During a Monday morning interview on MSNBC, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that a minimum guaranteed income might be "worthy of attention" amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has left millions of Americans out of work. As reported by PoliticsUSA, Pelosi suggested that -- before moving towards a universal basic income (UBI) -- Congress should see what works from the currently implemented COVID-19 aid bills.
"Let's see what works, what is operational and what needs attention," Pelosi said. "Others have suggested a minimum income, a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so."
The speaker noted there are many people outside of small business owners and employees who are crucial for the "vitality of our economy." She also pointed to the people in the public sector who are "meeting our needs in so many ways" and might require assistance.
"We're talking about the lives of the American people," she said.
"Again, the pull and push of should we open up or not if it jeopardizes the lives of the American people, we have to handle it with care."Pelosi's comment comes not long after supporters of Humanity Forward founder Andrew Yang — as well as other UBI advocates — trended #CongressPassUBI on Friday as a new supplemental coronavirus aid bill was passed without payments to Americans. Yang, who ran a Democratic presidential campaign that centered around UBI, criticized the package and called on Congress to shift its priorities.
Recently, Pope Francis voiced his support for UBI in an Easter Sunday letter. According to Francis, a UBI would recognize the work of those that have not benefitted from globalization, including construction workers, caregivers, and street vendors.
As the world's economy remains halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of UBI has moved from a fantasy to reality for some. As Nick Slater noted in Current Affairs, Spain just implemented a permanent UBI, which he believes is also possible in the United States. Although there is no official start date -- and Spain's government is reportedly hashing out the details -- the UBI will extend past the COVID-19 crisis, which Slater calls a "huge f*cking deal."
Slater also expressed disdain for figures like Pelosi, as well as others he believes have "sold their souls long ago" and fight only to maintain the status quo. He contrasted this with Spain's government, which he claims has realized that it exists to serve its people.
"It's time for Americans to send their ruling class the same message," he wrote.