This past weekend, I had an allergic reaction to coconut.
My husband made a recipe that calls for shaved bits of coconut as a topping. Right away, something felt wrong. My mouth tasted like metal, my eyes started to itch, and congestion overtook me. I could breathe, but I could barely open my eyes.
When you have an allergic reaction and use an EpiPen, the instructions are clear: go to the hospital. So I skipped the EpiPen and took a bunch of Benadryl. Within 10 minutes, I felt better.
Why skip the EpiPen and emergency room at the local hospital? It’s because our healthcare centers are full of COVID patients, and I don’t want to catch the coronavirus from people who went to work because they had no choice, developed symptoms, and went to the ER because they have limited healthcare options.
Our lives are so interconnected. All I kept thinking about on Saturday night is how a basic income (also known as universal basic income and UBI) would help so many families—not just during a pandemic, but always.
I think HR and talent acquisition leaders need to learn more about it and have an opinion.
What’s a basic income?
A basic income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement. basicincome.org/basic-income/
How is it funded?
There are lots of ideas. Some people believe tax revenues and would either supplement or replace existing welfare programs. Others advocate taxing and redistributing wealth from technology companies who collect and monetize your user data. There are lots of good ideas. www.givedirectly.org/basic-income/
How does basic income make us healthier?
Poverty doesn’t just hurt the poor. It hurts everybody who is affected by short-term thinking. If you go to work when you’re unwell but need the cash, you’re jeopardizing the health of others. If you work in a job that you hate to pay for housing and food, you’re compromising your mental health and probably no use to your colleagues and employer in the long-term. Reallocating money to provide a basic income allows us to make better choices about our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. futurism.com/evidence-indicates-that-universal-basic-income-improves-human-health
Isn’t basic income just welfare?
UBI is not welfare, but it might help to fix our broken system. Basic income for average folks would supplement their income. For the poor, it’s much more complicated. Right now, we have an all-or-nothing approach to welfare. We punish people for improving their lives and take away support when they need it the most. Now, it would be simple-minded just to cancel welfare and replace it with UBI. Instead, a blended approach might help: www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/30/15712160/basic-income-oecd-aei-replace-welfare-state
Who came up with this idea?
Do you like a story that includes Thomas Paine, Napoleon, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mark Zuckerberg? Then you’re gonna love the history of UBI. www.investopedia.com/news/history-of-universal-basic-income/
Are there good examples of basic income?
There’s a long list of basic income experiments. The most notable example is the Alaska Permanent Fund, which pays a partial basic income to all its residents since 1982. You get a check for simply being Alaskan and living on top of an oil reserve. More global examples of basic income can be found here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income_around_the_world
Do smart people support it?
It’s not just a #YangGang thing. Even the Pope supports UBI. www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2020-04-12/pope-ponders-universal-basic-income-as-boris-johnson-is-discharged-opec-strikes-deal
Is the American coronavirus stimulus check a form of basic income?
Well, when the government gives you a check that’s really your money, it’s a form of basic income. Sorta. Yes and no. www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox/stimulus-rebate-universal-basic-income
Where can I learn more?
I recorded two podcasts that might be helpful. One is with Scott Santens, the godfather of basic income, and the other is with Andrew Yang the recognized face of UBI in America. And today I’ll be on Recruiting Brainfood Live at 11:30 AM ET talking about basic income.
Want to discuss how giving people their money can help them become better and more engaged workers? Let’s chat about HR and TA’s role in making basic income a reality.
I hope you found this helpful. What did I forget? What did I miss?