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Cash in hand: Could basic income protect livelihoods in coronavirus crisis?

22 1 12

Once a radical idea on the fringes of mainstream economics, handing out cash to citizens has been mooted in the United States and Britain as a way to protect vulnerable peoples' livelihoods as the coronavirus crisis accelerates.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) involves giving citizens cash payments each month to spend however they see fit, often in addition to welfare benefits that tend to be tied to specific needs, such as housing or childcare.

Advocates say its simplicity allows governments to bypass time-consuming bureaucratic processes, while giving beneficiaries the security of knowing they will have some income even if their circumstances change.

In the face of the vast economic fallout from the virus that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned could cost up to 25 million jobs globally, politicians and economists are warming to the idea.

"There is a realisation it would be a good way of ensuring people's safety nets are covered and therefore they can follow public health advice to stay at home more easily," said Fran Boait, executive director of British think tank Positive Money.

U.S. lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to send direct payments to citizens as part of a massive stimulus package worth nearly$2 trillion, to include two waves of cheques of up to $1,200 for an individual earning up to $75,000 a year.

UBI has also captured the U.S.........

© Japan Today