What a Basic Income Would Mean to Domestic Workers
Ai-jen Poo

The concept of a UBI is very attractive, and certainly within reach in a sovereign economy. However, I would greatly prefer a job guarantee over an income guarantee.

A universal income, distributed to everyone without qualification, or even if means tested, would simply be a benefit to employers who could offer much lower levels of wages and benefits if prospective employees already have their basic needs met. A guarantee of a job, with government being the employer of last resort, that offers a dignified wage would set up a competitive environment in which employers would have to up the ante to attract employees, both in wages and working conditions. Employees would take their rightful place as partners to business again.

The ideal system would be a combination of these. A universal minimum income could offer basic living requirements that would prevent anyone from falling below a floor level, regardless of their ability or desire to be employed. The addition of a job guarantee for those who want it, with a higher wage than offered from UBI, would still force employers to step up their game and give our society the benefit of millions of work hours available to perform civic improvements and social programs. It would also provide a pool of labor for business with work ethic intact and life skills to offer.

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