"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Those are the key promises embedded in the US Declaration of Independence. But for the 41 million American adults who live in poverty, including nine million who have zero income whatsoever, the reality of life in the United States in 2018 is the “freedom” of an immiserating half-life of economic desperation that deprives them of health, education and a political voice.
How did the “American Dream” of economic and social mobility for “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” become a 21st century American delusion of rising infant mortality rates, plunging life expectancy and a growing, underclass of Americans trapped in poverty by a combination of racism, technological change and economic dislocation?
In this Olio, Phelim Kine explores America’s failure to respect the economic rights of its citizens and the urgent need for the adoption of a universal basic income to protect the growing numbers of Americans falling through the yawning gaps in an increasingly dysfunctional economic and social welfare system.