Jack Dorsey Makes a $3 Million Donation to Universal Basic Income ProgramJuly 17, 2020
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is making a $3 million donation to a Universal Basic Income pilot program. The program is run by a coalition of mayors from 15 cities. The mayors, led by Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, created the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income coalition earlier this year. Its purpose is to help families in the US have a secure source of income despite the uncertainty and economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.
Mayor Tubbs also attributes the loss of reliable income to the frequent incidents of police brutality and the violent protests they spark. Together with the other mayors in the coalition, he feels that guaranteed basic income for the economically vulnerable is a necessity and that the government should improve the social safety measures in place. He has been running a guaranteed income program in Stockton since late 2018. Other cities that have been implementing guaranteed basic income measures include Long Beach, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Newark.
Jack Dorsey has made the contribution through his charitable limited liability company called #startsmall. He created the company in April this year by transferring $1 billion worth of his Square shares. Today, the company is worth a whopping $2.26 billion owing to the soaring value of Square shares. Dorsey says that most of this money will go towards offering relief to those worst hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. He also intends to use the money to fund programs dedicated to improving the education and health of girls.
Dorsey’s contribution to the Mayors for Guaranteed Income is not his first donation to a UBI program. He has also made an $11.2 million donation to GiveDirectly, a UBI program dedicated to alleviating economic distress among vulnerable families in Uganda and Kenya. The nonprofit is rather popular among tech companies in Silicon Valley owing to its encouraging work in these countries. It enjoys support from tech elites like Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, and giant tech companies like Google.
Tech leaders are particularly interested in GiveDirectly because it aims to cushion the vulnerable against the effects of unemployment caused by automation. Most tech CEOs feel that the products they create will lead to lower demand for human labor and that many people will lose employment due to this. They, therefore, support Universal Basic Income programs that will allow people a chance to adjust to the changes brought on by technology.
Dorsey also made a $5 million donation to Humanity Forward, an organization created by Andrew Yang, a former presidential candidate. Yang’s rallying call during his candidacy was for more attention to be paid to UBI programs. His nonprofit seeks to assuage the suffering caused to low-income families by the current health crisis. Dorsey’s contribution will also be used to serve the same purpose.
Mayor Tubbs feels that mayors should be at the frontline in advocating for UBI programs. According to him, mayors are the moral compass of the cities they lead, and they should be the first to support financial security programs for their residents. He says that although most of the mayors in the MGI are currently liberal-leaning or neutral, he expects that even conservative mayors will come around in due time. This is because poverty and economic insecurity is a problem that affects every state in the union despite political ties.
UBI programs have often been criticized as being impractical and unfeasible. The primary concern when it comes to UBI programs is finding a source of funding for them. Tubbs, however, contends that making some changes to the country’s budget can go a long way in freeing up money for social security causes. He argues, for instance, that the country’s current spending on war and the Pentagon is unjustifiable, and that some of that money would be put to better use with UBI programs. He also says that reversing tax cuts and raising the taxes for the very wealthy could increase the funds available for UBI programs.