Jim Pugh

Dec 9, 2016

2 min read

Trump’s Election Shows Why We Need Basic Income in the United States

Photo by Spencer Cooper

While many Americans are still processing the full implications of last month’s election, the victory of Donald Trump has already made one thing abundantly clear: a massive number of people in this country are feeling left behind, without opportunity for a better future.

There are many causes for this sentiment; on the social front, a backlash against cultural progress certainly played a role, as did anger around perceived derision and disdain by coastal elites. But economic anxiety was a key factor here as well — many Trump voters had first-hand experience in how globalization and automation have decimated good manufacturing jobs in their towns, leaving impoverished communities and high unemployment in their wake.

Contrary to what candidate Trump promised, the manufacturing jobs of the 20th century aren’t coming back. But with universal basic income, we can open the door to a new type of manufacturing.

Having the financial stability to pursue a new business idea means an opportunity for everyone to become creators, whether as a craftsperson doing woodworking or metal smithing, an artist engaging in painting or sculpting, or a technologist building electronics. Rather than being tied to a dead-end service or office job, those passionate about building could use their “Maker’s Income” to pursue that dream, either on their own, or collectively with others in their community.

For this reason, it’s more important than ever we have a serious debate about universal basic income. At the Universal Income Project, we’re building a network to educate, popularize, and organize around basic income in the United States. Together, we’ll work towards solutions that ensure no American gets left behind.