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Tuesday, June 9th 2009

Economic crisis demands income security for all

The economic crisis demands income security for all.

Sooner or later, our elected officials and other “leaders” will have to acknowledge that conventional political and economic approaches are not working. Conventional policies cannot work.

A panel of prominent economists and scholars recently discussed the economic crises and some of the problems with the policies our government is employing. No one talked about basic income, not surprisingly, though neither did they propose any other specific policy.  Their comments clearly indicated, at least to me, the need to provide income security for all.

The participants were former senator Bill Bradley, Niall Ferguson, Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, George Soros, and Robin Wells, with Jeff Madrick as moderator.

The link is here.

Do you know any of them? If not directly, than perhaps through a few degrees of separation? It would be great to hear them respond to the idea of Citizen Dividends, income security for all. Please do what you can to facilitate those connections. Please send out links to this post.

(Some personal contact, or multiple contacts, seem to be necessary before any of us consider new products, services, or ideas. You can make a real contribution. Please help.)

Here’s an important quote from Krugman, from late in the discussion:

The other thing not to miss is the importance of a strong social safety net. By most accounts, most projections say that the European Union is going to have a somewhat deeper recession this year than the United States. … But the human suffering is going to be much greater on this side of the Atlantic because Europeans don’t lose their health care when they lose their jobs. They don’t find themselves with essentially no support once their trivial unemployment check has fallen off. … When Americans lose their jobs, they fall into the abyss. That does not happen in other advanced countries, it does not happen, I want to say, in civilized countries.

And there are people who say we should not be worrying about things like universal health care in the crisis, we need to solve the crisis. But this is exactly the time when the importance of having a decent social safety net is driven home to everybody, which makes it a very good time to actually move ahead on these other things.

Citizen Dividends, a guaranteed basic income for all, is the solution for many reasons. That includes the fact that this is an idea that can appeal to Republicans and Democrats, and especially to ordinary Americans who are simply angry at or about our government. I’ve discussed that appeal in several recent blog posts and on the home page of this web site, IncomeSecurityForAll.org.

The complete proposal, the benefits, and the plan to make it happen is in my book, Peaceful, Positive Revolution,.

Following is something from a blog post of a week or ten days ago:

Think about it: We can give every adult citizen a basic income of, say, $1,000 a month.

The amount should be enough so the poor and unemployed can afford food and shelter, at least. But we give it everyone, even Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, to create a baseline of economic justice and economic equality.

We pay for it by ending the bailouts and subsidies, and cutting government programs that become superfluous. With this basic income, which I call Citizen Dividends, there will no longer be any rationale for individual welfare or corporate welfare. We’ll be able to cut or eliminate hundreds of federal, state, and local government programs. Every citizen will have an income independent of those programs and independent of any job.

This is a platform that can appeal to Democrats and Republicans who sincerely want to take their parties back from the special interests. It can also appeal to Greens, Libertarians, and independent candidates who seek to overthrow the Democrats and Republicans.

This is actually not such a radical idea. Earlier versions of guaranteed income were mainstream ideas in the 1960s, supported by moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans, Martin Luther King Jr., and more than 1,200 economists from across the political spectrum. Earlier proposals for income security go back to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.

Please explore the web site, read the book, and help spread the word.

This will happen when enough of us demand it, when We the People demand it.

Steven Shafarman

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3 Responses to “Economic crisis demands income security for all”

  1. RichardOn Says:

    Interesting site, but much advertisments on him. Shall read as subscription, rss.

  2. FredJouldd Says:

    Thanks, good article.

  3. FokuFolik Says:

    Good article, Thanks. Thanks.