What would you do with a free $1,000 each month? Discussing an income floor at the DNC

Columbia fellow Andy Stern joined Josh Zepps for a Salon Facebook Live chat on Universal Basic Income

Published July 27, 2016 1:22AM (EDT)

What would happen if the government handed out a monthly check to every person in the country?

It might sound novel, but the idea of a Universal Basic Income isn't new — thinkers like Martin Luther King and conservative economist Milton Friedman championed the concept, and Finland and the Netherlands will run experimental pilot programs in 2017. 

Andy Stern, a senior fellow at Columbia University and the author of "Raising The Floor," thinks that the best way to help workers deal with the growing impact of automation on the labor force is the institution of a Universal Basic Income program. Stern discussed government-subsidized minimum incomes with moderator Josh Zepps at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in a Facebook Live chat hosted by Salon.

"It won't end work, it won't be a substitute for work," Stern explained. "But it will be a big supplement to work."

"The belief is that, if you trust people and if you believe in the dignity of people's own lives, then you give them choices," he continued. "That's a conservative idea, but I think it's a growing, growing idea around the country right now."

So how would Americans react if everyone had a guaranteed source of money?

Zepps suggested an artistic "leisure class" might emerge were the policy put in place... Or maybe people would just sit around, collect their $1,000 check, and play "Pokemon Go" all day.

Watch the full video above.

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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By Michael Garofalo

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Andy Stern Dnc 16 Elections 2016 Facebook Live Josh Zepps Original Video Universal Basic Income