Universal basic income, or UBI, is a modern-day concept under which the government distributes cash payments to all. This concept has been around since Thomas More proposed a basic income to everyone in Utopia, written nearly 500 years.
The net worth or wealth gap between America’s wealthiest and more impoverished families has more than doubled from 1989 to 2016. At the same time, middle-class incomes have grown at a slower rate and represent a slower group.
The Pandemic Effects
The coronavirus pandemic caused a severe economic downturn with high unemployment, which remains at high levels. Any improvements in poverty rates quickly reversed. Researchers headed by Zachary Parolin found monthly poverty rates rose to a high of 17.3% in August 2020.
Universal basic income or UBI is controversial. However, it has been gaining attention as gaps in income equality and wealth have widened. It is difficult to assess its merits as a potential government program with more questions than answers.