Marian williams for president.

Issues

Universal Basic Income

In our country, there is no greater horror than the vortex of poverty.

Poverty is people sleeping out in the streets.
Poverty is children going to bed with hungry stomachs.
Poverty is life without a break from overwhelming stress.
Poverty is anti-human.

And yet, in a country as wealthy as the United States, the poverty that plagues us is a policy choice. We could simply choose to end poverty among children, among seniors, and among all of our fellow citizens.

As President, I will support a Universal Basic Income program to do just that. When we pass my UBI plan through Congress, every American will receive a monthly check that will keep them above the poverty line. 

Let me be clear. Monthly cash transfers cannot on their own solve economic hardship. We need other policies too, from universal healthcare to free public college to affordable housing. We don’t want to give people cash just for it to be swept away all in one medical procedure or one college course.

For that reason, UBI is not a cure-all. However, by giving everyone a guaranteed income in addition to treating things like healthcare and higher education as public goods, we will abolish poverty, end our crisis of economic despair, and finally have a population whose economic life reflects the prosperity of our GDP.

Modern democracies like our own are supposed to have social safety nets that keep people out of poverty and economic disaster. However, the modern American safety net is wholly inadequate and allows far too many people to fall through the cracks. With my policy agenda, we will close these cracks and finally build a social safety net that keeps everyone above water and allows our people to live decent lives, free from the tyranny of economic necessity. 

My UBI plan is separated into three programs: one for children, one for seniors, and one for working-age adults. For children and seniors, there are existing programs that I would modify, and for working-age adults, I would create an entirely new program.

UBI for seniors and children is far from a novel idea: we are actually global outliers in not having universal cash payments for all of our children and our seniors. For that reason among others, I would prioritize passing my UBI programs for children and seniors before moving on to the program for working-age adults.

Universal Child Allowance 

For children, we currently have cash benefits in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. However, these programs are means-tested, overly complicated, and exclude far too many children. Amid the COVID pandemic, the government expanded the Child Tax Credit and cut childhood poverty in half. However, a year later, the government allowed that expansion to expire, shamefully doubling childhood poverty again.

Under my Universal Child Allowance plan, we will modify the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, creating a universal child benefit paid out monthly by the Social Security Administration. The benefit would be equal to the difference between the one-person poverty line and the two-person poverty line, currently $448 per month in the contiguous United States. A similar model is laid out in the End Child Poverty Act.

Universal Minimum Social Security Benefit

For seniors, we currently have cash benefits through Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. However, these programs exclude many seniors and give inadequate amounts to many more, leading to a crisis of elder poverty.

We will establish a universal minimum Social Security benefit that goes out to every American aged 65 and older, with no exceptions. The benefit would be equal to the poverty line for an individual, currently $1,255 per month in the contiguous United States. Every senior would get at least that minimum benefit, but those who are eligible for more than that under the existing Social Security formula would continue to get that greater amount.

Adult Basic Income

For working-age adults – those aged 18-64 – we have programs for specific situations, like Unemployment Insurance or Disability Insurance, but we do not have anything like a universal benefit. In this case, a new program would be created. This new program would pay out a benefit equal to the individual poverty line, currently $1,255 per month in the contiguous United States, to every working-age adult with no exceptions. This would be given out in addition to existing programs for specific circumstances, such as Unemployment and Disability Insurance – it must not replace those necessary programs.