and adaptive while being less complex and better at tackling inequality,” says Dzerowicz.

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A voice against burying the idea of a basic income for Canadians

Hugh Segal

Toronto Star

A recent report of the British Columbia Expert Panel on Basic Income prepared over two years by three economists, two from B.C. and one from Alberta, has given encouragement to long standing opponents of a basic income.

In some ways, however, the very nature of their sixty-five recommendations for program changes in income security and related programs in B.C. undercuts the anti-basic income orientation of the report itself.

The analysis and recommendations of the report do appear to have the authors bumping into themselves while coming around the corner.

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