Reviews | Putting people first to rebuild the economy
Similar gains can be made in the United States. In the face of this ambitious economic justice agenda, we already know that our critics will say that we cannot afford to be bold. Yet building a strong and inclusive safety net more than pays off. The $ 1,200 checks and expanded unemployment insurance provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which was enacted in March 2020, saved 18 million families from the poverty last year.
A new bill sponsored by Representative Tlaib can help capitalize on these gains. The Automatic Boost to Communities (ABC) Act would provide a monthly payment of $ 2,000 to every person in America, including dependents, throughout the economic downturn of the pandemic, and follow that up with $ 1,000 per month up to a year after the end of the pandemic. With the Black Lives Movement’s Breathe Act, which proposes major new systems and investments in housing, education and environmental justice while shedding punitive structures that criminalize and incarcerate, the ABC Act represents a new approach.
A Basic Income Program in Maricá, Brazil is a case study of how investing in people will help us cope better with crises. As of December 2019, more than 42,000 of the city’s 165,000 residents have received monthly payments now equivalent to 170 Brazilian reais, or $ 34, paid in mumbucas, a local digital currency. The benefit, which the city plans to expand to all residents in the coming years, is administered by a community bank and can be spent in thousands of local businesses.
Because Maricá already had this infrastructure in place, when the pandemic hit the city, she was able to quickly increase monthly basic income payments to 300 mumbucas, or $ 55, while providing additional support to people who lost their homes. employment or were self-employed. An international team of researchers from Federal University Fluminense and the Jain Family Institute are currently working to study the impact of these programs, and the changes in the city are already evident. Over the past four years, formal sector jobs, which are registered with the state and guarantee employment rights and benefits, have increased by more than 52%. This growth has continued even as the pandemic has caused job losses almost everywhere else.
As we strive to replicate these successes, we must ensure that the financial infrastructure that underpins these policies is truly serving the public. In 2020, representatives Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the law on public banks. The law leverages new and existing Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Postal Service programs to charter and support state and local state banks, tackle predatory financial practices while creating an inclusive framework for flexible cash provision.