Donald Trump is now President Donald Trump. And no matter how many Americans still refuse to accept it as a fact, they would simply have to find a way to embrace it because whether they like it or not, over the next four years the Trump administration will be running the country. It should be noted here that there were plenty of Americans unhappy that Obama was elected our President, but after the election it didn’t matter. That’s how democracy works.
Turning back to Trump, since his inauguration, the President, whose businessman’s perspective and skills will certainly be assets in terms of governing our great country, has done several decisive moves, including: ordering a freeze on federal hiring (unless the job is related to the military, public health or public safety); reinstating the Mexico City Abortion policy which prohibits funding of foreign non-profit groups that promote or do abortions; reversing a planned reduction on mortgage insurance for first-time homebuyers; withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, distancing America from its allies in Asia, and a few more.
There’s surely a strategy in there somewhere. We’d like to think that all these actions are directed towards Trump’s ultimate promise — to make America great again, and to make the American dream come alive again. And this is why we eagerly await where Trump stands on the issue of Universal Basic Income (UBI) — a system of income distribution where everybody gets to receive a fixed amount from the government, without any conditions, and ideally enough to cover basic expenses.
The world is facing many threats and problems, but nothing is as acute and demeaning as the prospect of widespread poverty. Although Trump has vowed to get back jobs from different places and return these jobs to Americans, it might not be enough to compensate for the expected job loss from automation. More people without jobs means more people will be in danger of dropping to poverty level.
“People feel uncertain and anxious about the future [and are] hungry for big solutions right now,” Jim Pugh, CEO of Share Progress and co-founder of the Universal Income Project, told BI.
With guaranteed income, people who lose their jobs will not have to feel ‘poor’ or resort to doing anything they don’t want to do because they will still have the means to provide for their most basic needs, even if they can’t find a job. Which means more than just keeping people away from poverty, basic income can give them hope that they will continue to thrive, and help them retain their dignity in the process.
If Trump is sincere about wanting to revive the American dream, it’s hard to believe that he won’t be seriously consider implementing a form of basic income system. Because logically he can’t ‘make America great again if he lets poverty become the new normal in the American life.
Although he has so far been silent about the threat of automation, the President shows at least four distinct traits that makes us think he might pull an epic surprise and implement UBI when we’re least expecting it.
First, Trump has a self-assured personality, which means he won’t be easily swayed or influenced by people pushing their own special interests. Second, he always speaks his mind, and is not afraid of going against what everyone else thinks. After all, his appeal lies in his radical departure from how traditional politics is done. Third, he likes to think big, and UBI — which according to an analysis by Charles Murray, would have had as of 2014 an annual cost of about $200 billion cheaper than the current cruel welfare system we have. By 2020, notes Murray, “it would be nearly a trillion dollars cheaper” — is certainly a big move. Lastly, Trump is loyal to no other group but to the US of As. His slogan basically says it all – ‘Make America Great Again!’
If Trump decides that basic income will be good for the U.S., then it’s a safe bet he’ll make it happen.