How a Basic Income And Jobs Guarantee Can Save The Economy From Coronavirus – The National Interest

COVID-19 is both a public health crisis and an economic crisis. The measures taken to deal with the public health crisis threaten our economic well-being.

There is near unanimity among economists that the response to the coronavirus-induced recession must be aggressive. As stated by the subtitle of a new e-book on how to respond to the COVID-19 recession: Act Fast and Do Whatever It Takes.

Immediate implementation of a universal basic income combined with a job guarantee would help address our current economic problems and the public health crisis. The policy combination could also help us deal with climate change, which is both an ecological and economic crisis.

Current government response

For now, the government of Canada has chosen to rely on expanding existing programs such as Employment Insurance and the Canada Child Benefit. But these programs have pre-existing shortcomings, asnoted by Sheila Block, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Not all workers in the so-called gig economy qualify for EI. And many of these workers have lost all of the gigs that kept them financially afloat.

A universal basic income could provide financially precarious people with the money they need. And it would keep money flowing through the financial system.

Lessons from 2008 recession

The 2008 global financial crisis showed what happens when the money stops flowing. Deeply interconnected financial institutions seize up and threaten to collapse.

It tookmassive interventionby the United States Federal Reserve to prevent a cascade of bank failures. The Feds actions saved the financial institutions that created the problem but did nothing for the people losing houses and jobs. A basic income plan can be part of rectifying that mistake.

Calls for a universal basic income are coming from diverse quarters. Ken Boessenkool, a Conservative activist,demands itin bothMacleansandthe Globe and Mail, although he stipulated its a bad idea in normal times.

Petitionsdemanding a basic incomeare circulating on social media.

Pro-free market?

The call by some conservatives for a basic income isnt actually surprising.

Some advocates argue that its pro-free market policy because it prioritizes individual choice. Thats why prominent free marketeer Milton Friedmanadvocated a negative income tax, which is a form of universal income.

Somebasic income critics argue, however, that it would justify eliminating public institutions in favour of corporations. For example, opponents of government spending could target publicly funded education as no longer necessary because individuals can use their basic income to choose among private options.

U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Corteztweeted her concernthat a non-emergency basic income could harm vulnerable populations by eliminating other important government programs. Ocasio-Cortez added her advocacy for job guarantees, which she promotes aspart of a Green New Deal.

A job guarantee is not a new idea. A right to employment was part of U.S. President Franklin D. Rooseveltseconomic bill of rights. The Democratic Party included full employment in its1980 presidential platform.

Full employment doesnt fuel inflation

The pursuit of full employment was pushed out of the political mainstream and into the economic margins by economists who argued that if unemployment was pushed too low it would cause inflation to rise out of control.

In the decade since the global financial crisis, the unemployment rate in both Canada and the U.S. has steadily decreased. Until the current COVID-19-induced recession, unemployment was at a historical low. And yet, forecasted runaway inflation did not occur.

For decades before the financial crisis, the government did not intervene to increase employment. Relying on the advice of economists, they unnecessarily condemned millions of people to the misery of unemployment.n

With low unemployment and stable inflation, advocates of full employment have spurred public interest in a job guarantee. Levy Institute researcher Pavlina Tcherneva is a particularlyprominent proponent. Its also a key component of theModern Monetary Theorythats earned a lot of attention in debates about funding a Green New Deal.

Flattening the job loss curve

The precautions taken to flatten the curve of COVID-19 have pushed millions of people out of work. Yet there is an untold number of tasks that need to be accomplished to keep society functioning.

What if we hired artists to make posters extolling the virtues of hand-washing? Or photographers to produce glamour shots of our heroic grocers? What if we hiredlaid-off flight attendantsto help manage crowds at COVID-19 testing centres? Or hiredlaid-off autoworkersto deliver groceries to the quarantined?

A universal basic income ensures that no one feels forced into work. But most people want to contribute to society in a useful way. A job guarantee ensures that everyone who wants a job has one.

Climate action

Dealing with the COVID-19 recession requires us to create jobs that the profit-driven private sector will not. The same is true of the climate crisis.

Much of what needs to be done to transition from our current economy to a sustainable economy will not be profitable. That means the private sector will not take it on of its own accord. Government will need to fund the transition and the incredible number of jobs needed to accomplish the task.

David Andolfatto, a vice-president at the U.S. Federal Reserve, described the economic effects of COVID-19 responses as a planned recession.

Decision-makers knew actions taken to deal with COVID-19 would produce a recession. Given the planning to cause the recession, it is reasonable to use planning to mitigate its harms. That mitigation will allow us to begin the economic transformation well also need to address the climate crisis.

[Our newsletter explains whats going on with the coronavirus pandemic. Subscribe now.]

D.T. Cochrane, Economic Researcher, York University, Canada

This article is republished fromThe Conversationunder a Creative Commons license. Read theoriginal article.

Image: Reuters.

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How a Basic Income And Jobs Guarantee Can Save The Economy From Coronavirus - The National Interest

Coronavirus: Iain Duncan Smith says dont bring in universal basic income during pandemic as it would be disincentive to work – The Independent

Iain Duncan Smith has rejected suggestions that workers should be given a universal basic income during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that it would be a "disincentive to work".

The former work and pensions secretary said the proposal, floated by Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey on Wednesday, was also "unaffordable".

Under the proposed policy, people would receive a universal flat payment to help cover their living costs during the pandemic. Ms Long Bailey's proposal is for the rate to be set at the living wage.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

But Sir Iain, said his think-tank the Centre for Social Justice had "ran the numbers" and found that the cost would amount to an "astronomic amount of money" - with a basic payment costing the Treasury around 260 billion a year.

He suggested that the delayed Universal Credit scheme, his main legacy at the DWP, would be a better alternative and "was designed with just such critical moments in mind".

"One proposal being pushed around at the moment is the redundant idea of a Universal Basic Income," Sir Iainwrote in an article for the Telegraph newspaper.

"Let me say now, its unaffordable, impractical, produces massive disincentives for people to work and most importantly wont make any difference to poverty in this country.

"And even if that werent enough, this would not be the moment for such a massive upheaval of our welfare system."

Sir Iain said the taper rate of his own Universal Credit system should instead be lowered to pay more money to people who lose hours due to the pandemic and "put a floor underneath employees as government steps in and takes the strain".

Writing in The Guardian on Wednesday, the Shadow Business Secretary Ms Long-Bailey called for "a fixed payment made to all, providing everyone with a basic minimum income of at least the real living wage, for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic".

The usually busy Royal Mile in Edinburgh is empty as people stay away from public areas amid the coronavirus outbreak on 13 March

Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

Ho bart's Amusement Arcade in Westward Ho!, Devon is offering toilet roll and soap as prizes in grabber machines

Rob Braddick/SWNS

An empty platform at Farringdon Station in London the morning after the Prime Minister said that Covid-19 "is the worst public health crisis for a generation"


Shopkeepers Asiyah Javed and husband Jawad from Day Today Express, in Stenhousemuir, Falkirk are giving away facemasks, antibacterial hand wash and cleaning wipes to the elderly in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus

Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

A usually busy street in Cambridge is empty as people stay away from public areas amid the coronavirus outbreak on 2 March

James Linsell-Clark/SWNS

A hand sanitiser dispenser is seen inside the stadium during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on 8 March


Maaya Indian Kitchen in Milton Keynes is offerig customers a free roll of toilet paper with every takeaway order


Oliver Cooper[L], was sent home from school for selling spurts of handsanitiser to fellow pupils at 50p a time. He poses with mum Jenny Tompkins by their home in Leeds

Ashley Pemberton/SWNS

Empty toilet paper shelves at a supermarket in London on 12 March


A member of the public is swabbed at a drive through Coronavirus testing site set up in a car park in Wolverhampton


A passenger wears a protective face mask as she travels on a bus in the City of London


A Southampton fan wears a face mask before the match against Newcastle United on 7 March


A loudspeaker placed in grounds of St Mary's Catholic Church in Broughattin, Dundalk, County Louth ahead of funeral mass later this morning. The loudspeaker has been placed in the grounds after the Catholic Archdiocese said that funerals and weddings should not exceed 100 attendees within the church building


A hand sanitising station set up outside Cheltenham Racecourse during day four of the Cheltenham Festival on 13 March


People wearing protective face masks walk across London Bridge on 11 March


The usually busy Royal Mile in Edinburgh is empty as people stay away from public areas amid the coronavirus outbreak on 13 March

Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

Ho bart's Amusement Arcade in Westward Ho!, Devon is offering toilet roll and soap as prizes in grabber machines

Rob Braddick/SWNS

An empty platform at Farringdon Station in London the morning after the Prime Minister said that Covid-19 "is the worst public health crisis for a generation"


Shopkeepers Asiyah Javed and husband Jawad from Day Today Express, in Stenhousemuir, Falkirk are giving away facemasks, antibacterial hand wash and cleaning wipes to the elderly in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus

Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

A usually busy street in Cambridge is empty as people stay away from public areas amid the coronavirus outbreak on 2 March

James Linsell-Clark/SWNS

A hand sanitiser dispenser is seen inside the stadium during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on 8 March


Maaya Indian Kitchen in Milton Keynes is offerig customers a free roll of toilet paper with every takeaway order


Oliver Cooper[L], was sent home from school for selling spurts of handsanitiser to fellow pupils at 50p a time. He poses with mum Jenny Tompkins by their home in Leeds

Ashley Pemberton/SWNS

Empty toilet paper shelves at a supermarket in London on 12 March


A member of the public is swabbed at a drive through Coronavirus testing site set up in a car park in Wolverhampton


A passenger wears a protective face mask as she travels on a bus in the City of London


A Southampton fan wears a face mask before the match against Newcastle United on 7 March


A loudspeaker placed in grounds of St Mary's Catholic Church in Broughattin, Dundalk, County Louth ahead of funeral mass later this morning. The loudspeaker has been placed in the grounds after the Catholic Archdiocese said that funerals and weddings should not exceed 100 attendees within the church building


A hand sanitising station set up outside Cheltenham Racecourse during day four of the Cheltenham Festival on 13 March


People wearing protective face masks walk across London Bridge on 11 March


She said the system would "assist employers, who would then top up salaries to the level a worker currently earns" and "would provide a basic protection to all, and guarantee much needed consumer spending power to help keep people and businesses afloat through the crisis and until we recover".

She added: "This country is facing an unprecedented shock: its time to move mountains. We must actually do whatever it takes to keep people safe and financially supported. People deserve nothing less than the same level of reassurance that the government has already afforded to business."

Originally posted here:

Coronavirus: Iain Duncan Smith says dont bring in universal basic income during pandemic as it would be disincentive to work - The Independent

Solidarity Economicsfor the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond – The American Prospect

While theres widespread agreement that we need an immediate, massive stimulus and targeted economic supports to deal with the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus, theyre clearly not enough. We also urgently need to think long-termboth about the all-too-predictable things that got us into this crisis, and how we can refashion our economy and society as we eventually emerge.

Guiding our own thinking is a basic public-health principle that should have long been our standard for all economic and social policy: We protect ourselves when we protect others. We are being asked right now to limit contact, to work remotely, and to do this mostly to shield those who are most vulnerable. We are being asked to dig deep into government coffers and bear the future burden of debt so that we can bring quick relief for those often left at the margins. And we are asking businesses to step up (or forcing them to step up) to their responsibilities and adjust schedules, offer paid sick leave, and understand family demands.

But why is this good for a crisis and not for daily life? While we should stand together by staying physically apart in this time of pandemic, we need to give up the sort of social distance that has allowed so many to ignore homelessness, immigration uncertainty, and rural poverty. We need to come out of this troubling moment with a deeper commitment to each other. We need to realize that an ethos of mutual caring and support not only leads to better health outcomes, but also helps to generate a more vibrant and resilient society.

We need a new solidarity economics.

Our lack of social solidarity has been a key contributor to our vulnerability to the coronavirus outbreak.

Unprecedented levels of inequality have left large numbers of Americans unprepared for an emergency, with nearly half of the U.S. population unable to handle just a $400 emergency expense. That inequality has also distorted our health care system, where we can provide world-class end-of-life care to the wealthy, but have underinvested in the basic infrastructure of our public-health system, leaving us dangerously unprepared for massive testing and waves of hospitalization.

Partly driving that inequality and partly resulting from it has been a low level of inclusion. Long before we were told to practice physical distance, we were already practicing an acute form of social distance: Increasingly, we have been sorted by income, race, and politics. It has become easy for some groups to ignore homelessness or incarceration or economic despair, seeing those as issues facing others. And that hurts all of usfor example, research shows that when there is a rise in the racial generation gap (the difference between the racial composition of the old and the young), public investment in education falls. That damages the economy as a whole.

Exacerbating the gaps between groups has been a problem with information. The lack of accountability of our social media systems, driven by the drive for super profits in winner-take-all markets, has contributed to the proliferation of misinformation and conflicting advice. Fake news crosses the ideological spectrumno, Donald Trump does not actually own stock in a company the Centers for Disease Control uses for COVID-19 tests, nor did U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hold back coronavirus funding to run negative ads about Republicans, both popularly shared stories. But profiteering from political and social polarizationthe basic business model of Fox Newshas been allowed to take deep root.

Not entirely new but certainly pushed along by the factors above has been a miserly commitment to social insurance. We have looked the other way as businesses expanded gig jobs with few if any benefits. We have settled for a limited social safety net that seems more aimed at saving dollars than saving lives. As a result, we have 28 million people without health insurance, and 44 million more with inadequate health insurance that imposes high deductibles and co-pays, preventing people from getting the treatment they need. With no mandated policies for paid sick leave, millions of people continue to have to work while ill, disproportionately including many workers in our restaurants and grocery stores, which contributes to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

And while it may seem odd to say about an economy that has spawned Google, Facebook, and Amazon, we have a serious problem with innovation. We spend billions on speeding up the delivery of consumer goods but have failed to mount the infrastructure needed to solve the problem of homelessness. We are developing medicine to treat diseases of the wealthy, but neglect research on infectious diseases that kill millions in poor countries of the global South. We are forging ahead with the development of high-end electric vehicles even as we continue to allow environmental hazards to wreak havoc on the health of marginalized communities.

In short, just as Hurricane Katrina revealed the underlying inequities and vulnerabilities baked into the economic, social, and physical landscape of New Orleans, the COVID-19 crisis is shining a light on deeply rooted problems in America. Moving forward will require not just emergency actions but attention to and alignment with efforts to fundamentally restructure how we build and sustain our economy.

We offered the starting frame for solidarity economics in our 2018 publication From Resistance to Renewal: A 12-Step Program for Innovation and Inclusion in the California Economy. There we pointed to a range of policy solutions that seem almost prescient today: Among them were universal basic income funded by a technology dividend, increased investment in basic science, expansion and improvement of the caring economy, full immigrant integration to bring people out of the shadows, rapid de-incarceration and re-entry of the formerly incarcerated, universal health insurance and portable benefits, social-housing programs to ensure long-term affordability, industry-wide wage boards to coordinate labor and business, and realigned tax systems that were both more progressive and more stable.

Just as important as the policy package were our philosophical starting points. We had three central pillars to our thinking.

The first was that the standard economic models of human behavior were outdated. The general assumption by most economists has been that people act purely (or at least largely) out of self-interest. For conservatives, the good news is that the market will coordinate all that selfishness to a blissful outcome, and so limited government is the best recipe. (Hows that working for you today?) On the left, there has been a corresponding take, in reaction to the dominance of laissez-faire. It has featured a strong belief that the state must act to constrain the worst instances of bad behavior and corral the economy into serving the common good.

But as has become evident in this and other crises, people also act out of impulses of solidarity with one another. The challenge is that we have structured our economic and political systems to either reward or tame self-interest rather than to promote our connection with one another. We will obviously need enforcement for people to stay home, but the differences in containment by countries in this crisisChina and South Korea versus Italy and the U.S.have resulted not just from such factors as the strength of government and the social safety net, but also from the balance that different societies strike between communitarian and individualistic values.

The second pillar of our thinking actually flows from the first: The old canard that inequality is perhaps politically unpopular but economically necessary is just thata canard. In fact, a wide range of research studiesincluding from such unexpected sources such as the Cleveland Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fundhave shown that high levels of income disparities, racial segregation, and social fragmentation actually tend to limit the sustainability of growth in income and jobs. It turns out that mutuality matters.

We have, of course, been practicing just the opposite. Weve had a dog-eat-dog economic system in which short-term thinking dominates and venture capital is too often vulture capital. When societies and regions invest in all their members, by contrast, basic productivity rises. When there are trusting relations between economic and social actors, consensus on how to grow the economy increases. When businesses treat their employees, customers, and suppliers with dignity and respect, profits are stable and consistent. And as we now know from the principle of public health, when we protect the most vulnerable, we protect everyone.

The third pillar of our thinking was that the purpose of our economy is not just to generate GDP. Prosperity mattersbut so do security and community. Indeed, that was the secret of getting out of the Great Depression: Keynesian demand management to drive growth; the extension of a sense and the reality of security through, well, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and, eventually, the adoption of employer-based benefits like health insurance; and the reconnection of disparate parts of the nation through investments like the Tennessee Valley Authority.

We need that sort of triadprosperity, security, and communityin what will amount to this generations version of economic catastrophe and New Deal response. That response needs to be altered to fit our times. Growth can no longer come at the cost of the environment. The safety netas is evident from this crisisneeds to be universal and not employer-based, especially given the changing nature of work. And while the New Deal excluded African Americans and other people of color from a range of protections, partly to secure the support of Southern Democrats, this time we must ensure that community means all of us.

We are facing an immediate need to think long-term. In the same way that we need to flatten the contagion curve by spreading out the impact of the coronavirus, we also need to flatten the economic curve, linking short-term interventions with longer-term programs that provide security for families and community, strengthen connections between people and places, and grow employment and the economy.

To do this, policy needs to be brought together under another three-part frame: Lift the bottom, grow the middle, and tame the top.

For lifting the bottom, we need to provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable among us, while using those interventions to build support for longer-term solutions. In the field of health, for example, we need now to provide a guarantee that everyone, regardless of income, availability of insurance, or immigration status, will be fully covered for the costs of testing and treatment for COVID-19, while using this to build the case for universal health insurance. We need targeted interventions for those most vulnerablepeople with disabilities, seniors, those with chronic illness, the poor, the homeless, and those incarceratedto build back the social safety net ravaged by Democrats and Republicans alike. Moreover, we should devise programs that include the undocumented and stress the public-health risks that have resulted from a broken immigration system that forces so many families away from needed services and into the shadows.

We should also now be providing paid sick days for everyone, including home health care providers, food-chain workers, and delivery drivers, who are providing essential services in our crisis, and are also highly vulnerable to being infected and further spreading the virus. But we should just as urgently stress that paid sick days and paid family leave be made permanent. Cash payments now are critical for people in need, as leaders across the political spectrum apparently realize. But rather than one- or two-time payments, we can and should guarantee a minimum basic income to all in need through the end of the economic crisis. That, in turn, can help us better understand the long-term benefits of some form of universal-income guarantee. Housing for the homeless, eviction moratoriums, and rent freezes are also needed now and can become the basis longer-term for much-needed rent stabilization and social-housing policies.

We need to think, too, about all parts of the working classfor example, those who work in what we call the caring economy. The coronavirus has made clear that those caregivers taking care of the most vulnerable are some of the most vulnerable themselves. What if we recognized and invested in them, providing training and better access to telemedical care and advice, and raising professional standards and wages. Wed improve our health care provision, reduce our vulnerability to future disease outbreaks (including simply the seasonal flu), and grow middle-wage jobs.

Or what if we devoted serious attention to the potentials of remote education and lifelong learning? The coronavirus crisis has made clear how not to develop remote-education opportunities, throwing teachers and professors immediately into having to run classes online with few resources, training, or curriculum support. But if done properly, remote education can play a critical role in making lifelong learning accessible to working people. As a percentage of GDP, we spend the lowest on adult workforce education out of all but two OECD countriesMexico and Chile. Most European countries spend two to five times as much as we do; Denmark spends nearly ten times as much. Investing resources here could both help our immediate education crisis and expand our middle class long-term.

Finally, we also need to tame the top. In the short term, that means ensuring that any public benefits to major corporations are conditioned on their maintaining employment levels; these should be in the form of loans, not grants, and should eliminate buybacks as an option for any company receiving assistance. A repeat of the financial crisis bailout is neither viable not desirable. Any stimulus legislation needs to prioritize employees, not profitsnot just now but in the long run.

Taming the top also means ensuring that the American public actually benefits from our nearly $700 million collective investment in coronavirus research that constitutes the basic science for developing a vaccineand that the results of such research be guided by policies of global solidarity and public health, rather than narrow nationalism and profiteering, which are already beginning to raise their ugly heads. In the longer term, it means restoring reasonable tax rates for our top-income earners, which were at 70 percent at the height of American prosperity in the 1950s and have now dropped so low that the top 400 income earners pay a lower tax rate than anyone else.

Ultimately, what a solidarity economics framework reminds us is that caring for others is not just the morally right thing to do. It both reflects our better angels and provides better outcomes for society at large. Whats true in a crisis is also true in the long haul: A deep commitment to mutuality and the common good is the right thing to do for both public and economic health.

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Solidarity Economicsfor the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond - The American Prospect

We face a war against coronavirus and must mobilise accordingly | Free to read – Financial Times

This article is part ofa series in which leading commentators and policymakers give their views on alleviating the devastating global slowdown

The writer is a former president of the European Central Bank

The coronavirus pandemic is a human tragedy of potentially biblical proportions. Many today are living in fear of their lives or mourning their loved ones. The actions being taken by governments to prevent our health systems from being overwhelmed are brave and necessary. They must be supported.

But those actions also come with a huge and unavoidable economic cost. While many face a loss of life, a great many more face a loss of livelihood. Day by day, the economic news is worsening.Companies face a loss of income across the whole economy. A great many are already downsizing and laying off workers. A deep recession is inevitable.

The challenge we face is how to act with sufficient strength and speed to prevent the recession from morphing into a prolonged depression, made deeper by aplethora of defaults leaving irreversible damage. It is already clear that the answer must involve a significant increase in public debt. The loss of income incurred by the private sector and any debt raised to fill the gap must eventually be absorbed, wholly or in part, on to government balance sheets. Much higher public debt levels will become a permanent feature of our economies and will be accompanied by private debt cancellation.

It is the proper role of the state to deploy its balance sheet to protect citizens and the economy against shocks that the private sector is not responsible for and cannot absorb. States have always done so in the face of national emergencies. Wars the most relevant precedent were financed by increases in public debt. During the first world war, in Italy and Germany between 6 and 15 per cent of war spending in real terms was financed from taxes. In Austria-Hungary, Russia and France, none of thecontinuing costs of the war were paid out of taxes. Everywhere, the tax base was eroded by war damage and conscription. Today, it is by the pandemics human distress and the shutdown.

The key question is not whether but how the state should put its balance sheet to good use. The priority must not only be providing basic income for those who lose their jobs. We must protect people from losing their jobs in the first place. If we do not, we will emerge from this crisis with permanently lower employment and capacity, as families andcompanies struggle to repair their balance sheets and rebuild net assets.

Employment and unemployment subsidies and the postponement of taxes are important steps that have already been introduced by many governments. But protecting employment and productive capacity at a time of dramatic income loss requires immediate liquidity support. This is essential for allbusinesses to cover their operating expenses during the crisis, be they large corporations or even more so small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed entrepreneurs. Several governments have already introduced welcome measures to channel liquidity to struggling businesses. But a more comprehensive approach is needed.

While different European countries havevarying financial and industrial structures, the only effective way to reach immediately into every crack of the economy is to fully mobilise their entire financial systems: bond markets, mostly for large corporates, banking systems and in some countries even the postal system for everybody else. And it has to be done immediately, avoiding bureaucratic delays. Banks in particular extend across the entire economy and can create money instantly by allowing overdrafts or opening credit facilities.

Banks must rapidly lend funds at zero cost tocompanies prepared to save jobs. Since in this way they are becoming a vehicle for public policy, the capital they need to perform this task must be provided by the government in the form of state guarantees on all additional overdrafts or loans. Neither regulation nor collateral rules should stand in the way of creating all the space needed in bank balance sheets for this purpose. Furthermore, the cost of these guarantees should not be based on the credit risk of thecompany that receives them, but should be zero regardless of the cost of funding of the government that issues them.

Companies, however, will not draw on liquidity support simply because credit is cheap. In some cases, for examplebusinesses with an order backlog, their losses may be recoverable and then they will repay debt. In other sectors, this will probably not be the case.

Suchcompanies may still be able to absorb this crisis for a short period of time and raise debt to keep their staff in work. But their accumulated losses risk impairing their ability to invest afterwards. And, were the virus outbreak and associated lockdowns to last, they could realistically remain in business only if the debt raised to keep people employed during that time were eventually cancelled.

Either governments compensate borrowers for their expenses, or those borrowers will fail and the guarantee will be made good by the government. If moral hazard can be contained, the former is better for the economy. The second route is likely to be less costly for the budget. Both cases will lead to governments absorbing a large share of the income loss caused by the shutdown, if jobs and capacity are to be protected.

Public debt levels will have increased. But the alternative a permanent destruction of productive capacity and therefore of the fiscal base would be much more damaging to the economy and eventually to government credit. We must also remember that given the present andprobable future levels of interest rates, such an increase in government debt will not add to its servicing costs.

In some respects, Europe is well equipped to deal with this extraordinary shock. It has a granular financial structure able to channel funds to every part of the economy that needs it. It has a strong public sector able to co-ordinate a rapid policy response. Speed is absolutely essential for effectiveness.

Faced with unforeseen circumstances, a change of mindset is as necessary in thiscrisis as it would be in times of war. The shock we are facing is not cyclical. The loss of income is not the fault of any of those who suffer from it. The cost of hesitation may be irreversible. The memory of the sufferings of Europeans in the 1920s is enough of a cautionary tale.

The speed of the deterioration of private balance sheets caused by an economic shutdown that is both inevitable and desirable must be met by equal speed in deploying government balance sheets, mobilising banks and, as Europeans, supporting each other in the pursuit of what is evidently a common cause.

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We face a war against coronavirus and must mobilise accordingly | Free to read - Financial Times

Lockdown to fight coronavirus is going to hit most Indian workers very hard – Livemint

With at least 250 million Indians going into lockdown from Monday morning, one question looms large - what will precariously placed workers do?

The share of those in India with precarious jobs is far higher than is commonly believed to be the case. According to the most recent labour statistics, 25 percent of rural households and 12 percent of urban households rely on casual labour as their main source of income. Casual labour was defined as a person who was engaged not in a fixed, but in a casual manner in another person's enterprise and, in return, was paid daily or periodically.

But this doesnt mean that other jobs are stable. Over 40% of those in urban areas are now in regular" or salaried jobs but these do not necessarily come with job security. Over 70 per cent of salaried employees in the non-agricultural sector had no written contracts, and over half were not eligible for paid leave. The share of workers not eligible for paid leave has grown steadily over the last 15 years, from a minority at 46% in 2004-05 to being the norm now. Nearly half of salaried workers in non-agricultural jobs are not entitled to any social security benefits including health care.

Self-employed work too is not the sort of entrepreneurial businesses that the term tends to conjure. Most of the self-employed in urban areas are solo workers who work 55-56 hours a week and make around 14,000 per month

Would the impact of the janata curfew" on March 22 have been blunted by the fact that it was a Sunday? For the average Indian worker, Sunday is just another day. Most workers across different forms of employment work nearly seven days a week on average.

Nor is there much in the bank to rely on as a buffer. The median rural family had under 4 lakh in total assets, while the median urban family had under 6 lakh in total assets, including all their household possessions.

Shocks can easily push vulnerable people into poverty, and in the absence of education, physical and social capital, people from marginalised communities including Dalits and Adivasis, are particularly in danger of falling into poverty.

What then can the government do to mitigate the impact of lost wages for a workforce that largely counts on its day-to-day earnings? The International Labour Organisation (ILO) recommends extending social protection and supporting employment retention to protect against job losses and worker hardship during the pandemic.

But for those who do lose wages, the most widely suggested solution currently is an income transfer, something that is being discussed even in developed countries hard hit by COVID-19-imposed lockdowns. The most recent National Sample Survey on consumption expenditure (not released by the government) found that the average monthly per capita expenditure in urban areas was a little under 4,000. In the 2016-2017 Economic Survey, then Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian authored a chapter outlining what a Universal Basic Income could look like. At 12,000 per month, it would wipe out poverty (based on older 2011-12) estimates, he suggested.

Yet, access to banking remains well short of universal, despite the Modi-era expansion. According to the World Banks Global Findex Database 2017 , while 80% of adults had a bank account in 2017, just 43% of them had made a withdrawal in the past year.

In-kind transfers would be another way to go, but reaching the poorest remains challenging. The Economic Survey noted that [a]n estimate of the exclusion error from 2011-12 suggests that

40 percent of the bottom 40 percent of the population are excluded from the [Public Distribution System]. The corresponding figure for 2011-12 for [the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme] was 65 percent". States that targeted less and universalised more had lower leakages and better success at reaching the poor.

India does not have to look far for a combination of targeted and universal, cash and kind assistance. Kerala and Uttar Pradesh have announced one months free rations, permission for advance drawing of welfare pensions and 1,000 in cash for those who are poor but do not receive pensions.

As a fifth of the country wakes up to life under lockdown, all states will need to draw up similar plans.

Rukmini S. is a Chennai-based journalist.

Continued here:

Lockdown to fight coronavirus is going to hit most Indian workers very hard - Livemint

Beware of a lopsided lockdown – The Hindu

I am willing to go hungry if there is no other way to stop this virus, but how will I explain that to my children? We heard these poignant words two days ago from Nemi Devi of Dumbi village in Latehar district, Jharkhand. Her son and husband, both migrant workers, are stranded far away. In village after village, many other women expressed similar worries. And that was even before the Prime Minister announced a drastic 21-day lockdown, from Wednesday.

The enormity of the coronavirus crisis is gradually dawning on India. For you and me, it is still in the future. But for many informal-sector workers and their families, the crisis is already in full swing: there is no work, and resources are running out. Things are all set to get worse as the privileged hoard with abandon and food prices go north.

Hopefully, the Central governments decision to impose a 21-day lockdown will prove right in due course. But the lockdown (a virtual curfew) is crying out for relief measures, including income support for poor families. As it happens, most of them already receive a limited form of income support: food rations under the Public Distribution System (PDS). Under the National Food Security Act, two-thirds of Indian families (75% and 50% in rural and urban areas, respectively) are covered. In most States, including the poorest, the PDS works not perfectly, but well enough to protect the bulk of the population from hunger.

The PDS is the countrys most important asset in this situation. It is essential to keep it going, even to expand it, in terms of both coverage and entitlements. Fortunately, India has gigantic excess food stocks. In fact, it has carried excess food stocks (more than twice the buffer-stock norms) for almost 20 years, and this is the time to use them. Nothing prevents the Central government from, say, doubling PDS rations for three or even six months as an emergency measure. That will not make up for most peoples loss of income, but it will ensure that there is food in the house at least.

Some bold steps are required to make food distribution effective. For instance, biometric authentication (fingerprint scanning) is best removed at this time it is a source of exclusion as well as a health hazard. Distribution needs to be staggered and tightly supervised, to avoid crowds and cheating at the ration shop. Dealers who are caught cheating must be swiftly punished. All this is well within the realm of possibility; the main thing is to release the stocks without delay.

Having said this, the PDS is not enough. For one thing, many poor people are still excluded from it. Large-scale cash transfers are also required, starting with advance payment of social security pensions and a big increase in pension amounts (the Central governments contribution has stagnated at a measly 200 per month since 2006). Here, one possible hurdle is the payment system. Many pensioners collect their pension from business correspondents (BCs) a kind of human automated teller machine (ATM), who dispenses money on behalf of the bank. The problem is, unlike ATMs, most BCs use biometric authentication rather than smart cards. And mass biometric authentication could accelerate the transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Ideally, biometric authentication should be abandoned for now. Even if it is not, many BCs may vanish for fear of infection (most of them are poorly-paid employees of poorly-regulated private entities). Under both scenarios, something has to be done to ensure safe crowd management at the bank. New payment arrangements are also possible. For instance, social security pensions could be paid in cash at the panchayat bhavan on a given day of the month, obviating the need for everyone to go to the bank: this has been done in Odisha for years, with good results. Cash could also be disbursed, with due safeguards, through anganwadis or self-help groups. Cash transfers need not be limited to social security pensions. Revamping the PDS and social security pensions would go a long way, but a significant proportion of vulnerable families are likely to fall through the cracks. Further, food rations may prevent hunger but people have many other basic needs; they will need money to cope with this spell of unemployment.

Coronavirus | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

There are several possible ways of extending the reach of cash transfers beyond pensions. For instance, money could be sent to the accounts of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act job-card holders, or Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) beneficiaries, or PDS cardholders. How these lists are best used and combined is a context-specific question, perhaps best handled at the State level (my sense is that in many States, the MGNREGA job-cards list is the best starting point).

Coronavirus | Pandemic fallout revives talk of universal basic income

These are just some examples of possible emergency measures. Many other valuable suggestions have been made, relating for instance to midday meals, community kitchens and relief camps for stranded migrant workers. The first step is to make relief measures an integral part of the lockdown plan. Failing that, it may do more harm than good. For one thing, a hungry and enfeebled population is unlikely to fight the virus effectively. A constructive lockdown should empower people to fight back together, not treat them like sheep.

Finally, Centre-State cooperation is essential. Many State governments have already initiated valuable social-security measures, but they are far from adequate. The Central government, for its part, has been struck with inexplicable paralysis on this. Adequate relief measures require big money (lakhs of crores of rupees) from the Central government. Implementation, however, should be led by the States. They all have their own circumstances and methods. The Central government is unlikely to do better on their behalf. If it foots the bill, that will be a good start.

Jean Drze is Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University

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Beware of a lopsided lockdown - The Hindu

Life, Liberty, and Basic Income | Opinion – Harvard Crimson

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Founding Fathers penned these words in the Declaration of Independence and laid forth a vision of what America could be. There is hope in these words hope for a world in which all people have their basic needs met, have the freedom to make their own choices, and have the opportunity to pursue a meaningful life in their own way. We have not yet met this vision, but I believe that we have both the ability to achieve it and a moral obligation to do so. We need universal basic income in order to guarantee these rights to all Americans.

UBI advocate Scott Santens has noted that Poverty is a legal status Poverty is being legally excluded from having sufficient access to resources to exist. The existence of poverty is an unnatural violation of peoples right to life. It should not exist and it does not have to. In the United States today there is enough food for people to eat and there are enough beds for people to sleep in. The issue is that basic needs like these cost money. Survival costs money. As a society, we have decided that those without money should not survive but we can change that. We have a moral duty to change that. Not only do humans deserve, as a right, the basic necessities of survival, but furthermore, nobody has the right to come between a person and what they need to survive. A universal basic income can eliminate poverty entirely by giving people the ability to acquire their basic necessities and ensure the right to life for all Americans.

But survival is not enough; someone in prison has their basic needs taken care of, but that life is not enviable. People also have a right to liberty, defined here as freedom from coercion. In other words, it is the ability to say no. The choice between work and starvation is not a choice at all. That is not freedom. We have decided to structure our society such that most people have no choice but to sell their labor in order to survive. When a persons life rests in the hands of their employer, they are not free. While we have many protections for workers, we have not abolished this one-sided relationship and the unjust coercive power that comes with it. UBI liberates people from financial dependence on others in every kind of relationship: freedom from exploitative work, abusive partners, and more. Critics of UBI claim that it would reduce peoples desire to work, but that very criticism reveals that much opposition to UBI comes from those who stand to lose their coercive power over others. If someone would quit a job once their basic needs were met, they were only working that job to meet their basic needs to survive. Therefore, they were coerced into the job by the threat of poverty and did not take the job by their own free will. UBI gives people the chance to be truly free.

What will people do with their newfound freedom? Anything they want. Many people will keep their jobs; people often enjoy the structure, community, purpose, or extra income that comes with a job. Some, once they receive the financial security of UBI, will still work, but will quit their second or third job or limit their hours in order to do more of whatever they enjoy. Others will stop working entirely because those jobs are dangerous, exploitative, or otherwise unpleasant, as they should have the right to do. This reduction of work should be celebrated; our society can function perfectly well without much of the work that people are forced into today. Many people will then have more time to pursue the activities they find most meaningful. UBI recipients will spend more time with their kids and families. They will care for elderly and sick relatives. They will volunteer and start businesses. They will become artists and writers, journalists and students, dreamers and doers. We waste untold potential and systematically crush the human spirit because we force people into needless drudgery just to stay alive. We deny an integral part of the human experience by denying people the chance to create, to explore, and to pursue happiness.

Critics have disparaged UBI as free money or a gimmick. What they fail to realize is that money is not the point of UBI. Money is a means to an end: freedom. Freedom from poverty, freedom from coercion, and freedom to strive for self-actualization. Basic income is not charity or welfare. It is a right. We have both the ability and the obligation to end poverty, ensure liberty, and give every American the chance to find their own version of success. We can finally live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and secure these natural rights. There is no reason to wait. The time for universal basic income is now.

Matthew B. Gilbert 21 is a Computer Science concentrator in Adams House. His column appears on alternate Thursdays.

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Life, Liberty, and Basic Income | Opinion - Harvard Crimson

Eliminating Child Poverty With a Government Check – The New York Times

INVISIBLE AMERICANS The Tragic Cost of Child PovertyBy Jeff Madrick

Its a paradox of American childhood poverty that experts routinely devise the most complex solutions for it or in recent parlance innovations most of which are elaborate, costly or otherwise impractical to implement.

Jeff Madrick is an exception to this rule. In his new book, Invisible Americans: The Tragic Cost of Child Poverty, he argues for a solution for children so simple that even a child could understand it: Give poor families money for their kids. In clear, spare prose, he lays out a proposal for something akin to a basic income guarantee for parents of children under 18. Poor children have many requirements, but above all they need money, he writes. He returns to this point repeatedly: Child poverty is too punishing and harmful to wait years for results especially when cash distributions can help today.

Madricks idea is essentially a subset of universal basic income, a concept championed by an increasing number of prominent Americans from the presidential candidate Andrew Yang to the conservative social scientist Charles Murray and the Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Madrick, a veteran journalist and economic analyst, imagines a government-funded allowance to families that would equal $4,000 to $5,000 per child each year. Every family with children would get some money, which would avoid the problem of only offering the stipend to the guardians of poor youth. After all, there are millions of near poor and struggling middle-class families as well, trying to pay for their kids out of stagnant incomes. (According to current guidelines, a family of four living on $25,750 or less qualifies as poor; realistically, Madrick argues, the number should be closer to $50,000.) In addition, he would have the allowance ladled out according to a principle of non-paternalism; in other words, it would be unconditional, like love.

If you are now crying Lets do it! consider this caveat: Naysayers would be legion. Theyd range from bootstrappers who insist a monthly dividend would discourage even decent people from working to those who harbor a more realistic fear that corporations would exploit a governmental allowance for children so they could continue to underpay employees who are parents. Madrick concedes these points, writing, Direct cash aid is denigrated by both the left and the right as a waste and inducement to laziness and abuse.

Nevertheless, the staggering number of American children who are destitute 17.5 percent and the even larger fraction who are near poor, should induce us to stop squabbling and to see the issue as a moral tragedy demanding a direct response.

With welcome brevity, Invisible Americans stitches together much of what the lay reader needs to know about American child poverty. It offers a mini-history of organizing and social programs, and of punitive attitudes toward the poor. This last includes moralizing about mothers needing more discipline and blaming a culture of poverty rather than structural failures. Madrick also throws shade on our bipartisan obsession with refunding the taxes of our poorer citizens rather than just giving them and their families money. The earned-income tax credit, he rightfully gripes, has been mostly designed to get poor parents to work.

Reading Invisible Americans, I did sometimes want to get closer to the inner and outer lives of Americas poorest families. While Madrick briefly sprinkles in a few tales of individual penury, several marked by their subjects shame and lingering physical pain of one adult who was raised too poor to afford dentistry, he writes, His mouth still hurts we dont get to know any of these people well.

But Madrick does not aspire to narrative journalism here. He is more interested in informed indignation. The reason for his outrage is clear: Ending childhood destitution was a political centerpiece of the Great Society, yet now it is rarely mentioned, especially by politicians. If our leaders absorbed this books urgent call, perhaps they would discuss poverty and act to ease it once again.

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Eliminating Child Poverty With a Government Check - The New York Times

Andrew Yang Expects ‘Many’ of His Supporters to Back Sanders in Iowa: We ‘Have a Lot of Overlap’ – Newsweek

Andrew Yang told an Iowa roundtable of reporters Wednesday that he would not be surprised if his supporters went over to Senator Bernie Sanders' camp during the Iowa caucus.

While a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday showed Senator Sanders in a virtual tie with former Vice President Joe Biden, with 21 and 23 percent respectively, Yang only garnered 3 percent of the poll.

"I think that Bernie and I do have a lot of overlap in support so it wouldn't be surprising to me if many of our supporters head in that direction," Yang said.

"I frankly think I'd have a hard time getting them to do anything that they're not naturally inclined to do," Yang said of his supporters. "I think most people are going to show up on Caucus Night with a few top choices in mind and I imagine if I'm not viable at their caucus that they know exactly who they're going to go to."

Iowa's caucus is structured in such a way that candidates must receive 15 percent of the vote. Any candidate who does not hit that benchmark must throw their support to a candidate who did receive at least 15 percent of the vote or align themselves with a non-viable candidate in order to boost that candidate's final ranking.

Yang said that the campaigns of other presidential candidates have asked him for his support.

"I think some campaigns have reached out to our team," Yang said. "My team will sort out what the heck is being conveyed."

Newsweek reached out to Yang's campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Like Sanders, Yang's campaign platform presents some progressive policies. Yang is a proponent of Medicare for All and an aggressive stance on combating climate change.

Sanders has been critical of Yang's proposal of a universal basic income which would give every American adult $1,000 per month. Yang's basic universal income would allegedly be paid for by the implementation of a value added tax of 10 percent. That tax would be levied on "the production of goods or services a business produces," according to Yang's website.

"We take a very different approach from Mr. Yang and that is I believe in a jobs guarantee," Sanders told The Hill in August 2019. "There is an enormous amount of work that has to be done all the way from child care to health care to education to rebuilding our infrastructure to combating climate change to dealing with our growing elderly population."

Part of Sanders' jobs guarantee would depend on the enactment of the Green New Deal, which would allegedly help rebuild the U.S. infrastructure and build a new energy system that would be 100 percent sustainable.

Yang's climate change plan calls for moving away from fossil fuels and creating a 100 percent emissions-free electric grid for the country by the year 2035. His proposals also aim for a methane recapture rate of 85 percent, the activation of new nuclear reactors and passing a "constitutional amendment that creates a duty on the federal and state governments to be stewards for the environment," said his website.

Continued here:

Andrew Yang Expects 'Many' of His Supporters to Back Sanders in Iowa: We 'Have a Lot of Overlap' - Newsweek

Find ways to improve the revenue of farmers: Congress – The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi government should implement a minimum income guarantee scheme to boost rural consumption, on the lines of what his party had promised before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and a national farm loan waiver to tackle rural distress, the Congress said on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference as part of the Congresss special series on the Union Budget, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan asked the union government to spell out its measures to double farm incomes by 2022.

Mr. Chavan demanded reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on agriculture inputs to less than 5% and said the government should announce measures like universal basic income to put more money in the hands of farmers and the poor so that their consumption increases.

The party demanded that petrol and diesel be brought under the GST regime. He said the Centre had earned over 13.5 lakh crore by way of taxes on petroleum products in the past five years.

We demand that the government should put more money in the hands of 95% of the poor who live in rural areas and help improve consumption through schemes like MNREGA. The government should also bring a universal basic income scheme to ensure that there is direct benefit to people and money should go into their accounts directly to help improve consumption levels, Mr. Chavan said.

The Congress leader also raised serious questions about the Centres procurement policy, minimum support price, functioning of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the crop insurance scheme. I want to give some figures. In 2019-20, the total amount disbursed as compensation to Kharif crops is 153 crore, while the premium collected by the insurance companies is to the tune of 25,853 crore, he said.

Mr. Chavan said that for the farmers income to double by 2022, the agriculture sector would have to see a compound growth rate of at least 12% annually, while it was only growing at 2.9%.

How will Indias dream of becoming a $5 trillion economy be accomplished, Mr. Chavan asked and asserted that Indias official data had now come under the global scanner for its credibility. There is a lot of jugglery of figures going on and, therefore, the credibility of India is being questioned, he alleged.

Mr. Chavan also said the Centre was in default when it came to paying the States share of taxes and claimed that the union government owes 15,000 crore to Maharashtra alone.

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Trump to let states overhaul Medicaid for the poor, seeking to change Obamacare without legislation – Washington Examiner

The Trump administration released guidelines Thursday for letting states accept a limited amount of money to cover poor people in exchange for flexibility in spending the funds.

The program, commonly known as a "block grant," is an approach long favored by conservatives for limiting spending on Medicaid, which pays for healthcare for poor and vulnerable people. Democrats, however, criticize the idea as stripping healthcare benefits from needy people.

Thursday's move is the latest example of Trump administration efforts to overhaul Obamacare after the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass legislation to do so in 2017.

Joe Grogan, director of the Domestic Policy Council, said in a phone call with reporters Thursday that Seema Verma, who runs the Medicaid program, had worked "vigorously" to change Medicaid absent of congressional action. The administration is framing the move as one that will "protect and strengthen" Medicaid.

The Trump administration is calling the program "Healthy Adult Opportunity," and it's expected to face legal hurdles. Under the current Medicaid structure, the federal government matches a majority of what states pay for Medicaid every year. The change proposed by the Trump administration would mean the federal government gives states a set amount of money each year instead.

The plan applies only to the Medicaid expansion population that gained coverage under Obamacare. Before Obamacare, states varied in who got Medicaid, but the program generally went toward pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Those groups still get Medicaid now, but the program added low-income people as well, who qualify if they make less than roughly $17,000 a year.

Conservative lawmakers have opposed the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid, saying that the program should pay for healthcare for the most vulnerable, and alleviate massively long wait lists in states for people with disabilities who are seeking housing and community care. Fourteen states have not expanded Medicaid, in part because of this philosophical difference, but also as a political stance to oppose former President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

States that participate in the program will need to regularly report back to the federal government to show how beneficiaries are doing. They would not be allowed to limit Medicaid enrollment but would have to stick to the Obamacare income rules.

Under the guidelines released Thursday, states would be allowed to exclude certain types of prescription drugs or ask patients to try cheaper versions before moving to more expensive ones, but they must continue to cover all drugs for mental health and HIV. The current Medicaid program requires that all drugs be covered, so the move would put Medicaid more in line with private health insurance practices.

Critics, including Democrats, say block grants amount to cuts to the program. They also have warned that states may incur costs that they don't expect, including if a high-cost drug hits the market or in the case of a natural disaster.

Todays announcement is the cruelest step yet by the Trump administration to slash American healthcare and dismantle basic safety net programs like Medicaid, said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat.

Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Alaska are among the states that have considered the block grant trade-off. States wouldn't be able to change right away but would need to apply for the program and then go through an approval process with the federal government. Once states get the funds, however, they wouldn't have to apply for as many changes when deciding how Medicaid dollars are spent.

Under the current structure, federal officials have a lot of say about how states spend Medicaid dollars since the federal government covers the majority of costs. State officials have complained that Medicaid is inflexible and doesn't allow them to meet the various needs of their residents. Every time officials want to make a change to the program, such as letting more people receive substance abuse treatment, they have to go through a long application process with the federal government.

States have complained that filing waivers is cumbersome, involving piles of paperwork and months of work with no guarantee of approval. It can involve top officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Management and Budget, as well as state officials and governors.

In the phone call with reporters Thursday, Verma said the administration's latest move was also intended to help Medicaid become more sustainable.

"Medicaid is the first or second budget item for states, crowding out other priorities such as transportation and education," Verma said.

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Trump to let states overhaul Medicaid for the poor, seeking to change Obamacare without legislation - Washington Examiner

P.E.I. groups say basic Income should not replace addictions, other supports – The Journal Pioneer


Two organizations that serve marginalized people said they support a basic income guarantee pilot in P.E.I. but said such a program should not replace existing supports for people facing addictions and mental health issues.

The leaders of the Native Council of P.E.I. and the Upper Room Hospitality Ministry offered their thoughts and recommendations on the possibility of a basic income guarantee to members of the legislative standing committee on poverty on Wednesday.

The committee is tasked with providing costed recommendations related to a basic income pilot on P.E.I.

Basic income is an experimental anti-poverty policy that would give a cash payment to all individuals who earn below a certain amount, regardless of whether they already have a job.

Lisa Cooper, president of the Native Council, and Matthew MacDonald, a policy analyst, offered recommendations related to off-reserve and non-status Indigenous people on P.E.I.

We are now the most impoverished, more impoverished than those that live on-reserve. And this is often forgotten in most programming, be it in P.E.I. and in Ottawa," Cooper told the committee.

"The funding doesn't seem to come to us."

MacDonald said individuals facing addictions and mental health issues would need additional supports if they received the basic income payments.

"Without proper supports in place like timely access to mental health and addictions support, such individuals, participants in the proposed project may be at risk of endangering their health with a new source of income," MacDonald said.

MacDonald said the specific barriers faced by off-reserve Indigenous people should be kept in mind.

He referred to a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision that found that the federal government had a duty to recognize the treaty rights of non-status people, or Indigenous people who may not be a registered member of a band.

Cooper and MacDonald recommended that a basic income pilot be offered to individuals within the age group of 18-64, that it consider people from diverse and marginalized backgrounds and that the model be a negative income tax model.

This means it would be offered to people who earn below a certain amount. Both also suggested community organizations be directly involved in recruiting for the pilot and offered the services of NCPEI for this purpose.

Mike MacDonald of the Upper Room Ministry also said a basic income program would benefit low-income individuals he sees every day.

The organization runs a soup kitchen that serves 12 meals a week, as well as a food bank.

But MacDonald also cautioned against looking at basic income as a replacement for other social services, such as mental health and addictions counselling, housing supports and education programming.

Basic income is not the only answer, but its certainly part of the answer, MacDonald said.

MacDonald said he believes such a program should be offered for people living in poverty throughout P.E.I.

He said having a cash payment that would help people take care of their food and shelter needs would relieve a lot of stress.

MacDonald said his organization tends to offer support to many individuals within the age range of 18-64, but also said some as young as 15 are also fed.

He said he has noticed an increase in recent immigrants accessing services and said this group accounts for about 15 per cent of his clients.

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P.E.I. groups say basic Income should not replace addictions, other supports - The Journal Pioneer

5 Psychological Forces That Turn People into Political Hacks | Aaron Pomerantz – Foundation for Economic Education

Theres really no denying that we are in a time of deep political division. With everything from the impeachment proceedings to a contentious election cycle that began as soon as the midterms ended, it seems we may have indeed become the divided republic the American founders feared. Though there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future, there are key psychological forces affecting our political discourse and decision-making that, if not addressed, guarantee our political system will not improve.

Tempting as it might be to just blame politicians and pundits in DC for the rise in tribalism, the truth is that these psychological forces affect us all, regardless of age or background. If we truly want to see change, we must examine how each of us is affected by these forces and learn to break free of them. The consequences of doing so will be far-reaching and impactful.

The old adage that two heads are better than one is generally true. However, in groups where unity and conformity are valued above optimal decision-making, groupthink may occur.

Groupthink is when individual critical thinking, personal beliefs, and ideologies are abandoned in favor of whatever the group believes is the best idea. Any doubts or questions about the decision-making process are ignored or quashed in favor of the groups survival. This is especially true when the group making the decision feels threatened by an extreme us vs. them situation, something clearly experienced by both parties in the current political climate. Decisions made under such circumstances are often disastrous.

Closely related to the phenomenon of groupthink is group polarization. Groups are something of a gestalt entity in that they are often greater than the sum of their parts. Being part of a group can intensify our attitudes and beliefs in a phenomenon known as risky shift. The group discussion feeds into itself, and we become more extreme and polarized.

Both groupthink and group polarization are commonplace problems in todays political society. Both sides of the political spectrum have become less and less tolerant of dissent, and both are being pushed further toward extreme beliefs.

We must overcome the dangers of groupthink and group polarization by valuing principle over conformity.

We see this on the left, where even supposed moderate candidates like Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg support extreme positions on gun control, environmental policy, and health care reform. We see it on the right as free-market and small-government values give way to economic protectionism and the expansion of federal power. In both cases, these attitudes can be observed to not only affect the politicians who make decisions but also their constituents.

Now, conformity is not an inherently bad thing. We all conform to questionable family traditions over the holidays for the sake of peace. However, while ugly Christmas sweaters are harmless fun for those who enjoy them (personally, I dont get it), this isnt the same as sacrificing our individuality to the whims of a political group.

Both groupthink and group polarization can be alleviated by devils advocates and their assertion of individual beliefs and opinions. If we want to break free from political tribalism, we must overcome the dangers of groupthink and group polarization by valuing principle over conformity and by not being afraid to speak outeven if it threatens the unity of our political groups.

One of the most unique features of the American political experiment is that our founding documents explicitly lay out the belief that all people are created equal, each possessing intrinsic and inherent value, worth, and dignity. Political discourse over the last decade, however, has largely operated contrary to this ideal. Both sides of the aisle lament this loss of civility in politics, and theyre both right.

Political rhetoric and behavior have served to dehumanize our opponents on all sides of the political spectrum. Phrases like trumpkin and libtard all dominate the political discussion. Even words like fascist and socialist have been divorced from their original political and economic meanings, instead becoming labels to affix to our opponents to justify treating them however we want. We behave as if simply holding the wrong political opinion makes one less worthy of the respect and dignity due to all human beings.

Nobody wants to sit down and have a discussion with someone who dehumanizes them.

Such dehumanization thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as our behaviors and attitudes toward other people can actually shape them to conform to our preconceived notions. By treating people like they are subhuman, we end up inspiring them to behave in just such a fashion. We thus perceive our initial dehumanization as justified even though we ourselves are part of the problem. This continues the vicious, self-supporting cycle that has dominated American politics over the last decade.

Ameliorating this problem is both simple and difficult. The golden rule is well known but rarely practiced, especially in an atmosphere as divisive as our political society. However, it is imperative that we do so not only for the moral purpose of respecting human dignity but also for the practical purpose of allowing actual political discourse and decision-making. Nobody wants to sit down and have a discussion with someone who dehumanizes them.

This is not to say that we cannot and should not disagree with other viewpoints and ideas. However, we must do so in a way that attacks the ideas, not the people, and recognizes the truth of innate human dignity. We should resolve to follow the golden rule even when it is difficult (as it surely will be) and refrain from dehumanizing our political opponents.

Heuristics are mental shortcuts that we use in everyday life to conserve our cognitive resources. Ordinarily, heuristics are adaptive, positive strategies; we simply dont have the time or resources to actively think through daily habits like driving home from work or how to behave in a meeting. When overused or misapplied, however, heuristic thinking can be disastrous, especially in terms of political decision-making and discourse.

One powerful example of heuristic thinking gone wrong in politics is the availability heuristic, where we judge the prevalence of a phenomenon based on how easily we can call it to mind, regardless of whether our mental representation reflects reality. For instance, both violence and crime are at an all-time low and decreasing. The world is getting better.

However, if you look at political rhetoric and decision-making, you wouldnt think this was the case. Because we can easily call to mind examples of mass violence or dangerous criminals, we think these are commonplace occurrences even though they are not. The result has been that we encounter and treat others not as individuals but as mere representations of abstract stereotypes that are unlikely to reflect reality.Thus, we might make decisions divorced from reality. In politics, these decisions become uselessor even dangerouslegislation, from the zero tolerance criminal justice policies pushed by Attorney General Barr, to potentially disastrous red flag legislation.

Another example of maladaptive heuristic thinking is the representativeness heuristic, where we judge people based on how well they conform to our mental representations of stereotypes. This can be seen in the recent generation wars between millennials and baby boomers, exemplified in both the Ok, Boomer craze and categorizing all millennials as snowflakes.

The same principle can be seen in how we treat the abstract notions of Trump supporters or liberals, to say nothing of ethnic stereotypes. The result has been that we encounter and treat others not as individuals but as mere representations of abstract stereotypes that are unlikely to reflect reality.

Heuristic thinking is good for small, everyday decisions. However, when it comes to politics or people, it utterly divorces us from reality. To make our political society better, we must all engage with those around us in an honest, effortful, and appraising way, not simply continue relying on mental shortcuts.

Any decision we make involves what are known as construal levels. Construal levels refer to the psychological distance between us and the concepts in play, with distant concepts thought of abstractly and idealistically (the high construal level) and close concepts thought of concretely and practically (the low construal level). While the high construal level can be helpful for coming up with an idea or setting a goal, the low construal level is equally necessary for making and implementing any sort of decision.

Modern political discourse and decision-making are entirely wrapped up in the high construal level. The border wall? Mexico will pay for it! Dont ask how that will happen or why it hasnt already. The trade war? That will help us beat China, although what it means to beat China has never really been defined, and weve already begun to see the negative consequences of protectionist economic policy. Free health care and universal basic income for all? Well figure it out when we get there, even if these ideas are economically impossible.

Its all well and good to discuss abstractions, but without a plan to realize them, nothing will be accomplished.

However, the best example might be the Green New Deal, which contained not a single shred of practical considerations for its implementation and exemplifies high construal level thinking without any consideration of practicality.

Again, the solution to such problems is both simple and difficult. In such an idealism-driven political society, we dismiss naysayers who question the practical implications of political plans. However, in all political discourse and decision-making, we must consider both construal levels. Its necessary to consider high construal level ideas when setting goals. Even the lauded idea of small government is a high construal level goal since it is incredibly distant from our current reality.

However, without a willingness to think on the low construal levelto think about the practicality and feasibility of plans and goals, including what might potentially go wrongno good decision can be made. Its all well and good to discuss abstractions, but without a plan to realize them, nothing will be accomplished. We must not only think about high construal level ideals but also low construal level realities, and we must demand that our government and representatives do the same.

Psychological reactance is what occurs when we are told we cannot do a thing and, resentful of a perceived threat to our freedom, proceed to do precisely what we were warned against. As with the aforementioned phenomena, reactance is widely observable across the political spectrum.

When we are told that perhaps mocking and attacking children is inappropriate behavior (especially from adults in positions of social or political power), the immediate response is to simply double-down and attack them harder, be it Greta Thunberg or Barron Trump.

When words like retard are condemned for being insensitive toward the disabled, the immediate reaction is to protest in the name of freedom of speech, disregarding the fact that just because you can say something doesnt mean you should. We must instead focus on furthering and defending our own beliefs and values in a measured and principle-driven way.When protesters bring up the systematic problems of police brutality, the response isnt to thoughtfully consider these issues but rather to celebrate the police as an institution even more unreservedly and even threaten those who protest them.

Of course, when our actual freedoms are threatened, there is nothing wrong with defending them. Indeed, it is right and necessary that we do so. But when we base our entire political personas on triggering the other side, it is neither conducive to discourse nor likely to produce any sort of change.

Rather than basing our political identities on ideas and values, we instead become pure reactionaries and often break the laws of good taste (to say nothing of the golden rule). Rather than basing our political discourse and decision-making on pure reactance to our opposition, we must instead focus on furthering and defending our own beliefs and values in a measured and principle-driven way.

Breaking free from political tribalism does not have a top-down solution. We cannot change the behavior of the big people in Washington, DC, nor can we change the behavior of others around us.

However, we can resolve to change our own political attitudes and behaviors. All we can do is choose to work against the psychological forces impeding our political discourse and decision-making. If we choose to do so, the effects will not be confined to ourselves alone but will also have far-reaching effects all the way to the top.

We have a choice before us: to continue the patterns of thought and behavior that have brought us to such a contentious political situation or to make a change. After all, in a representative government like ours, it is not ultimately up to politicians or pundits but to we the people to, and please pardon the truism, be the change we want to see in the world.

After all, the most basic level of society is the individual, and if we can practice individual self-governance, these changes will have a greater impact than any one of us could imagine. If we truly want to address the deep political divisions, partisanship, and tribalism, that sort of fix must begin with ourselves.

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5 Psychological Forces That Turn People into Political Hacks | Aaron Pomerantz - Foundation for Economic Education

WAYNE YOUNG: Island voices must be heard – The Guardian

Their voices ring like a call to action throughout the 24-page Vital Signs report, a thoughtprovoking reflection of how Islanders view their quality of life in 2019.

Overall, we measure up pretty well but through expert commentary, relevant data and most of all voices of Islanders, the report makes it clear theres still plenty of room for improvement. Voices like an anonymous participant in one of an Island-wide series of focus groups last summer who said diversity should be embraced and promoted.

While there is richness in the differing opinions, ideas and experiences that come with immigration and diversity, however, the participant said more still has to be done.

we need to fight fear, racism and bigotry with facts.

On the issue of poverty, an East Prince participant observed quality of life is based on more than income.

I tell my kids we are rich in love. Not everything is monetary value.

To fight poverty, the report offered possible solutions, among them, a basic income guarantee or livable wage, a fairer tax structure for lowincome Islanders and tying housing costs to income. Whats not needed is more study, said a Central Queens participant.

Weve been studying it to death and nothings happened.

The focus groups had plenty to say about housing. Clearly, some seniors are struggling.

Seniors cant leave their homes because theres nowhere to go, one participant said. They also cant leave hospitals because theres nowhere to go.

Again, there was no shortage of possible solutions, from intergenerational housing for seniors and students to more cooperative housing and publicprivate partnerships with more rental units geared to peoples income.

Under the theme Belonging and Leadership, some see a lack of meaningful input and participation into the planning process.

There are too many smart people with little sense who have never lived in rural P.E.I. making decisions, a participant from Eastern Kings suggested.

The perception of a widening rift between city and country, especially among rural Islanders, was addressed in a commentary by UPEI history professor Ed MacDonald. Although farm population continues to decline (3.1 per cent in 2016 compared to 63 per cent in 1931), he said it is agriculture that maintains the patchwork quilt that is intrinsic to Islanders quality of life.

And, he said, if the perception of two islands where there was once one cannot be bridged perception will become reality.

Health and well-being, of course, was a major issue addressed in all focus groups. Many participants called for a more collaborative approach to health care among government, practitioners and community, and to address the root causes of many health issues, like poverty and food insecurity, low educational levels, loneliness and lack of public transportation.

Money is nothing if you dont have health, an East Prince participant observed.

The Vital Signs report, a collaboration between the Community Foundation of P.E.I. and UPEIs Institute of Island Studies, offers a timely measure of Islanders wellness and quality of life.

Legislators would be well advised to carefully review the voices of those quoted in the report and to factor their observations into future decisions.

Voices like theirs should be at the forefront of the policy making process.

Wayne Young is a freelance writer living in Summerside.

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WAYNE YOUNG: Island voices must be heard - The Guardian

The Guardian view on Finlands new PM: a different type of leadership – The Guardian

The worlds happiest country, according to an international survey two years in a row, is now one of very few to have a female leader. Finlands Sanna Marin, who is 34, will become the youngest serving prime minister when she is sworn in later this week. In setting this record, the Social Democrat follows in the footsteps of another young, progressive PM New Zealands Jacinda Ardern, who was 37 when her Labour party won the 2017 election, and the first woman to give birth in office since Pakistans Benazir Bhutto (the male, 35-year-old prime minister of Ukraine, Oleksiy Honcharuk, was the worlds youngest PM for three months in between).

Finland, which was the first country in Europe to grant women the vote in 1906, is often regarded by those on the left as something akin to utopia or at least a shining example of what a big-spending, socially liberal government can achieve. Its well-funded universal education system is among the most successful in the world. Between 2017 and 2019 it ran one of the first trials of universal basic income. This summer a new left-leaning government pledged to make Finland carbon neutral by 2035 a target accurately described by Finnish Greens as probably the most ambitious in the world.

The four other parties in the new coalition are all headed by women, three of them in their 30s. New Zealand has more than 40% women in its House of Representatives (compared with 32% in the UKs last parliament). But should we make connections between the personal characteristics of a countrys leaders and its political culture as a whole? Is it a coincidence that these two nations, often viewed as progressive beacons, both have women in charge (while Ms Marin will become Finlands third female prime minister, Ms Ardern is New Zealands third)?

A female leader is certainly no guarantee that a country, or a party, has a progressive outlook. The UKs two female prime ministers have been Conservatives. Angela Merkel is a Christian Democrat. The French far right is led by Marine Le Pen. Neither are female voters or politicians necessarily any more liberal, social democratic or environmentalist than men. While Ukip and the Brexit party have never been as popular with UK women as they are with men, national populist parties in continental Europe do not have the same problem, and 53% of white women in the US voted for President Trump.

But at a time when the political life of so many nations (Brazil, India, Hungary) is being reshaped by leaders in a strongman mould, Finland and New Zealand are reminders that there are alternatives. Academic evidence on the impact of more diverse representation shows that previously marginalised groups do gain as a result of an increased focus on policies to advance their interests. Far from feeling hamstrung by her reliance on coalition partners, Ms Ardern told the Guardian that building consensus is an aspect of her job that she enjoys. To suggest that all female politicians are more adept at this style of working would be to stereotype. But just as Greta Thunbergs leadership has given new energy to the climate movement, it is heartening to see a new generation of women in government to address some of the many challenges that we all face.

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The Guardian view on Finlands new PM: a different type of leadership - The Guardian

Basic Income as 40 Acres and a Mule – Basic Income News

This whole program is voluntaryThe men dont have toif they dont want to. But we need you to starve them to death if they dont.

Milo Minderbinder, Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Basic Income does something virtually no other policy in the modern economy can do: it protects your status as a free person.

What does it mean to be a free person? Consider an answer given by someone who experienced chattel slavery. Garrison Frazier was the spokesperson for a delegation of former slaves called freedmen (although many were women) who met with General Sherman on January 12, 1865, before the end of the U.S. Civil War.

Asked what he understood by slavery, Frazier replied, Slavery is, receiving by irresistible power the work of another man, and not by his consent.

He defined freedom as, taking us from under the yoke of bondage, and placing us where we could reap the fruit of our own labor [and] take care of ourselves.

Asked how best to secure their freedom, Frazier said, The way we can best take care of ourselves is to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor.

The story of what happened after the meeting has come to symbolize broken promises to African Americans, but it has much greater significance for everyone. Sherman distributed land seized from former slave owners to freedmen in a large area of the southeastern coast, sometimes along with surplus army mules. Rumors spread that all freedmen would receive 40 acres and a mule. Less than a year later, the Federal Government reversed Shermans order, restored the prewar property rights of former slaveholders, and forcibly evicted the freedmen, many of whom had to work for their former masters, taking the least desirable jobs and the lowest pay. Some descendants of slaves continue to serve the holders of those property rights to this day.

The significance of Fraziers request for land to secure his freedom is not that freedom requires the opportunity to become a subsistence farmer; it requires the freedom from indirectly forced labor. Frazier recognized that the legal self-ownership slaves were granted at the close of the war was not enough to make the fully free. It does not free an individual from the irresistible power to do the bidding of others. Individuals who are prevented from working for themselves alone (and not sufficiently compensated for being denied that option) are forced to work for someone who controls access to resources. Forced labor is unfreedom whether that force is direct or indirect.

The freedom from indirectly forced labor has been taken away from the vast majority of people in the world todaywhen governments forcibly took control of the resources of the Earth to give them to their most privileged citizens. These newly established property rights not only gave privileged citizens control over resources: it gave them control over people. People who had shared access to those resources for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years were now forced to provide services for the wealthy to maintain their most basic subsistence. Eliminating indirectly forced labor is not all there is to ensuring everyone is fully free, but its an essential step.

We have owed each other a Basic Income since we enclosed the commons, since we abducted the slaves, since we killed the Buffalo.

NOTE: this essay includes a long excerpt from Chapter 2 of my book, Freedom as the Power to Say No: Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income

40 acres and a mule

Karl Widerquist has written 969 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justicethe ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIENs news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such asNPRs On Point, NPRs Marketplace,PRIs the World,CNBC,Al-Jazeera,538,Vice,Dissent,the New York Times,Forbes,the Financial Times, andthe Atlantic Monthly, which called him a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.Widerquist holds two doctoratesone in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquists writing is available on his Selected Works website ( More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

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Basic Income as 40 Acres and a Mule - Basic Income News

‘Most Americans Don’t Want To Work for the Federal Government’ Says Andrew Yang, Trashing Federal Jobs Guarantee – Reason

Andrew Yang continues to clear the low bar of being the Democratic presidential candidate most skeptical of government power, if not government spending.

In response to a question about whether he would support a federal jobs guarantee at tonight's Democratic debate, the former entrepreneur argued that the feds were not going to be very good at providing people with meaningful work.

"I am for the spirit of a federal jobs guarantee, but you have to look at how it would materialize in practice. What are the jobs? Who manages you? What if you don't like your job? What if you're not good at your job?" said Yang, distinguishing himself from Sen. Bernie Sanders (IVt.) who had reiterated his support for the idea of a jobs guarantee tonight.

"Most Americans don't want to work for the federal government," Yang bluntly put it, saying a jobs guarantee would replicate the results of failed government retraining programs and produce "jobs that no one wants."

Instead, the presidential candidate made the pitch for his Freedom Dividend, his universal basic income proposal that would provide every American with $1,000 a month.

This, said Yang, would benefit people like his wifecurrently at home raising two children, one of whom is autisticwho are unable to work, and therefore would not benefit from a jobs guarantee.

A universal basic income would "put the money into our hands so we can build a trickle up economy" and "enable us to do the kind of work that we want to do," said Yang.

Some libertarian thinkers have argued for some form of UBI as a more efficient, less paternalistic form of the current welfare state. Yang interestingly makes the pitch for his Freedom Dividend in individualistic, if not necessarily libertarian, terms: A universal basic income allows you to decide how to spend your money, and do what you want with your life.

The math for Yang's Freedom Dividend doesn't quite work out. Skeptical free marketers will note that it has the potential to disincentivize work, and will always rely on coercive taxation.

Nevertheless, in a debate that's mostly been candidates arguing they would be the best philosopher king (or queen), it's nice to hear at least someone on stage to express a little faith in the ability of individuals to run their own lives (even if taxpayers are still paying the bills).

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'Most Americans Don't Want To Work for the Federal Government' Says Andrew Yang, Trashing Federal Jobs Guarantee - Reason

Democratic debate highlights: best and most substantive answers of the night –

Health care has been a major feature of every Democratic debate this election cycle. A major plank of that womens access to health care has not. And Sen. Kamala Harris has had enough of it.

That the issue has come up so little in past debates is outrageous, the California senator said, in one of the most moving moments of Tuesdays three-hour debate.

There are states that have passed laws that will virtually prevent women from having access to reproductive health care, and it is not an exaggeration to say women will die, Harris said. Poor women, women of color will die because these Republican legislatures in these various states who are out of touch with America are telling women what to do with their bodies.

Harriss response was echoed by Sen. Cory Booker soon after, noting that two Planned Parenthood clinics had recently closed in Ohio, where the debate was being held. We are seeing all over this country womens reproductive rights under attack, he said. God bless Kamala. Women should not be the only ones taking up this cause and this fight.

Harriss shift of the conversation and Bookers follow-up were among the most attention-grabbing moments of Tuesdays latest round of Democratic debates. But they werent the only ones. From Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on taxing the wealthy to Andrew Yang on universal basic income, here are some of the most significant and substantive responses of the night.

When the debate moderators brought up income inequality, Sen. Bernie Sanders smiled.

The question was designed as yet another progressive policy litmus test, and that puts him and Sen. Elizabeth Warren center stage.

Both have proposed wealth taxes to address rampant inequality in the United States. Warren sells it as a two-cent tax on the 75,000 wealthiest families in the country: Shes proposing a 2 percent tax on household assets above $50 million and 3 percent for households with assets worth more than $1 billion. Sanders has come out with his own version of the proposal, one that starts with a 1 percent tax on wealth above $32 million and slowly increases the tax rate on the larger the sum of assets.

Taxing the ultra-rich has become increasingly popular in Democratic circles. This is in part a reaction to the drastic Trump tax cuts, which have not led to the kind of middle-class income growth that was promised. But few have called for going as far as Warren and Sanders.

The moderators asked Sanders: Is the goal of your plan to tax billionaires out of existence?

Heres what Sanders said:

When you have a half a million Americans sleeping out on the street today, when you have 87 people 87 million people uninsured or underinsured, when you have hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt, and then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage.

And the truth is, we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality. And we cannot afford a billionaire class whose greed and corruption has been at war with the working families of this country for 45 years. So if you are asking me, do I think we should demand that the wealthy start paying the wealthiest top 1 percent start paying their fair share of taxes so we can create a nation and a government that works for all of us, yes, thats exactly what I believe.

This question sparked a debate about whether a wealth tax was the best method to address inequality. Beto ORourke called instead for an earned income tax credit, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she would repeal the recent cuts to the corporate tax rate (which Sanders has also supported in addition to his wealth tax).

Warren got a chance to respond:

I think this is about our values as a country. Show me your budget, show me your tax plans, and well know what your values are. And right now in America the top 1/10th of 1 percent have so much wealth, understand this, that if we put a 2 cent tax on their 50 millionth and first dollar and on every dollar after that, we would have enough money to provide universal childcare for every baby in this country age zero to five.

Universal pre-K for every child, raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in America, provide for universal tuition-free college, put $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities And cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the people who have it. My question is not why do Bernie and I support a wealth tax, its why does everyone else on the stage think its more important to protect billionaires than it is to invest in an entire generation.

Tara Golshan

Amid back-and-forth about gun laws among multiple candidate, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro invoked an often-overlooked potential consequence of the prospect of mandatory gun buybacks: it could mean police officers going door to door to collect peoples firearms. Thats an aspect that can be particularly distasteful to communities of color, which disproportionately bear the weight of police scrutiny and violence.

In the places I grew up in, we werent exactly looking for another reason for the cops to come banging on the door, Castro said. He brought up the weekend shooting of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman who was shot in her home by a white police officer performing a welfare check. The officer has been charged with murder.

I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities, because police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that, Castro said. According to data from Twitter, Castros remark was the most tweeted-about moment of the night.

In June, Castro rolled out a sweeping plan to reform policing; he was the first one to do so of the 2020 Democrats. Among his proposals are putting an end to overly aggressive and biased policing and holding the police accountable for misconduct.

I grew up in neighborhoods where it wasnt uncommon to hear gunshots at night. I can remember ducking in the back seat of a car as a freshman in high school across the street from my school, a public school, because folks were shooting at each other. Let me answer voluntary versus mandatory [gun buybacks]. There are two problems with mandatory buybacks. Number one, folks cant define it, and if youre not going door to door, its not really mandatory.

But also, in the places I grew up in, we werent exactly looking for another reason for cops to come banging on the door, and you all saw a couple days ago what happened to Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth. A cop showed up at 2 in the morning at her house when she was playing video games with her nephew, he didnt even announce himself, and within four seconds he shot her and killed her through her own window. She was in her own home. I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities because police violence is also gun violence and we need to address that.

Emily Stewart

After Bernie Sanders said hell respond to automation-induced job loss by giving Americans a federal jobs guarantee, Andrew Yang insisted he had a better idea: universal basic income the idea that the government should dispense a regular stipend to every single citizen, no strings attached.

Yang has promised that if he becomes president, the government will send a check for $1,000 per month ($12,000 annually) to every American adult above age 18. He calls it the Freedom Dividend.

On Tuesday night, he successfully played up two of the appeals of UBI: its simplicity and its directness. His emphasis on putting money straight in peoples pockets and trusting them to know how best to spend it helped him stand out and may have made his proposal more palatable to a broadly individualistic American electorate.

What was most interesting was the way Yang made the case that a UBI is better than a Sanders-style jobs guarantee. He noted its important not only that people have jobs but that theyre able to pursue the work thats right for them. Heres what he said:

I am for the spirit of a federal jobs guarantee, but you have to look at how it would actually materialize in practice. What are the jobs? Who manages you? What if you dont like your job? What if youre not good at your job? The fact is most Americans do not want to work for the federal government. And saying that that is the vision of the economy of the 21st century to me is not a vision that most Americans would embrace.

Also Senator Sanderss description of a federal jobs guarantee does not take into account the work of people like my wife, whos at home with our two boys, one of whom is autistic. We have a Freedom Dividend of $1,000 a month, it actually recognizes the work that is happening in our families and our communities. It helps all Americans transition.

Because the fact is, and you know this in Ohio, if you rely upon the federal government to target its resources, you wind up with failed retraining programs and jobs that no one wants. When we put the money into our hands, we can build a trickle-up economy from our people, our families, and our communities up. It will enable us to do the kind of work that we want to do. This is the sort of positive vision in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we have to embrace as a party.

Sigal Samuel

At the third presidential debate in September, reproductive rights werent mentioned at all. Sen. Kamala Harris objected at the time, tweeting that the debate was three hours long and not one question about abortion or reproductive rights.

This time, she took matters into her own hands. During a discussion about taxes under Medicare-for-all (something thats gotten a lot of attention at previous debates, to say the least), Harris turned the conversation to another aspect of health care: abortion. Heres what she said:

This is the sixth debate we have had in this presidential cycle and not nearly one word with all of these discussions about health care on womens access to reproductive health care, which is under full-on attack in America today. And its outrageous. There are states that have passed laws that will virtually prevent women from having access to reproductive health care, and it is not an exaggeration to say women will die.

Poor women, women of color will die because these Republican legislatures in these various states who are out of touch with America are telling women what to do with their bodies. Women are the majority of the population in this country. People need to keep their hands off of womens bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives.

Harris is one of several Democratic presidential candidates with robust plans for maintaining and expanding abortion access around the country, even as Republican-controlled state legislatures pass near-total bans and other restrictions on reproductive care. But they havent had much of a chance to talk about them at the previous debates. Harris brought up the oversight, making the point that abortion is a significant health care issue in America today.

Anna North

Trump abandoned Americas Kurdish allies when he made the abrupt decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey to invade. In the seven days since, Turkeys incursion has unleashed a humanitarian crisis, created an opening for ISIS, and reshuffled alliances in the Syrian war, leaving the US with no leverage in Syria and again badly damaging American credibility with allies.

So its no surprise Syria came up in Tuesdays debate. Democrats have largely embraced the stance of ending Americas forever wars in the Middle East, but here they were confronted with the complicated reality of what can happen when America does leave.

Buttigiegs foreign policy plan straddles that line too: It calls for limiting Americas endless engagement overseas, including repealing and replacing the 2011 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was intended for al-Qaeda after 9/11 but has ultimately given presidents broad authority to go after terrorism everywhere. Buttigieg has also said that the US should continue to provide security assistance to those fighting terrorists which sounds a lot like what the US was doing in Syria, up until last week.

His response to Tuesday nights question, however, was a clear, forceful takedown of Trumps Syria policy and an impassioned defense of the importance of American leadership.

In doing so, he touted his own military service, showed off his foreign policy credentials (not bad for a small-town mayor!), and probably got the attention of a lot of people who worry that another four years of Trump will irrevocably damage US standing in the world:

Well, respectfully, congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong. The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.

Look, I didnt think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place. I think we need to get out of Afghanistan, but its also the case that a small number of specialized, special operations forces and intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what were seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.

Meanwhile, soldiers in the field are reporting that, for the first time, they feel ashamed ashamed of what their country has done. We saw the spectacle, the horrifying sight of a woman with the lifeless body of her child in her arms asking what the hell happened to American leadership.

When I was deployed, I knew one of the things keeping me safe was the fact that the flag on my shoulder represented a country known to keep its word. And our allies knew it. And our enemies knew that. You take that away, you are taking away what makes America America. It makes the troops and the world a much more dangerous place.

Jen Kirby

In terms of executive experience, the most important piece of Sen. Warrens resum is her work in championing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And on Tuesday evening, she reminded voters of that.

Warren first conceived of the agency as a Harvard professor in 2007. After the financial crisis, she went to Washington, DC, to help get it codified into the Dodd-Frank reform bill, and she spent nearly a year setting the consumer agency up.

Its one of the central arguments for her candidacy, though its not one she makes often: she has experience in the executive branch and she understands the levers of power, including when it comes to regulation. The Massachusetts Democrat jumped at the opportunity to point that out. I know what we can do by executive authority, and I will use it, Warren said.

So you started this question with how you got something done. Following the financial crash of 2008, I had an idea for a consumer agency that would keep giant banks from cheating people. And all of the Washington insiders and strategic geniuses said, dont even try because you will never get it passed.

And sure enough, the big banks fought us. The Republicans fought us. Some of the Democrats fought us. But we got that agency passed into law. It has now forced big banks to return more than $12 billion directly to people they cheated. I served in the Obama administration. I know what we can do by executive authority, and I will use it. In Congress, on the first day, I will pass my anti-corruption bill, which will beat back the influence of money and repeal the filibuster. And the third, we want to get something done in America, we have to get out there and fight for the things that touch peoples lives.

Former Vice President Joe Biden interjected to note that he had backed the CFPB and helped it to gain support in Congress to which Warren responded with a dig redirecting credit, too, thanking former President Barack Obama for championing the agency.

She then brought it back to her fight to get the bureau in place. Understand this: it was ... dream big, fight hard, she said. People told me, Go for something little, go for something small, go for something that the big corporations will be able to accept. I said no. Lets go for an agency that will make structural change in our economy.

Emily Stewart

Author and activist Marianne Williamson wasnt onstage on Tuesday, but there is another candidate running on a message of love: Sen. Cory Booker. And in his last response of the evening, the New Jersey Democrat returned to that theme that is a core part of his candidacy.

I believe in the values of rugged individualism and self-reliance, but think about our history. Rugged individualism didnt get us to the moon, it didnt beat the Nazis, it didnt map the human genome, it didnt beat Jim Crow, he said.

He noted that among his fellow primary contenders are an openly gay man and a black woman, the result of a common struggle and a common purpose. It might have come off as a little sappy, but it was also moving.

You cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women, Booker said. Love is not sentimentality, its not anemic. Love is struggle, love is sacrifice.

Well look, I have so many, I dont even know where to count. I was the mayor of a large city with a Republican governor. He and I had to form a friendship even though I can write a dissertation on our disagreements. When I got to the United States Senate, I went there with the purpose of making friendships across the aisle.

I go to bible study in Chairman Inhofes office. He and I passed legislation together to help homeless and foster kids. I went out to try to invite every one of my Republican colleagues to dinner. And let me again say, finding a dinner in a restaurant agreeing on one with Ted Cruz was a very difficult thing. Im a vegan, and hes a meat-eating Texan. But Ill tell you this right now. This is the moment in America that this is our test. The spirit of our country I believe in the values of rugged individualism and self-reliance.

But think about our history. Rugged individualism didnt get us to the moon. It didnt beat the Nazis. It didnt map the human genome. It didnt beat Jim Crow. Everything we did in this country big ... and we have done so many big things. The fact that theres an openly gay man. A black woman. All of us on this stage are because we in the past are all inheritors of a legacy of common struggle and common purpose. This election is not a referendum on one guy in one office. Its a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other. The next leader is going to have to be one amongst us Democrats that can unite us all.

Emily Stewart

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Assembly Elections 2019: Why is the Congress evasive about NYAY scheme this poll season? –

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had pitched for a surgical strike on poverty. Gandhi had said if the Congress was voted to power at the Centre, his government will transfer Rs 72,000 a year into the accounts of the countrys five crore poor.

The Congress named the scheme NYAY, or Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Minimum Income Scheme), in an attempt to deliver justice to the countrys poorest poor.

The scheme was also seen as a rejoinder to PM Modis KISAN Yojana, wherein he promised to transfer Rs 6,000 annually (in three equal installments) to the countrys over 12 crore farmers.

Rahul Gandhi, along with other party leaders, used the NYAY Scheme extensively during his campaign trail ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. However, after the Congress drubbing, the party has hardly used NYAY as a poll plank for the upcoming Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly Polls.

Why has the Congress been evasive about the NYAY scheme and did it really help the party pick up steam, lets find out.

Did NYAY resonate with the voters?

NYAY was launched by the Grand Old Party on March 25, weeks before the polling for Lok Sabha elections began, in an attempt to counter the hyper nationalistic agenda being promulgated by the BJP after the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot airstrike.

Even though the announcement was late, the Congress hoped to draw attention on the issues of poverty and unemployment through the scheme and project itself as pro-poor.

A post-poll survey by Lokniti showed that among the poor voters who would have been the beneficiary of the scheme only 46 percent were aware about NYAY, a marginal increase from 44 percent recorded in the pre-poll survey.

This meant that despite trying to popularize the scheme through ads, hoardings, etc, awareness about NYAY missed a significant chunk of the target audience.

The post-poll survey also pointed out that respondents had a mixed opinion of the scheme. Around 36% thought the Congress would be able to implement the scheme if it came to power, and an equal proportion thought otherwise. Moreover, around 25%, or one-fourth, were not sure or could not say whether the Congress would be able to keep its promise.

Experts believe that PM Modis KISAN scheme overshadowed NYAY as by the time Congress announced it, farmers had already received the first installment. In addition, reports of the Congress not fulfilling their promise of increasing the minimum support price in Chhattisgarh and Haryana dissuaded the voters from choosing the Congress.

Fiscally irresponsible?

Many were of the opinion that the NYAY scheme was commissioned in haste, not considering Indias fiscal situation at the moment. The scheme involved uniform cash transfers of Rs 72,000 a year, or Rs 6,000 a month, to the poorest 20 percent households, or about 50 crore households based on 2011 Census data.

Which meant, the scheme required a mind-boggling sum of Rs 360,000 crore a year, or close to 2 percent of Indias current GDP.

However, the Congress claimed that it was feasible. They had taken inputs from noted MIT professor Abhijit Banerjee, who is a staunch supporter of Universal Basic Income. Although he had suggested a minimum income guarantee of Rs 2,500 a month keeping in mind fiscal discipline. The scheme would have the cost the exchequer Rs 1.50 lakh crore.

While being cautious about the tax reforms that the incoming government would have to introduce to fund the NYAY scheme, Banerjee had said it would only be the first step and eventually central subsidies can be withdrawn.

On October 14, 2019, Abhijit Banerjee, along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

Why is the Congress evasive about NYAY?

Congress' chief spokesperson for Maharashtra, Sachin Sawant, told Moneycontrol that NYAY could be implemented only at the Central level, and is not feasible at the state level.

He said, "NYAY was a part of the manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, and we would have implemented it had we formed the government at the Centre. [It cannot be implemented in Maharashtra or Haryana] Because the state cannot afford to put Rs 72,000 in every account."

"Instead of that, today we have brought in other schemes such as Rs 1,500 for senior citizens' accounts as a pension. NYAY was necessary for the national economy, and it was mocked at by the BJP. But you see now that person who was a part of formulating it has got a Nobel today," Sawant added.

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