The concept of universal basic income (UBI) isn´t new. The US actually came close to implementing a version of it under Nixon, which passed in the House but never made it past the Senate. The concept is simple, everyone gets a guaranteed income with no strings attached. The idea is that if you have enough to take care of your basic needs, you can focus on higher pursuits in life. The main criticism being that if you just gave people money then they wouldn´t work. Contrary to popular belief, most people want to work and feel useful. They just may be less motivated to be miserable corporate drones, which is obviously bad for the elite executives that rely on corporate drones to do their work for them, but generally better for the rest of us.
This, however, isn´t an article attempting to convince you of the merits of universal basic income or argue about the behavioral economics governing such a system. There are plenty of other writings that make the case much better than I could. In this article, we´ll take an Afrikan-centered approach, which is traditionally communal in nature and assume that universal basic income is in line with our cultural values if we can move past our Eurocentric conditioning.
Let´s also assume that Black America is a separate nation. We take care of ourselves first. How would this nation implement a universal basic income system?
Well, I'm glad you asked. It's no secret that I'm very critical of most wealthy Black people. I'm almost certain that 99% of them are useless to the cause of Black empowerment and will have to be shamed into helping their own people. And most of them are completely unqualified to even know what to do with all that money and just end up wasting it, or worse, using it to reinforce and support the system that got us in this pitiful position to begin with. It's not entirely their fault because they didn't receive a proper education, but continued ignorance is a choice.
So the obvious first step is to figure out where the money will come from. My previous article on the #100fundchallenge actually lays out a potential strategy. I wasn't thinking about UBI when I wrote it, but it fits in quite nicely. If you haven't read it, please do so here, or else the rest of this article won't make as much sense. This is also where reparations would come in if we ever get the courage and strategy in place to demand them (because we won't get them by asking nicely).
Once the funds are set up and start making money for the investors, a portion of the investment returns can be allocated to the Black UBI initiative. Same goes for the funds I describe in my book, In The Black 2050.
You know I like to put numbers to these concepts to make them real, so let's assume their are 50 million Black people in America and we want to eventually get to a point where each one receives $1,000/month through the Black UBI program. Assuming the investment funds are able to achieve a modest 6% return on investment and reinvest a third of that back into the funds while distributing out the rest to the UBI program, then that means we need investment capital of $15 trillion to earn the $50 billion per month needed for the program.
However, that number assumes the investment funds take on the full burden of providing the UBI payments, which won't actually be the case. People will still be working and earning money. Black Americans currently have an annual spending power of over $1 trillion, which means that we actually earn more than $1 trillion a year. If we "tax" ourselves (the Black tax) just 5% of that, it would generate $4.16 billion a month.
Obviously we wouldn't have enough for the full $1,000 per month to start out, but we can build up to it over time and maybe start with just $50 per month and grow from there. At $50 per month, the "Black Tax" would be more than enough to cover the cost with the excess going to build the investment funds along with additional contributions from the community, Black businesses, and any other funds we can access.
There would be incentive structures in place to encourage everyone to participate and social pressure for the wealthy to contribute more. Yes, this is redistribution of wealth. Get over it. If so many wealthy people we're narcissistic assholes, we wouldn't need it.