Advancing bipartisan ideas
for the economy of the future
Policymaking for the future of work
Our 21st century economy is evolving at a pace that threatens to leave many Americans behind instead of better off. Nearly all of the industries that lost a large share of their employees over the last ten years struggled to compete with advancements in technology.
Automation of common occupations, job displacement and transformation in global markets, and growing income inequality pose serious threats to an American society that continues to see work and value in a 20th century mindset.
Without policy adaptation that addresses these problems, the United States risks pushing more people into poverty without sufficient recourse, and compounding many of the social issues that are linked to poverty. Our government is approaching a defining choice in the face of these problems: adapt or decline.
Humanity Forward seeks to limit unnecessary poverty with Congress by advancing flexible and efficient policies with the future in mind. To better adapt our economy to unforseen challenges, the politics of the 21st century must spotlight direct cash policies for American citizens.
Futureproofing the 21st century economy
Universal Basic Income is an income support policy of recurring direct cash that reaches all or most citizens with no (or minimal) conditions.
An example of a universal basic income (UBI) implemented in the United States would be monthly payments to American adults that would set a minimum income floor for recipients above or near the federal poverty line.
UBI is a policy often proposed as a means to help Americans adapt to the rapidly changing labor market, which is displacing workers in common industries such as retail, manufacturing, and truck driving. Without a policy solution to the shirnking availability of these low-skill occupations, the United States runs the risk of experiencing a significant drop off in workforce participation.
By providing a universal income floor for every American, studies have found that unemployed workers are more likely to find full-time employment. Additionally, basic income recognizes the work of unpaid caretakers and injects cash into the circulation of local economies disaffected by recent economic trends.
Ensuring Financial security for Families
The child tax credit is a benefit granted to American taxpayers for each qualifying dependent child. Designed to help taxpayers support their families, this credit was expanded by the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021.
98% of children in the United States qualify to receive the child benefit, which is projected to cut child poverty by at least 45%. To its recipients, the child tax credit will be experienced in a similar way to a universal basic income: monthly direct payments to Americans.
Reducing child poverty has benefits beyond fulfilling the moral imperative of giving every child the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Lifting families out of poverty has proven to increase educational outcomes for children, improve mental health, and reduce substance abuse. These benefits also come at a bargain to the American taxpayer, providing $7 in projected savings for every $1 spent on reducing child poverty.
The child tax credit has been built upon and expanded several times from its original structure passed in 2001, and currently runs the risk of reverting to that form in 2025. Extending the child benefit, or making its current form permanent, would cement its place in federal law as one of the most effective modern laws for reducing poverty in America.
Direct Cash to boost consumer spending
Stimulus checks, also called economic impact payments, are direct cash payments from a federal or state government to citizens designed to stimulate the economy with increased consumer spending and preserve household financial security in an economic downturn.
Recent stimulus checks of $600 in December 2020 and $2400 in March 2021 created a 33% and 42% boost to consumer spending in the following weeks amid an American economy stalling due to health concerns from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Direct payments to citizens in an economic crisis provide the unemployed and others struggling to make ends meet with the means to cover basic expenses such as rent, groceries, and utilities without incurring the high administrative costs sometimes associated with unemployment insurance and similar social programs.
Stimulus checks provide an efficient means for Congress to increase consumer spending that is broadly popular across political divides, with 78% of Americans supporting the March 2021 stimulus checks, including 90% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans. The recent successes of these direct cash payments strengthens their case for future use as a tool for economic recovery.
Financial first aid in times of crisis
Automatic stabilizers are mechanisms built into government budgets, without any vote from legislators, that increase spending or decrease taxes when the economy slows.
In the context of Humanity Forward's policy goals, these stabilizers more specifically refer to automatically sending stimulus checks to American citizens during periods of economic hardship, acting as a financial form of first aid.
With a majority of Americans unable to afford an unexpected $500 expense, the automatic disbursements of payments in times of financial uncertainty can prevent evictions, foreclosures, and avoidable personal debt while providing a boost to consumer spending at the most critical junctures of economic uncertainty.
Establishing these automatic stimulus payments triggered by markers of an economic downturn can enable Congress to reduce unnecessary hardship for Americans and boost consumer spending, while also freeing up critical time to address a crisis.