Stimulus Checks Prompt Renewed Call For Universal Basic Income

You got three stimulus checks. Is it time for a “stimulus check” every month?

Here’s what you need to know.

Stimulus checks

As Jeff Stein of the Washington Post tweeted, the stimulus checks have created a positive economic impact. For example:

  • “42% decline in food shortages
  • 43% decline in gauge of financial instability
  • +20% decline in anxiety & depression”

This prompted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to tweet that the success of the three stimulus checks would “be a case study for implementing [universal basic income]”.


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$2,000 a month stimulus checks until Covid-19 over

Omar has supported $2,000 a month stimulus checks until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. While not directly referenced in this tweet, Omar tweeted in February that “We need $2,000 recurring checks until the end of the pandemic. I joined @TimRyan, @MichaelDTubbs, Stephanie Bonin, and Natalie Foster to push for $2,000 recurring payments for Americans until the economy is fully recovered.”

In January, Omar and 55 Democrats wrote a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to support $2,000 a month stimulus checks. “A one-time payment of $2,000 is simply not enough,” Omar said. “The American people are counting on us to deliver transformative change, and we need to meet the moment by delivering monthly payments of $2,000.”


Monthly stimulus checks and universal basic income

How do monthly stimulus checks related to universal basic income? Universal basic income is a form of social security that guarantees money to recipients. The concept of universal basic income, or UBI, isn’t new. Martin Luther King, Jr. proposed universal basic income, and more recently, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang made it a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Yang’s proposal is to provide recurring income every month — forever — and isn’t tied to the Covid-19 pandemic or any other economic crisis. Under Yang’s plan, which he calls the “Freedom Dividend”:

  • Every U.S. citizen over the age of 18 would receive $1,000 a month, or $12,000 per year.
  • There are no requirements to get the money.
  • These are guaranteed payments and would continue forever.

Will Congress pass $2,000 a month stimulus checks or universal basic income?

While Biden doesn’t support monthly stimulus checks, Vice President Kamala Harris supported $2,000 a month stimulus checks when she was a U.S. senator. However, there is not enough support in Congress today for $2,000 a month stimulus checks. Americans have also been wondering whether there will be a fourth stimulus check. Currently, it’s unlikely that you would get a fourth stimulus check for several reasons. Similarly, Congress, based on its current composition, won’t pass universal basic income. While $2,000 a month stimulus checks are tied to the Covid-19 pandemic and would be limited in duration, universal basic income would continue indefinitely. That said, the economic and social data — including declines in food and financial insecurity as well as anxiety and depression — may renew interest in exploring alternatives to implement financial relief.


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