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Monday, March 16, 2020

For Every American: Tulsi Gabbard and UBI during a National Emergency

by Ramona DeRyan

Everyone in our house is now out of work as we continue all this quarantine, self-shut-in and social distancing time based on the Coronavirus crisis.  Who has time to take temperatures, wear masks and buy toilet paper when there are YouTube channels to watch?  Ironically, I am busier now than when I was working full time five days a week.

Amidst the cacophony of YouTube talking heads, squawking pundits and shrieking propagandist channels were hidden gems:  some hosting politicians on the interview circuit.  Take this for example:  “How do we best provide support directly to the American people?  … We have seen a massive flow of cash being pushed to Wall Street to try to shore up the crash that has been happening, but as per usual what about the American people?”

Gabbard a0ee7Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)This was a statement made by Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard during her recent appearance on The Jimmy Dore Show. Gabbard appeared this week on two alternative media YouTube channels: Hill.TV’s Rising with Krystal & Saager and The Jimmy Dore Show, both of which are popular among progressives, Independents and others hungry for a different political perspective.  An enthusiastic Krystal Ball of Rising announced her segment as “Presidential candidate and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s plan to combat coronavirus crisis takes a unique approach:  A universal basic income for every American.”

UBI, seldom heard of outside academia a year ago, but now an acceptable political idea, is an acronym for the phrase Universal Basic Income, which was introduced early in the democratic presidential debates by then–candidate Andrew Yang, as part of his platform.  He stated that as president, essentially, he would provide UBI to every American, every single American, with $1000 a month, no questions asked.  There would be no means testing (no need to prove you need it), and if you don’t need it, it doesn’t matter; you get it anyway; a trickle-up economy from people, families and communities on up.

I had not heard of UBI before Yang inserted it into the public discourse via the debate stage.  Our now-familiar association with the acronym, UBI, is the result of Andrew Yang’s proposal, stated on live television during the debates.   There is a term for this: it’s called the Overton Window in political theory; meaning, it is now an accepted political idea to be discussed with some seriousness.  UBI has become a policy talking point for former and current Democratic presidential candidates who either totally oppose it, totally support it, or totally ignore it.

Speaking of current democratic presidential candidates, Tulsi Gabbard is still one.  Jimmy Dore, Krystal, and Saager all addressed her as one during their interview with Gabbard on their shows.  I thought I should remind us all.  One wouldn’t know it if watching CNN or MSNBC.  And she supports UBI specifically during this national “pandemic” emergency that has forced the closure of many businesses and schools and ended work for millions of employees, independent contractors and those who fall in-between.

UBI is not just a political idea, but a necessity, according to Gabbard.  As she stated on Rising,  “We need to make sure that [financial] stability is there, especially financial assistance” as “an emergency direct aid to every single American.”  Gabbard is continuing Yang’s legacy of acceptable discourse surrounding UBI.  It has weight now, in the form of an official resolution the Congresswoman has introduced.

“It is the everyday American who is left behind completely holding the bag ... most Americans don’t have that safety emergency bank account even for [the] short term.” -- Democratic Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard introduced the resolution on March 12, 2020.  "It encourages the congressional leadership to include in their package, immediately, a universal basic payment--$1000, [for] every adult American across the country, per month, for the duration of this crisis.”  We will soon find out, once the Relief Bill is finally approved, if Congress took the resolution seriously and if they voted to keep in Gabbard’s proposal.

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