The best way to think of basic income is as a strategy for achieving goals and fulfilling promises. For example, an American Basic Income is a strategy for strengthening America.
Thus the goals of an American Basic Income will be to ease poverty, the lessening of income inequality, strengthening capitalism, growing the economy, bolstering the middle class, preventing class warfare, redressing historic racial and sexual discrimination, and strengthening families. Moreover, we can use an American Basic Income to reward individuals for beneficial behaviors.
With these goals in mind we can design a Basic Income that will reach and help most Americans. Thus the system will be far from perfect but will be an improvement on our dysfunctional economy.
An American Basic Income with Few Limits
The first; and most important, feature of an American Basic Income is that it must benefit most Americans.
Therefore, we should distribute the American Basic Income to everybody regardless of age, sex, marital status, or employment. Instead, income should be the only criteria for the American Basic Income.
Hence I would distribute a $500 a month basic income to all citizens and legal residents of the United States who make less than $60,000 a year. To qualify, all a person will have to do is file a tax return listing an annual individual income of under $60,000.
All a person will need to do to receive the basic income is file a tax return. Then the Federal government can distribute the Basic Income payouts as a tax credit or with Social Security payments.
A benefit to this system is that seniors will receive the Basic Income and Social Security. Thus, it could provide a pay raise to retired people with fixed incomes. Specifically, every Social Security payment will increase by $500 a month with Basic Income. Hence, seniors will welcome basic income with open wallets.
How American Income can redress the Gender Gap
We can distribute the American Basic Income individually to redress the gender gap in salary.
The average American woman makes just 49¢ on the dollar when compared to the average American man, the Institute for Women’s Policy claims. To clarify they average this figure out over 15 years, The Verge reports.
Specifically, the Institute subtracted the time the average woman spends outside the workforce from its figure. In detail, women are more likely to take unpaid time off to have kids, care for kids, and care for elderly or disabled loved ones.
To rectify the gender gap the American Basic is paid on an individual basic even to couples filing jointly. For example, if a man makes $67,000 a year and his wife earns $30,000 a year; she would receive the Basic Income but he would not.
How the American Basic Income will Strengthen Families
Paying Basic Income individually will address the gender gap. Importantly, it will reward people for taking care of their families. Beyond that, a Basic Income can encourage people to have children which we want.
Notably, America’s birthrate is falling raising fears of a demographic time bomb. One reason, America’s birthrate is falling is that the United States is a “harsh place” to raise a family as The Guardian’s Amy Westervelt observes.
Under current circumstances, America punishes women twice for having children. A woman’s expenses increase when she has a child but her income often falls because she is working less.
An excellent way to encourage people to have children and strengthen families is to pay Basic Income to families for each child. To explain, we can pay each family making less than $200,000 a year, $500 for each child under 18. When the child turns 18 he or she will receive the American Basic Income directly.
To explain all parents need to do to get American Basic Income for each child is to list the children on their tax return. Hence, a family with two kids will get $1,000 a month.
How the American Basic Income will Ease Income Inequality
The American Basic Income will ease poverty by giving poor people the one thing they need cash.
Likewise, the American Income will grow the economy and strengthen capitalism by putting more cash in circulation. The economy will grow because the money will come from the rich who hoard it and given to average people who will spend it.
In addition, the American Basic Income will bolster the middle class by giving the middle class more money. Moreover, more Americans will afford the trappings of a middle-class lifestyle such as a house and a car with an extra $500 a month.
The American Basic Income will alleviate income inequality by redistributing wealth from the rich to the middle and working classes. For example, we can finance an American Basic Income with a confiscatory income tax upon millionaires and billionaires.
The American Basic Income will not discourage work because the $500 a month will not be enough to replace a job for one person. Instead, it will enable people to work without fear of losing benefits. A big problem with our present system is that the poor can lose benefits like food stamps or Medicaid if they make too much money. Thus it often pays a poor person not to work or to keep work off the books.
Paying a basic income to the middle and working classes is one way to ease class envy and hatred of the rich. Hatred of the rich is a growing problem in America that will boil over into violence if we do not address income inequality.
Another advantage to a basic income for the middle class is that they will vote for it. Instead of welfare, basic income will be a necessary benefit politicians will fight to preserve and expand. For instance, Republican politicians like Donald J. Trump are strong supporters of Medicare and Social Security because they are afraid of senior voters.
How the American Basic Income can Alleviate Racism
Obviously, the American Basic Income cannot redress all the wrongs of racism but it can address the income gaps between the races.
For instance, the average African American household earned $40,340 in 2017, the Peter G. Peterson foundation calculates. Conversely, the average household income in the United States was $61,372 in 2017. Furthermore, the average US white household income was $68,145 in 2017 and the average Hispanic income was $50,486.
An American Basic Income could redress the racial income inequality. For instance, a black family of four people could make $64,340 a year with a $500 a month basic income. Hence, the basic income for an African American family of four will exceed the 2017 median household income.
Distributing a Basic Income to everybody can redress the effects of historic racism without stirring up racial animus. Whites will have no objections to the basic income if they receive the same amount of money as everybody else.
How an American Basic Income will reward Veterans and their Families
I would add three bonus payments to the American Income for specific groups.
First every honorably discharged veteran of the United States military will receive a $1,000 a month Basic Income or Veteran’s Bonus. Significantly, there will be no income restrictions on the Veteran’s Bonus.
Importantly, military pensions will not affect the Veteran’s Bonus and the Veteran’s Bonus will not affect military pensions. Instead, the Bonus will be paid along with military pensions.
Thus every honorably discharged veteran will receive the $1,000 Veteran’s Bonus for life. Moreover, the Veteran’s Bonus will be paid with the $500 a month American Basic Income. Thus every honorably discharged veteran will receive $1,500 a month in Basic Income.
Second, the surviving spouse of any member of the US military killed on active duty will receive the Veteran’s Bonus for life besides regular American Basic Income. Thus every military widower and widow will receive $1,500 a month in Basic Income.
How American Basic Income will Reward Teachers
Third, every person working as a kindergarten through 12th grade teacher in the public schools will receive the $1,000 a month teacher’s bonus. To receive the teacher’s bonus, a person will have to work full or part time as a public school teacher.
The Teacher’s Bonus will go directly to public school teachers as a tax credit regardless of income. Like the Veteran’s Bonus, government will distribute the Teacher’s Bonus with the $500 a month basic income. Thus, every public school teacher will receive a Basic Income of $1,500 besides her or his salary.
How an American Basic Income will Prevent Class Warfare
I think class warfare of some sort is inevitable because of income inequality. An American Basic Income could prevent cash warfare by letting the poor and the middle class share in economic growth.
Finally, people who do not profit from capitalism will oppose it. If we want to prevent socialism in America, we need to consider an American Basic Income.
An American Basic Income is the best means of distributing the benefits of capitalism to everybody without putting the government in charge business. The choice is clear we can experiment with an American Basic Income or prepare for violence and socialism.