Billionaire and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared on Andrew Yang’s Yang Speaks podcast on Thursday and announced that he would be giving $5 million to the former Democratic presidential candidate’s universal basic income (UBI) efforts, Rolling Stone reported. The money will go directly to Humanity Forward, Yang’s non-profit, which is launching its first big UBI experiment in New York this fall.
According to Yang, Dorsey’s donation will be put toward small $250 cash grants to 20,000 people who have lost their jobs or experienced a reduction in income due to coronavirus.
“Not only will Jack’s donation directly impact tens of thousands of people in need during the current economic downturn, it will help Humanity Forward and our movement continue to make a case for universal basic income in the United States,” Yang said.
“We know UBI for every American is possible, and this $5 million from Start Small is going to help demonstrate what is possible for families across the country.”
During his talk with Yang, Dorsey claimed that UBI is a “long overdue” idea that he believes will be proven effective by experiments and case studies into its beneficial effects. The 43-year-old entrepreneur expressed dismay at Washington’s decision to send such a large portion of COVID-19 relief packages to banks and larger companies as opposed to the American people.
Dorsey also echoed Yang’s presidential campaign, which pushed for a $1,000 per month UBI, and stressed the importance of a safety net not just for pandemics, but in the context of an economy shifting due to automation.
“Every single field is going to be touched by automation, and UBI to me represents a floor,” Dorsey said, noting that such a floor would help people transition into the new economy without worrying about food and survival.
Dorsey said he donated to Humanity Forward in hopes that it will create progress — even “small steps” — toward a nationwide UBI. Thus far, the organization has already provided almost $2 million in direct cash assistance to communities struggling amid the pandemic.
The push for UBI has intensified amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought economies around the world to a halt. Notably, Senate Democrats are currently pushing to send Americans $2,000 per month, and other regions of the world are experimenting with similar proposals.
As reported by Business Insider, Spain is on track to approve a UBI program next week to provide 1 million poorer families with a basic income. Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calvino expressed hope that the program would become a permanent “structural instrument” of Spain’s economy.