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Today we honor over 19 million Americans who have served in the military, of whom one in 13 is in poverty. This is a third lower than the poverty rate among non-Veterans, thanks to higher incomes and Veteran benefits, but still amounts to over 1.4 million people who lack resources to cover basic needs. Universal basic income would help.

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COVID-19 is having huge economic impacts, which are felt across all segments of society and all sectors of the economy in countries across the world. 

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Apart from the medical threat revealing a brutal class divide in healthcare, the coronavirus pandemic is creating social and economic havoc among non-rich populations. If ever the need for a universal basic income was evident, it is now.

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Weekly Social Protection Links: 17 January 2020

Stockton, California, has been giving some low-income residents a no-strings-attached check for $500 and tracking their spending and habits. The results: a noticeable improvement in their quality of life. New data released today shows how recipients are using the money, which they started to receive in February. The results undermine common criticisms of cash transfers: that the recipients will spend their money on frivolous items or use the cash to stop working.

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Recent debates of basic income (BI) proposals shine a useful spotlight on the challenges that traditional forms of income support are increasingly facing, and highlight gaps in social provisions that largely depend on income or employment status. A universal “no questions asked” public transfer would be simple and have the advantage that no-one would be left without support. But an unconditional payment to everyone at meaningful but fiscally realistic levels would likely require tax rises as well as reductions in existing benefits.
 
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