Basic Income
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Basic Income

MLK’s Last Sermon, 4 Days Before Assassination

There must be something positive and massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism and the tragedies of racial injustice.

But there is another thing closely related to racism that I would like to mention as another challenge. We are challenged to rid our nation and the world of poverty. Like a monstrous octopus, poverty spreads its nagging prehensile tentacles into hamlets and villages all over our world.

How can one avoid being depressed when he sees with his own eyes evidences of millions of people going to bed hungry tonight? How can one avoid being depressed when he sees with his own eyes God’s children sleeping on the sidewalks at night? …Maybe we spend far too much of our national budget establishing military bases around the world rather than bases of genuine concern and understanding.

And I must confess that in some situations I have literally found myself crying…

I was in Newark and Harlem just this week…This welfare mother…She pointed out her little boy who was a victim of lead poisoning. She pointed out the walls with all the ceiling falling through. She showed me the holes where the rats came in. She said night after night we have to stay awake to keep the rats and roaches from getting to the children…

This can happen to America. The richest nation in the world. This is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots…There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. But the real question is whether we have the will.

-Excerpts from MLK’s “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution”

In his last book Martin Luther King Jr. proposed we adopt either a job guarantee or an income guarantee policy to eliminate poverty.

He concluded, “I’m now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”

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Matt Orfalea

Matt Orfalea

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