Tracking US emergency cash transfer proposals

See the tracker here and ubicenter.org/covid19 for more research

Max Ghenis
Mar 22 · 2 min read

The Covid-19 outbreak is preventing workers from collecting a paycheck, blowing up unemployment rolls, sending capital income into the red, and devastating job-seekers. To ensure families can keep paying their bills, United States policymakers are increasingly considering emergency cash transfers and universal basic income.

The first proposals arrived on March 12, when Democratic Representatives Ro Khanna, Tim Ryan, and Tulsi Gabbard proposed different forms of monthly payments of $1,000 per adult. The most recent is the House Democrats’ HEROES Act, which gives one-time payments of $1,200 per person, phasing out for incomes above $75,000 ($150,000 for married filers). Democrats and Republicans in the House, Senate, and White House have proposed 20 total cash transfer and UBI policies, including the CARES Act, signed on March 27, which provides one-time payments up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, depending on 2019 income (or 2018 if you haven’t filed yet for 2019).

Eight of the 20 proposals — from Gabbard, Mitt Romney, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, Joe Kennedy III, Maxine Waters, Rashida Tlaib, and Justin Amash — resemble UBI in that they are given to everyone regardless of income.¹ By skipping reliance on 2018 or 2019 IRS tax return data, UBI can be distributed quickly without excluding people whose financial situation has changed.

These emergency cash transfer proposals vary by amount, inclusion of children, whether they phase out with income, frequency, and other factors. To keep track of them all, I made this spreadsheet, which breaks each proposal down by 17 features (snapshot below). I’ll continue to update it as discussions in Washington evolve.

Image for post
Image for post

Updated May 12, 2020. For more UBI Center research on Covid-19 emergency cash transfers and UBIs, visit ubicenter.org/covid19.

[1] Kennedy’s proposal also has a means-tested component.

The UBI Center

Max Ghenis

Written by

Economist. Founder and president of the UBI Center. Studied at MIT and UC Berkeley. YIMBY. Former Google data scientist.

The UBI Center

The UBI Center is an open source think tank researching universal basic income policies.

Max Ghenis

Written by

Economist. Founder and president of the UBI Center. Studied at MIT and UC Berkeley. YIMBY. Former Google data scientist.

The UBI Center

The UBI Center is an open source think tank researching universal basic income policies.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store