Why guaranteed income?

Why do we need a guaranteed income?

For some folks, it’s hard to understand how an income floor makes a difference for those who are economically insecure. This budgeting activity is a good start to that conversation. The activity highlights the unpredictability of life and how just one unexpected cost can throw a household into a downward spiral.


Click the graphic to download the activity.

Why study GI in Economics?

Studying guaranteed income through an economics framework can inform students about the way guaranteed income affects individual decision-making. It is also interesting to study the effects it would have on the local economy and its interactions with the social safety net.

Potential discussion questions:

  • What does financial security mean to you?
    How would your family spend an additional $500 a month?
  • If our city were to implement a guaranteed income, in what ways would we see the local economy change?

Related Links

No Strings Attached

Debunking the Stereotype of the Lazy Welfare Recipient

How Income Volatility Interacts With American Families’ Financial Security

Why study GI in Psychology?

Studying guaranteed income through a psychological framework can provide students with an opportunity to examine the effects of poverty on an individual’s psychology. Additionally, students can design experiments and hypotheses regarding the benefits of guaranteed income on an individual’s psychology. 

Potential discussion questions:

  • What does well-being look like for you? How would poverty hinder you from achieving well-being?
  • Discuss ways to alleviate stress. What needs to happen so that you can do that?
  • When is stress a good thing and when is it not? Can stress affect the people around us? Why not or how so?

Related Links

Universal Basic Income and Mental Health

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain

The Brain on Poverty | Jessica Sharpe | TEDxGreenville

The Psychological Consequences of Poverty

Why study GI in Ethnic Studies?

Studying guaranteed income through an ethnic studies framework can inform students about the historical structures and policies that perpetuate racism, as well as how guaranteed income can be used as a tool for racial justice.

Potential discussion questions:

  • What are some examples of economic discrimination you have experienced/witnessed in your daily lives?
  • How do you think discrimination affect subsquent generations – what are the implications for children and grandchildren? Think about generational wealth.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, what examples of racial inequity are we seeing, in regards to essential workers and access to healthcare? How could guaranteed income help mitigate these inequities?

Related Links

MLK Had a Dream of Guaranteed Income. As Mayors of 11 U.S. Cities, We Are Bringing That Dream to LifeNo Strings Attached

Universal Basic Income: Reclaiming Our Time for Racial Justice

How a basic income would help close the racial wealth gap and give Americans needed financial security

Trends in income and wealth inequality