Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Insight
In the past, bold economic policies—such as those enshrined in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal—have paved a pathway to economic security for white families and individuals while creating barriers to well-being for people of color and women. Given that history, and the extent to which recent economic rules have reinforced historical inequities, we must ask a key question of any economic policy put forth today: How would this effort rectify historical, racially exclusionary policies and increase access to wealth, economic stability, and freedom for women and people of color? By tackling wealth inequality, we can ultimately put America on the road to greater racial and gender economic justice. Income is crucial for building wealth, but efforts to improve incomes alone will not close gaps in wealth along racial and gender lines. As such, we also need to consider how anti-Blackness, xenophobia, and sexism have rigged the rules of our economy to deny certain populations equal access to prosperity and liberation. This will enable us to have a more comprehensive discussion about intersectionality and the numerous issues that need to be addressed—in addition to boosting incomes—in order to create the conditions where everyone in the US truly has the ability to build wealth and thrive.

This paper compares guaranteed income proposals and proposes a multi-pronged approach to designing a guaranteed income policy that includes:

    • Dismantling narratives that dehumanize Black and brown people and question their deservedness to receive public funds;
    • Eliminating state-sponsored wealth extraction through our criminal justice system; and
    • Establishing a truth and reconciliation process in the US.
You can download and read the entire brief here.