This article has been translated into Italian and Spanish.
What’s happened in just the past few days with mind-boggling speed is the near certainty now that in the very near future, the United States is going to start cutting checks for some as yet undefined value and sending them to an as yet undefined population. As an advocate for a universal basic income since 2013, I applaud this growing "cash bailout of the people" consensus, however I would like to emphasize that what matters most right now as with UBI in general, is the unconditionality/universality of the payment. In other words, the checks really need to go to everyone, excluding no one, and where that may seem wasteful or unnecessary, let me explain why it should be part of any bill that gets enacted into law for emergency UBI or permanent UBI.
Back in June of 2019, I tweeted about the latest egregious example of MSNBC excluding Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang from their ongoing coverage of the 2020 Presidential candidates. There had been previous examples, but that was the worst up to that point because they had photos of all 20 candidates who were going to be in the first debates, and instead of including Yang as one of them, they included someone who wasn't even going to be there. I then started to add each new example as a new reply, and that ongoing thread has now been covered over and over again with each new example as a source of entertaining absurdity. It's been covered by traditional media outlets like The Guardian, Vox, and The Hill. It's also been covered by new media like Ethan and Hila Klein of the H3 Podcast for their two million subscribers.
In the final week of 2019, I asked the supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang (otherwise known as the Yang Gang) to let me know their favorite videos of the year with or about him, and to vote on them using likes on Twitter. The result was a list of over 30 favorite videos. I then took the top 15 from that list and asked the Yang Gang to rank them using ranked-choice voting (one of Yang's policy proposals) to best determine the top ten videos. Over 350 people voted and this ranked list is the result.
The idea of an unconditional basic income (UBI) floor where everyone starts with the same minimum amount of money as everyone else each month as an economic right of citizenship is not a new idea. UBI is an idea with a long history and thus a long history of support. Among that support exists a number of Nobel prize winners. The following is a compilation of some of those names and what they've said about UBI in recent years.