by Steven Shafarman
There’s a consensus today that people are divided, polarized, nearly tribal, and our government is broken, paralyzed by partisan conflicts. That has to change.
In this conversational, thought-provoking, carefully researched book, Steven Shafarman invites us, unique individuals, to think about what we want for ourselves, our families, and our communities. And he presents a viable plan to unite us, We the People, for real progress toward solving our problems and achieving the country we deserve.
The key is basic income, also called universal basic income or UBI, Citizen Dividends, guaranteed income, negative income tax, or Freedom Dividend. Shafarman is a leading proponent, and has been talking and writing about it since the mid 1980s. Our Future shows us that basic income is more than money. With any amount, version, or variation, everyone will have monthly reminders that
we – each of us, all of us – are equal citizens, with a direct personal stake in working together to make our government trustworthy, effective, and accountable.
Liberals support it as a solid floor beneath the tattered social safety net. Conservatives promote it as way to cut other programs. It’s imperative, many say, because people are struggling and jobs are disappearing. Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine proposed related ideas, as did Abraham Lincoln and Martin
Luther King Jr. The House of Representatives passed a similar plan in 1970 with a bipartisan vote of two-to-one, but the Senate blocked it. Alaskans have a small basic income, the Permanent Fund Dividend, since 1982, and researchers have verified the benefits. (Appendix 1 is a comprehensive history of related ideas, proposals, advocates, and efforts, and is crafted to be an enduring resource for academics and activists.)
We, individuals and our country, have been trapped for decades in the dysfunctional politics of left versus right, liberals versus conservatives, Democrats versus Republicans. Our Future presents a powerful alternative: We the People versus special interests and the status quo. We can end hunger, homelessness, and extreme poverty. We can succeed at reforming healthcare, immigration, education, etc., and can slow then stop global warming. We can have a government of, by, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all. We just have to start with basic income. Here’s the plan, with strategies and tactics. This is Our Future.