Story at a glance
- Tech darling Jack Dorsey donated $15 million in seed funding to a pilot program for universal basic income.
- The organization running the experiment is Mayors For A Guaranteed Income.
Social media site founder and tech investor Jack Dorsey has just donated $15 million to an initiative that will test the idea of a guaranteed monthly income among Americans.
Having donated to the organization Mayors For A Guaranteed Income, Dorsey made the announcement on Twitter.
— jack (@jack) December 8, 2020
He noted that he hopes the pilot programs he helped fund will inspire federal policy change.
Some 29 mayors formed Mayors For A Guaranteed Income, which was launched in June 2020 by Stockton, Calif., Mayor Michael D. Tubbs (D). Its goal is to bridge wealth inequality rooted in systemic racism by providing a basic universal income for all U.S. citizens.
Dorsey has previously shown interest in supporting the launch of universal basic income in the U.S., having donated $3 million to Democratic 2020 Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s foundation, Humanity Forward, in May.
Part of why Dorsey has advocated for a universal basic income relates to the workforce shifting to automation. A guaranteed income, he argues, will help Americans provide for their families in uncertain times.
CNBC reports that the cities involved in the income piloting program will receive $500,000 to continue funding programs they had previously launched.
Cities then decide how to structure and allocate payments independently.
This donation comes at a pivotal time, with the COVID-19 pandemic upsetting the financial situation for millions of Americans due to various economic sectors shutting down and losing business.
“Covid-19 has made it very, very clear to build back better we have to make sure everyone has an income floor,” Tubbs said. “We’re all taking considerable political risk in doing this, but we understand that the biggest risk is nothing changes.”
Another recipient, Madison, Wis., Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway (D), stated that the donation will allow her town to become more financially stable.
“Because affordable housing is such a critical issue in the City of Madison, my staff is exploring how we can design and implement a pilot that places housing affordability and security at the center of this conversation,” she noted.