Bernie Sanders has proposed a variation on the idea of a guaranteed universal income. In his case, it is that we provide guaranteed jobs instead. As Cory Doctorow explains:
Bernie Sanders has a plan to solve America’s wage stagnation and its long-neglected infrastructure: tax the super-rich and massively profitable corporations, then use the money to fix the multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure overhand left behind by decades of neglect, and hire Americans at $15/hour, plus full healthcare, to do the work.
Business leaders have protested that this will make it hard for them to retain employees who are paid below-living wages and who don’t get health care. They’ve threatened to fire all their low-waged employees and replace them with robots.
Sanders hasn’t responded, but the solution is obvious: tax the robot-owners and use the money to hire their former workers to fix our nation’s crumbling roads, dams, waterworks, power-lines, schools, and other public infrastructure.
Progressive economist Dean Baker says that the plan is not without its problems and may need to be tweaked to be implementable.
Republicans and the oligarchs will of course reject this idea out of hand. But another big threat to it will come from the neoliberals who dominate the Democratic party who will find some way of undermining any progress that this idea might make. Capitalism depends on the existence of a large pool of underpaid and unemployed reserve labor. Anything that takes that source of profits away will be fought tooth and nail.