Universal Basic Income: A Student’s Dream
By: Wais Hundekar
Imagine a world where you do not have to worry about the next rent payment, a world where working was an option, a world where you can devote yourself to your passions. This is the world that universal basic income promises. Universal basic income is a monthly payment given to the citizens of a country. This payment is usually enough to keep someone above the poverty line, allowing people to get by during difficult times. This policy is a student’s dream.
Of course, many see universal basic income as nothing more than a sweet afterthought. Even the thought of this policy raises many questions. How exactly are we to fund such a program? How are we to deal with the inevitable drop in the workforce? Is this program even necessary? These are all real questions and doubts, but the benefits of a universal basic income are far greater than one can imagine.
As a student, I am quite worried about post-secondary education and the inevitable debt I’ll find myself in. Student debt is something that most people carry with them into their adult lives, and the effects are astounding; A report from CareerBuilder found 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. With universal basic income, I can focus on my education and provide more value to society. Through a universal basic income, students will be able to devote themselves to their passions fully. As history tells us, innovations are created when people have passion for a subject.
Universal basic income will also become a necessity with automation. Many people underestimate the rate at which automation is growing, but a 2016 study by Brookings Institution found that 25% of US jobs face unsettling advances in automation. The increased use of automation means that there will be fewer workers required in the workforce; instead, jobs will require specific skills and specializations. The increased specialization of jobs is something universities need more time to adapt to, and it would be terrible to complete a degree for which there is barely any use.
As a student, I am quite worried about my job prospects in the future. A 2017 report by the Urban Institute reported that one in four Americans with a bachelor’s degree are overqualified for their job. With universal basic income, students will have more time to develop the skills necessary for the workforce. They will also have the flexibility to create their own side projects and businesses, which will only benefit society.
One common concern may be where exactly we will get the money to fund such a program. The funds could come from taxing automation. Automation will make production efficient and quicker, increasing revenue. They are cheaper, so some of the net gains from automation can go towards funding a UBI program. There are many other potential sources of funding that would not result in the increase of personal tax or the cutting of social programs. These sources of funding can be found on UBI works.
The implementation of universal basic income would be a student’s dream. The freedom of pursuing your passion, the flexibility to try out new ventures, the stress-free environment of learning; these things cannot be understated. Universal basic income is inevitable; it is simply a question of when we will live in the student’s dream.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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