Canada's doing it. Finland is doing it. Even Kenya, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are trying it. It's Universal Basic Income (UBI) and according to economic projections, it might be the only way to protect ourselves.
Protect Ourselves From What?
From robots. And poverty. Yes, I'm serious; hear me out. If automation, including self-driving vehicles, continues at its current rate, a lot of jobs won't exist in twenty years—and it's not just manufacturing that will take a hit.
Occupations like mail carrier, fast food worker, truck driver, insurance underwriter, and farm laborer are projected to lose an average 88% of currently occupied positions. Many major cities, like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, are projected to lose upward of 47% of their currently available positions. And less jobs means a higher rate of unemployment, and poverty.
What Is UBI?
A Universal Basic Income is a fixed amount of money given by the government to all of its citizens, regardless of income or employment status. The amount varies—Switzerland is debating $2,600 a month while Kenya is testing $1,000 a year—but the average consideration is $10,000 annually.
For the United States to offer $10,000 a year to each and every citizen, the cost would be $3.2 trillion, but that number drops to $1.5 trillion if children, households earning more than $100K, and retirees receiving social security are excluded.
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