Shreveport Becomes Universal Basic Income Test City
The idea of a Universal Basic Income has been catching fire over the last few years. But its not really a new idea. The basics of the ideas behind a Universal Basic Income (or UBI) can be traced back to one of America's Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine. It's an idea that has bounced around our country for hundreds of years, finding support on both sides of the political spectrum at different times.
Thousands of economists in the United States have called for a UBI for years, pushing the concept from multiple different angles. Some of the biggest names to recommend a UBI in our countries history include Martin Luther King, Jr, Richard Nixon, Milton Friedman, and George McGovern. There was even a plan by former US Senator Mike Gravel to build a Flat-Tax program that included a UBI that was endorsed by Mike Huckabee. During the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination race, candidate Andrew Yang found a large base with his UBI plan.
Many of the recent pushes are coming from leaders in the technology field, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The tech industry believes a UBI will be required as computers, artificial intelligence, and automation continue to take human jobs, and force us into a perpetually unstable labor market.
Over the last few months, pushed by the economic collapse brought on by COVID-19, there have been many renewed calls for a UBI around the world. Including in Spain, where they're launching a UBI program.
Now the ideas behind UBI have reached Shreveport. Forbes reported this week that Shreveport is one of 11 US cities that will take part in a "pilot program" for UBI. The program is being run by a group called Mayors For A Guaranteed Income, which is headed up by 29-year-old Mayor of Stockton, California Michael Tubbs. His city launched the program last year.
The money for the program is privately funded, and does not use any public tax dollars to support it. KTAL-TV was able to talk to Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins about the program: