In many ways, the Covid-19 Pandemic has acted as a catalyst for social and economic trends that have been going on for years only to be accelerated within the past year. One of those trends is questioning what role the government should play in providing people with supplemented income when no other sources of income are available. For years, progressives have floated the idea of universal basic income to combat the jobs lost to outsourcing and automation and was one of the main platforms in Democratic candidate Andy Yang’s presidential run. When the job market is strong, the idea of universal income loses popularity, but when unemployment claims are going up by hundreds of thousands a week, suddenly the idea of universal basic starts to make more sense.
Many opponents of universal basic income argue citizens whose jobs were lost to outsourcing or automation can learn other skills such as coding skills. And at one time, I used to believe the best way to combat job loss was to simply retrain workers. But, not everyone can learn to code or learn skills that cannot be automated. Furthermore, jobs once thought as being safe from automation such as public relations and marketing jobs, are now being replaced by automation. The need for everyone to stay home during the pandemic has only increased companies’ change to automatizing every position that can possibly be automated. At this point, the need for a universal basic income is inevitable.