Money Talking

A Guaranteed Basic Income for All

July 7, 20167 min
Could free money help with the country's financial woes? While economists and folks on Wall Street dig into the latest unemployment report released today, the nation's workers continue to deal with stagnant wages, men in their prime vanishing from the workforce and a sluggish economy. This is prompting some to toy with an unconventional solution: a universal basic income. Simply put, it entails having the federal government give every citizen a salary — say $10,000 for every adult — no strings attached. A guaranteed income is seen as a means to combating poverty and allowing workers to pursue better paying jobs or continue their education. It would also guarantee people who work but don't get paid, like stay-at-home parents or caretakers, a yearly stipend. Swiss voters rejected a basic income plan in a referendum last month — but much of the opposition came from the fact that the country has open borders, not out of cost, since a basic income would have substituted certain social welfare programs. This week on Money Talking, host Charlie Herman talks with James Surowiecki of the New Yorker who recently wrote about this topic about what it would mean for Americans if the federal government decided to give away free money.     

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