“America’s population is wealthier than any in history,” Murray writes in his new book, In Our Hands. “Every year, the American government redistributes more than a trillion dollars of that wealth to provide for retirements, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care, and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people.”
Murray calls for giving an annual cash grant of $10,000—with no work requirements—to every adult over age 21.
Indeed, the U.S. is a wealthy nation. Our 2011 Gross Domestic Product was $14.4 trillion. That’s an average of $46,000 for each man, woman and child in the country. It’s an average of $61,000 per adult. It’s more than enough to end poverty.
Poverty is wrong. A Basic Income Guarantee would establish economic security as a universal right. It gives each of us the assurance that, no matter what happens, we won’t go hungry.
Intriguing idea, if a pure theoretical that wouldn’t have a chance in today’s political environment. (Considering how much our conversation is about fixing broken social systems as it is.) Fitting topic of discussion for Labor Day though.