Chicago Heading Toward Guaranteed Annual Income Scheme

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David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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A Chicago alderman wants his city to back a universal basic income (UBI) plan that would leave taxpayers on the hook for a $500 cash payment to 1,000 families in the Windy City. If it comes to fruition, Chicago will be the largest city in North America to attempt to guarantee an annual income.

As The Intercept reports, Ameya Pawar has succeeded in gaining support from most of the city’s councilors and is sure that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, usually a fan of social welfare projects, will also endorse his plan.

Pawar told The Intercept, “Nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t have $1,000 in the bank for an emergency. UBI could be an incredible benefit for people who are working and are having a tough time making ends meet or putting food on the table at the end of the month.”

Pawar had intended to run for governor of Illinois and had been cleared to do so but dropped out of the race when other contestants demonstrated their ability to spend more campaign dollars.

The alderman also envisions poor families being authorized to use their Earned Income Tax Credit for their mortgage.

Pawar believes unemployment and underemployment are long-term consequences in an America dominated by big business that seeks greater automation. He told The Intercept that this will lead to massive job losses and more political division.

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