Chicago cAN ACT ON the idea of a guaranteed basic income.

“A drop in the bucket,” someone wrote me in response to Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot budget proposal of a $31.5 million pool to provide $500 a month to 5,000 COVID-affected low-income families for one year.

“I agree. But this will be the biggest plan for a guaranteed direct cash payment to poor folks in the country,” I said.

And that’s really the point.

Mayor Lightfoot has signed on to the concept of a guaranteed income even if it’s baby steps.

The program would provide relief for Chicago’s poorest families.

A direct cash payment of $500 a month makes a real difference to people trying to make the rent and put food on the table.

The idea of a universal basic income is one whose time has come. Past due, really.

It should be a national program.

Some members of the Chicago city council have claimed the Mayor has “plagiarized” the idea or has “copied” it.

That is just typical Chicago politics and doesn’t matter much as long as the alders pass it as part of the budget.

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