Basic Income Q&A: Paying for it, Inflation, and the Path Forward

Recently we reached out to our audience asking for questions on basic income. This episode takes on three big ones: will rent and other costs increase, eating up the benefits of the UBI? How could a basic income fit into a national budget with other competing priorities such as single-payer healthcare and free community college? How might we forge a path to a national basic income?

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Rep. Tami Gouveia: Massachusetts Considers a Basic Income Pilot

Recently, legislation was introduced in Massachusetts to launch a state-funded basic income trial. The bill would create a pilot project involving 300 families over three years. We spoke with one of the legislators, Rep. Tami Gouveia, proposing this pilot about what is motivating it, and what it could achieve. The legislation is listed as H1632 in the state house and S84 in the state senate.

Robert Stayton: Could Solar Dividends Provide a Basic Income?

Robert Stayton proposes an outside-the-box idea for how to provide both ample clean energy and a basic income on the local, state or national level: solar dividends. This proposal would leverage the abundance of available solar energy with the regulatory ability to increase the price at which solar energy is purchased into the grid. To read more about Stayton’s proposal and the book that details it further, go to

Reverend Liz Theoharis: Building a Movement Centered on Poor People

The favorite basic income advocate of many supporters is Martin Luther King Jr., who led the Poor People’s Campaign. This campaign has been revived in modern times by Rev. Liz Theoharis and Rev. Dr. William Barber, which looks at the issues facing poor people holistically. This includes issues as diverse as climate change, worker’s rights, housing and economic empowerment. Importantly, the campaign puts poor people at its center as a driving, shaping force. Rev. Theoharis joins the podcast to discuss the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. 

Basic Income and the Social Safety Net

In this discussion episode, Jim lays out his ideas on how we should think about basic income in relation to other benefit programs like unemployment insurance and the Earned Income Tax Credit. We get into topics like whether basic income should count as taxable income, and the difference between the social safety net and the social contract.

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Jhumpa Bhattacharya: The Racial Wealth Gap and Basic Income Policy Design

Basic income has been heralded as a policy that can partially address racial inequities in our economy and social benefit system, but how would the goals of racial equity inform basic income policy? Jhumpa Bhattacharya of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development joins the podcast to discuss this issue, and the vital importance of countenancing our racial history as we design future economic policy.

Max Ghenis: Evaluating Today’s Basic Income Policies

As basic income gains more recognition and interest, new proposals and ideas for what a basic income should look like are starting to emerge. While these proposals are occasionally studied on a one-off basis, the basic income conversation didn’t necessarily have a single hub where one could evaluate policies side by side. The UBI Center, founded by Max Ghenis, seeks to change that by providing economic breakdowns of leading basic income proposals. Max joined the podcast to discuss his work, what motivates it, and his evaluation of Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend.

Rutger Bregman, Author of Utopia for Realists (rebroadcast)

A conversation with Rutger Bregman, author of Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders and a 15-Hour Workweek. We discuss what brought him to the basic income movement, some historical basic income experiments, and how a basic income could benefit his home country of the Netherlands. This was one of our first episodes and originally aired in September of 2016. 

What Basic Income Will And Won’t Solve (Rebroadcast)

Basic income advocates often talk about what a transformative impact universal basic income could have on society — but what issues and challenges will it actually solve? Jim and Owen share their thoughts on whether basic income is the solution to poverty, automation, wealth inequality, and more. This episode originally aired in February of 2018.

Dr. Evelyn Forget on Mincome and Basic Income in Canada (Rebroadcast)

Canada’s basic income trials in trials in the 70s – the “Mincome” experiments – were largely forgotten until Dr. Evelyn Forget found records of the Mincome trials and individuals who had received a basic income. She discusses what she found, and the implications for Canada’s upcoming trials in Ontario. This episode originally aired in May of 2017.

Why is Interest in Basic Income Surging? (Rebroadcast)

Three years ago, few people had even heard of universal basic income. Now interest is growing across the country, and the idea is getting more exposure and support. What led to this shift? Owen and Jim delve into many of the factors at play, and discuss how we can take advantage of this moment. This episode originally aired in August of 2017.

Roy Bahat, Head of Bloomberg Beta, on Innovation and Basic Income (Rebroadcast)

Roy Bahat, Head of Bloomberg Beta, discusses the future of employment and why a universal basic income could spur innovation. He also discusses the mental leaps it requires to wrap our minds around the basic income, and what we can do to help others to make those leaps. This episode originally aired January, 2017. 

A Step Forward for Basic Income in the U.K. feat. Jamie Cooke

Recently John McDonnell, shadow chancellor of the U.K.’s Labour Party announced that he would like to see state-funded basic income trials when the Labour Party returns to power. This has triggered an active discussion on basic income in the Labour Party and throughout the United Kingdom. Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland came back on the Basic Income Podcast to discuss these developments and where things might go from here.

Basic Income and Cash Dividends at the First Democratic Presidential Debate

On June 26th and 27th, the first Democratic Presidential debates were held in Miami, Florida. The debates gave basic income-focused Andrew Yang a national platform, and several other candidates pushed ideas such as a carbon dividend or expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit that would put more cash in people’s hands. Owen and Jim discuss the debates and how the politics of the moment is shaping these conversations.

Cash Transfers for Low Income Expecting Mothers, feat. Zea Malawa

Expecting Justice, a program out of UC San Francisco’s Pre-Term Birth Initiative, is spearheading a cash transfer program for low income expecting mothers, with a focus on Black and Pacific Islander women. Zea Malawa, who is leading the initiative joined the podcast to discuss the rationale behind the initiative and how cash transfers can be cost-effective from a healthcare perspective. 

To reach out to Ms. Malawa about donations or other assistance, email her at

A Proposed Social Wealth Fund in Maryland, feat. Del. Gabriel Acevero

Maryland Delegate Gabriel Acevero is leading the charge for the creation of a social wealth fund in his state. This fund, which would be seeded with revenue from medical cannabis, would eventually pay out dividends and potentially other benefits to Marylanders, with the goal of becoming a universal basic income over time. Del. Acevero joined the podcast to talk about his proposal and the role of racial justice in social benefit programs. 

Basic Income Q&A: Taxes, Wages and Systemic Change

We reached out to you for your questions on basic income and you wrote in with many excellent ones. In this Q&A, Owen and Jim discuss whether basic income would be taxable, how a UBI could affect wages and employee bargaining power, and whether basic income could eventually lead to systemic change in other realms. Reach out on Facebook and Twitter if you have more questions about universal basic income.

A Unique Basic Income Program in South Korea, feat. Juon Kim

The Gyeonggi province, the most populous province in South Korea, has started a unique basic income project. Under the program, 24 year-olds will receive one million Korean Won, about $900, unconditionally in a local currency. Juon Kim, a local basic income activist joined the podcast to discuss the rationale behind the program and how it came about.

Expanding Social Security & Other Programs into a Basic Income

Recently an article in Fast Company proposed reaching a basic income by expanding social security. Owen and Jim dive into the pros and cons of that approach for social security, the earned income tax credit (EITC), child tax credit and carbon dividend. Each has advantages to offer and issues to overcome on the policies themselves and the political narratives behind them.

India Moves Toward Basic Income, feat. Sarath Davala

The basic income movement in India is growing rapidly. There are proposals for a national basic income, and the state of Sikkim seems likely to introduce a basic income program in the near to mid future. In this episode, Jim interviews Sarath Davala, who has been witness and participant to the progress that has led to this moment. He charts what got us to this point and what might happen in the near future.