New legislation has been introduced that could grant a “guaranteed income” of up to $1,200 a month for U.S. taxpayers.
The Sending Unconditional Payments to People Overcoming Resistances to Triumph (SUPPORT) Act legislation was introduced by progressive Democratic representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
It creates a guaranteed income program of up to $1,200 per month for adults and $600 for kids following nationwide pilot programs.
The payments wouldn’t start for several years.
A summary of the proposal states that a “bill would establish a new office in the Treasury Department to manage and coordinate guaranteed income policies on the federal level.”
It would establish The Office of Guaranteed Income and require $2.5 billion in grant money to help fund pilot programs.
The Act would appropriate $500 million in funding per year from 2023-2027.
These pilot programs would then be used to help the federal government implement a national guaranteed income program, which would pay U.S. residents 18 and older at least $1,200 monthly depending on income.
Phaseouts for the program would start at $75,000 for single filing taxpayers and $150,000 for taxpayers filing jointly. Payments would decrease $5 for every $100 earned over the listed income thresholds.
“Poverty is a choice. For too long we have prioritized endless growth while millions are homeless, hungry or without healthcare” said Rep. Omar. “The pandemic has laid bare these inequalities. We as a nation have the ability to make sure everyone has their basic needs like food, housing and healthcare met.”
Criticism of the bill is linked to the fear that free money could discourage people from joining, or re-joining, the workforce.
Matt Zwolinski, director of the Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy at the University of San Diego, told CalMatters.org that “there’s a pretty plausible case to be made that the more generous you make unemployment benefits, the less anxious people are going to be to get back to work.”
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott chose to opt-out of all federal unemployment assistance programs after June 26. This included the additional $300 weekly unemployment benefits that were being supplemented from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” Abbott said at the time.
“According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits. That assessment does not include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, like construction and restaurant jobs,” Abbott said in May. “In fact, there are nearly 60 percent more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the Pandemic hit Texas.”
If the SUPPORT Act is signed into law, monthly payments would start not later than a year after full enactment in 2027, according to the act’s summary.
View a summary of the SUPPORT Act below: