Nonprofit to Launch Experiment to See What the Poor Will Do If Guaranteed a Basic Income for Life

Proponents of universal income argue that it’s the most proficient way to help the poor.

Image via cc (Credit: Sathia Bathu)

Studies have shown, in contrast to what conventional wisdom might suggest, that the poor don’t stop looking for work when they’re handed money, nor do they spend said money on booze. So what do they do with the no-strings-attached funds? That’s exactly what a new long- experiment, spearheaded by the organization GiveDirectly, is intending to find out.

“We’ve spent much of the past decade delivering cash transfers to the extremely poor through GiveDirectly, but have never structured the transfers exactly this way: universal, long-term, and sufficient to meet basic needs,” write Michael Faye and Paul Niehaus, the organization’s co-founders, on Slate. “And that’s the point — nobody has and we think now is the time to try.”

The charity is planning to provide at least 6,000 Kenyans — who often are living on less than the U.S. equivalent of a dollar per day — with a basic income for 10 to 15 years. Throughout the course of the experiment, top academic researchers will be measuring the impacts of the system, including whether less fortunate individuals’ guaranteed financial security in the future motivates them to, for instance, take more risks, enroll in school or seek out better jobs.

A plan like this would put Americans about $1 billion in the hole, but in Kenya, it’s estimated to cost closer to $30 million, 90 percent of which will be routed directly to very poor households (the other 10 percent will cover administrative costs). Similar projects are being proposed by the Canadian and Finnish governments.

Skeptics are opposed to the notion of simply handing money to the poor because there’s a possibility they could waste it, but some are just critical that a plan like this is even financially plausible. Proponents of universal income argue that it’s the most proficient way to help the poor, since it neither discourages work nor requires it, and reduces the bureaucratic costs of operating complex social programs.

“At worst that money will shift the life trajectories of thousands of low-income households,” write GiveDirectly’s co-founders. “At best, it will change how the world thinks about ending poverty.”

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.