Thursday, January 28, 2010

D 2004 special/Universal Income Report

WASHINGTON (US), 20-22 February 2004: 3rd CONGRESS OF
The third congress of the US Basic Income Guarantee
Network took place in Washington, DC at the Hyatt
Regency on Capitol Hill. It attracted a wide variety
of submissions, including from
medical doctors, Post Keynesian economists, and
homeless advocates.
The first speaker was Philip Wogaman, Bill Clinton's
former pastor and the author of Guaranteed Annual
Income: The Moral Issues (1968), written when the
Nixon administration was toying with the idea of
replacing welfare by Milton Friedman's negative income
tax. To the question "Is it moral to give people
things they haven't earned?", Wogaman replies that we
all receive things we haven't earned, from childhood
on. People who believe they earned everything they
have ignore all the unearned advantages they have
received. A basic income is simply an extension of
this recognition that we all stand on each other's
The climax of the congress was an emotional meeting
between Jay Hammond, former governor of Alaska and
father of the world's first genuine basic income
scheme, and Eduardo Suplicy, member of Brazil's
federal senate and father of the world's first
national basic income law. Suplicy presented the new
law to phase in basic income in Brazil, while Hammond
discussed the current effort to increase the size of
the Alaska fund a part of a bill to close the state's
budget gap.
Recurrent questions throughout the meeting included
the question of the relative advantages of an
unconditional basic income, of a right to a job
provided by the government as an employer of last
resort and of a caregiver's credit for care
activities; the question of using natural resources
(as proposed for Iraq and Nigeria on the Alaska
model), land, broadcast spectrum rights, pollution
permits or progressive taxation for funding the
scheme; and the question of where political support
for the scheme would be found.
(Based on accounts by Karl Widerquist for USBIG and
James Hughes for
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