By Jhon Sánchez
Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “Time is on the side of change.” Yesterday, still without knowing of RBG’s death, I logged in to the online event to celebrate the progress of the UBI campaign in the USA and the world. When the host rendered tribute to RBG, it sounded common sense to me. Justice Ginsburg not only brought up to the court the most important cases in matters of gender discrimination but also handed down her decisions and dissents looking for the defense of civil rights.
With the death of Justice Ginsburg and facing a hostile court against civil rights, the game for equality needs to address the common necessities of people. We need concrete solutions that help workers, unemployed, ex-cons, single mothers. The Universal Basic Income would guarantee a monthly payment to all the citizens regardless of their gender, religion, or economic status. It would address the gnawing economic inequality in a country where 40% of Americans lack $400 saved to face an emergency.
After Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign and COVID-19, the UBI is now a major topic of the political debate. Kamala Harris, for example, proposes the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act that would grant monthly payments of $2,000 to all US residents during the pandemic.
This is not a discussion at the national level, but more importantly, at the municipal level. Already 25 mayors joined Mayor for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) founded by Michael D. Tubbs (Stockton, CA). MGI states that “Cities are the laboratories of democracy, and mayors are closest to the communities they serve. Mayors see the real, everyday effects of economic insecurity and are the best equipped to advocate for their residents.”
And the experiment is already happening. In Stockton, California, people are receiving $500 per month since February 2019. Mayor Melvin Carter from Saint Paul, Minnesota, signed the People’s Prosperity Pilot, Saint Paul’s Guaranteed Income Demonstration Program that would give $500 a month to randomly selected low-income families.
On September 19th, marches and other events happened in Europe, Canada, and across the United States to push legislation in favor of UBI. The organizers also are inviting people to participate in a phone bank event to support Donna Imam and David Kim this Monday, September 21st. You can sign here to participate.
In one of her dissenting opinions, Justice Ginsburg said, “‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ she said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. But it only bends that way, she went on, ‘if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.’” Now, we have to render tribute to people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her historical struggle for justice. But we also need to render tribute to all the activists, who follow her advice and with steadfast commitment, are working for a Universal Basic Income.