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IPFS News Link • Universal **QQ**Basic**QQ** Income

Are pandemic relief checks making UBI inevitable?

•, Bonnie Kristian

Among the permanent opinion shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I expect to see a new — and perhaps even bipartisan — move toward universal basic income (UBI) or something like it, an evolution influenced by Americans' experience with pandemic relief checks, both the fact of them and the drawn-out political fights surrounding their passage.

UBI is exactly what it sounds like: a government income program which is not tied to recipients' employment (like unemployment insurance), age (like Social Security), income (like TANF), medical care (like Medicare or Medicaid), or food purchases (like SNAP). It's simply a monthly cash stipend that goes to everyone. The stipend could be big enough to cover all basic expenses (this is called a full UBI) or it could merely supplement other income (former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang's proposal of a $1,000 per month "Freedom Dividend" is an example of this sort of partial UBI).

A year ago, when Yang was promoting his dividend, he was a clear outlier in mainstream politics — maybe not entirely outside the Overton Window, but perched precariously on the sill. Surveys in 2017 and 2019 showed a consistent minority of 43 percent were supportive of the idea.