Rather than savage cuts, Switzerland considers “Star Trek” economics
By gathering over 100,000 signatures – which they delivered last Friday along with 8 million 5-cent coins representing the country’s population – activists have secured a vote by Switzerland’s parliament on an audacious proposal: providing a basic monthly income of about $2,800 U.S. dollars to each adult in the country. (A date for the vote hasn’t yet been set.) Such basic income proposals, which have drawn increased attention since the 2008 financial crash, offer a night-and-day contrast to the current U.S. debate over what to cut and by how much.
Salon called up John Schmitt, a senior economist at the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research, to discuss the economics and politics of having the government send everyone in the country a monthly check.
What is a universal basic income, and why are we hearing more about it now?