What If All US Citizens Received $2800 Per Month From the Government?
Income equality is one of the greatest problems in our world today. The median income worldwide — the amount that is dead middle between the least and the highest amounts — is $850 US Dollars (USD). People who have incomes of $41,000 USD are in the top 3% in terms of the richest people in the world. If the trillion dollar worldwide economy were evenly split up between Earth’s 6.7 billion people, the average income would be $7,000 USD .
Countries that have average incomes of about $7,000 USD include Chile and Mexico. The country with the highest median income is Switzerland: $60,288 USD. the U.S. median income is $50,000. Three billion people in the world live on less than $2 USD per day.
Even though the Swiss are among the wealthiest people in the world, they have decided to spread the wealth to all citizens of the country. Some 120,000 Swiss signatories have put their names to a petition demanding a monthly minimum wage of $2,800 (2,500 Swiss francs) for every single member of the working adult population. Enough names have been collected for a government vote.
If the petition becomes law, anything less than the proposed amount would be deemed illegal, even for people working in the lowest paid jobs. A typical fast-food worker in the US earns roughly $1,500 per month.
“It could be one of the landmark historical moments, like the abolition of slavery, or the civil rights movement – of course, those who don’t want it will find excuses, but those who do want it will find solutions,” said Enno Schmidt, founder of the Basic Income Initiative…
A date for the vote itself is yet to be confirmed, however, it could take place before the end of this year, depending on the decision of the Swiss government. The “1:12 initiative” has gained support across the government’s social democrat bloc.
To mark the day, a truck full of 8 million five-cent coins was deposited on the square and spread out in front of the Swiss Parliament in Bern on Saturday.
In our country, the poverty level for 2012 was set at $23,050 (total yearly income) for a family of four. Most Americans (58.5%) will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75. Poverty rates are persistently higher in rural and inner city parts of the country as compared to suburban areas.
In November 2012 the United States Bureau of Census said more than 16% of the population lived in poverty in the United States, including almost 20% of American children, up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993.
In 2008, 13.2% (39.8 million) Americans lived in poverty.
Let us consider the actions of the Swiss for one moment. At this time our Congress is battling to pass laws that will allow the country to run. America is one of the richest and most powerful countries in the history of the world. We are far wealthier than Switzerland and close to half the world’s billionaires call America home. What would America be like if we passed a law where all citizens received $2800 per month, no strings attached?
One. Poverty would end overnight. If all US citizens received money from the government, regardless of their incomes, we would have no poverty. Everyone could afford a home.
Two. Everyone could eat three meals a day. Hunger and malnutrition are massive problems for millions of American. $2800 per month would buy a lot of food. Everyone could eat well with that amount of guaranteed income.
Three. Everyone could have health insurance. America recently passed a law that requires everyone to have health insurance. A $2800 per month income would make that requirement much easier to live with for most Americans.
Obviously there would be some problems with the stipend. $2800 per month does not create wealth, but it would provide the basics. Would we create a massive welfare state were people would refuse to work if they do not have to?
Would crime increase? Would we cause a massive drop in college attendance? We should ask ourselves, what motivates our society to move at all?
America spends trillions on military, medical, and energy endeavors each year. How much could we afford to give each citizen, no strings attached?
Those numbers are not easily discovered and the real checks and balances of the American economy are closely guarded secrets. However, at some point, we need to examine the needs of the many versus the demands of the privileged few. What can we do to overcome poverty not only in our country but in the world?
Personally, I think the Swiss are on to something.