SSN Commentary

Why Income Guarantees Makes Sense To Reduce Poverty

Policy field

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University of Maine

Originally published as "Why Income Guarantees Makes Sense To Reduce Poverty," Bangor Daily News, March 31, 2019.

Half a century ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., George McGovern, and Milton Friedman supported a federal minimum income guarantee. Now, as automation threatens to eliminate entire large occupational categories, a minimum income floor is once again on the political agenda. Cities, such as Stockton, California and Chicago, are running basic income pilot projects, inspired by similar projects in Canada and Finland.

In Maine, LD 1324 has been introduced in the state Legislature, to establish a committee “to study the feasibility of creating basic income security.” The charge of the committee will be to look at a wide range of cash benefit programs, and compare them with the existing welfare system, with a view to creating a better system of income security for all. Among the programs to be considered are a strengthened earned income tax credit, negative income tax, and universal basic income.