This year the idea of a basic income is growing in popularity, it’s even going to be tested in Ontario. The core concept that every citizen should be able to make a living regardless of their job (or lack thereof) is not new but it has never been done on a mass scale. A new book, Raising the Floor, explores how a basic income could be implemented in the USA.
As the discussion and research around the basic idea increase there is a greater chance that a region will adopt it. If you’re new to the idea be sure to read the wikipedia article on basic income.
Paying everyone $1,000 a month would cost roughly $2.7 trillion a year, which is about 15% of the GDP and four to five times the size of the defense budget. To pay for this, Stern would cash out most existing antipoverty programs, which cost about $1 trillion a year, including food stamps ($76 billion a year), housing assistance ($49 billion), and the Earned Income Tax Credit ($82 billion). Then, he would cut military spending and phase out most tax expenditures (tax breaks), which currently cost $1.2 trillion a year. In addition, he also supports a federal sales tax (which we currently don’t have) and a financial transaction tax (which some European countries are now introducing).