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Jared Bernstein disagrees: Basic Income

Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Are the good, effective anti-poverty programs currently in place fully funded? I’m quite certain they’re not, and thus the question for progressives is what gets us the bigger inequality-and-poverty-reducing-bang-for-the-buck: a dollar to UBI, or a dollar to things like quality pre-school, the EITC and CTC (wage subsidies for low-income, working families), expanding Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), and housing supports? That’s not an arbitrary list. Each one of those programs has been shown to not just help less advantaged families today, but to have lasting effects on health, educational attainment, employment, earnings, and mobility. The reason I’m skeptical [on UBI] is that I’m afraid that such a program would inevitably take from these sorts of programs, reducing their actual and potential impacts.

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