Universal basic income is the practice of dispensing periodic cash payments to individuals, regardless of their financial or employment status. It is different from a welfare program in that you do not have to take a means test to determine your eligibility. You don’t have to prove that you make less than a certain amount, or that you recently lost your job. Basic income gives unconditionally, implying that it doesn’t distinguish between recipients who earn a full-time income and recipients who don’t work at all.
Those against basic income often argue that it would raise taxes on the wealthy, and could inspire the recipients to work less. On the flip side, those in favor of basic income believe it could help eliminate poverty, and financially protect the work force as more and more jobs are lost to automation. While the idea of basic income has been around for centuries, interest and activism has been increasing since 2010. However, what it would look like if it were implemented in the U.S. is still largely unknown. If you’re looking to learn more about basic income, here are a few things you may not know: