S1E2 Universal Basic Income, COVID-19, and Maine

President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law on March 27, 2020. Contained within the bipartisan legislation was the establishment of direct cash payments for many Americans amounting to $1,200 with an additional $500 for each child. As Congress moves towards bipartisan agreement on a “phase 4” relief package, more direct cash payments have been agreed upon. On the global political landscape, Spain has recently announced that it is moving towards a permanent basic income program to aid workers and families affected by COVID19.  We sat down with philosopher and basic income scholar Dr. Michael Howard to discuss the policy matter of basic income and why basic income matters to Maine.

Dr. Michael Howard’s Webpage: https://umaine.edu/philosophy/faculty-staff/howardm/

Dr. Michael Howard’s Email: mhoward@maine.edu

[00:00:00] Daniel Soucier: Hello and welcome back to Maine Policy Matters, the official podcast of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, where we discuss the policy matters that are most important to Maine’s people and why Maine policy matters at the local, state, and national levels. My name is Daniel Soucier and I’ll be your host.

On June 19th, 2019 governor Janet Mills signed lD 1324 into law. The bill created a committee to study the benefits and feasibility for social safety net reform in Maine. That could include a basic income program for the state. On the national political stage, entrepreneur, Andrew Yang made the Freedom Dividend a $1,000 per month stipend for every American adult.

The major pillar of his 2020 Democrat primary campaign recently due to the intense economic distress felt across the world due to the Coronavirus pandemic countries have embraced experimenting with basic income to address workers and families battered by the virus. In the CARES Act, Congress appropriated direct cash payments of $1,200 from most adults and $500 for each child. In Spain, the government is moving forward to create a permanent basic income program to address the long-term economic stress brought on by Covid-19. We sat down with Dr. Michael Howard, a philosopher at the University of Maine, who is the co-editor of the Journal Basic Income Studies, and is also the national coordinator for the United States Basic Income Guarantee Network to find out what basic income is, what type of pilot programs exist in the United States and across the globe, and the confluence of basic income policies with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Michael, thank you so much for joining us today to discuss UBI as a policy matter at the local, state, and national level, and why UBI matters for the state of Maine.

[00:02:13] Michael Howard: Yeah, I’m glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

[00:02:15] Daniel Soucier: Michael, I’ve noticed in just about every media outlet over the past year, there has been discussions of universal basic income, which some folks refer to as UBI or basic income, and we’ll refer to it in all those ways throughout this podcast.

A lot of times these media reports tend to be vague and oftentimes they mischaracterize universal basic income. So can you explain for us the major tenants of UBI and does it have supporters on both sides of the political aisle?

[00:02:46] Michael Howard: Yeah. The universal basic income as scholars refer to it is one kind of minimum income guarantee.

It’s distinctive features are that it is individual. It goes to each person and not to households. It is universal. Everyone gets it regardless of age, wealth, or income. And it is not means tested. It is also unconditional. It is not conditional on any behavioral requirements such as willingness to work or look for work or having been laid off or pursuing some particular course of study or approved volunteer work.

And it is in the form of cash rather than an in-kind benefits such as food stamps. There are variants of a minimum income guarantee. And when you mentioned the confusion sometimes people use basic income to refer to some other forms of minimum income guarantee, such as a negative income tax, which is like a basic universal basic income, but it is phased out as income from other sources rises.

So it goes to the people who need it, but not to people who were above a certain threshold. And the earned income tax credit is similar to a negative income tax, but it is in addition to being phased out at higher incomes, is conditional on working for wages and it phases in as one earns more income and then phases out as one’s income continues to rise.

So the earned income tax credit, while it is responsible for lifting a lot of people out of poverty, it still leaves a lot of people in poverty who are not eligible. Now universal basic income has supporters across the political spectrum. On the political left, you have groups like Black Lives Matter that have endorsed basic income. You have on the right libertarians like Charles Murray, who’s written a book supporting a basic income. So in a certain sense, there’s a broad support for the general idea, but when you get into the policy details, you find considerable difference between the kind of basic income people want on different parts of the political spectrum.

[00:04:54] Daniel Soucier: Wow. Thank you so much for clearing that up for us. So UBI seems to be this unique and innovative policy solution that in recent times have been circling around both national and state level, even in the state of Maine. And so we recently saw entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who made UBI a major part of his platform as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and here in Maine, governor Janet Mills signed LB 1324 into law just this past June in this established committee to study the benefits and feasibility for starting a universal basic income for the state of Maine. So are there currently UBI programs in place right now in the United States or maybe even globally, and if so, are those programs able to achieve their desired policy effects?

[00:05:48] Michael Howard: Yeah, let me start with the the LD 1324 here in Maine. It’s a matter of full disclosure. I’m on that committee. And we’ve only had one meeting and partly because of the pandemic and partly because of the business that the legislature’s engaged in, we’ve only met once and things are on hold right now.

But the bill isn’t actually necessarily looking at universal basic income at the state level. It’s a bill to explore ways to enhance basic income security and that sort of broad sense of ensuring that everybody has basic necessities covered. But it might be done through an expansion of the earned income tax credit, making it refundable.

There are lots of different things that the committee’s looking at. And I suspect we might look at ways to move in the direction of basic income like policies, but it’s really too early to tell where we’re going with that committee at this stage. The only long-term government, universal basic income policy, I think anywhere in the world is Alaska’s permanent fund dividend.

And I co-edited two books on the permanent fund dividend. It’s not a full universal basic income in the sense of being adequate for basic needs. But since the 1980s it has given every Alaskan, including children between a thousand and $2,000 annually. Based on the performance of the Alaska Permanent Fund, which was capitalized from Alaska’s Oil Wealth. The policy contributes to Alaska being a state with relatively low poverty and relatively low inequality, and it’s extremely popular.

It’s almost the third rail of Alaska politics. It was introduced by a Republican governor with support from Democrats and the legislatures as well as Republicans. So that’s a policy that’s very interesting to look at. And currently there’s a minimum income pilot project underway in Stockton, California, where a sample of residents in Stockton are receiving $500 a month for an extended period of time. And there are some initial results that show it’s quite promising. What people find is that this money is not wasted. People at the ground level know what their needs are. And about 40% of them are using it for food. It’s a way that it highlights the amount of food insecurity, even with existing welfare policies in place, that when given some extra cash, people spend it on food, they spend it on healthier food.

So that’s an experiment to watch. And there’s planning for a project underway in Oakland, California that’s privately financed. There’s talk about a pilot project in Chicago. Our neighbors to the north in Ontario launched a very serious basic income pilot project, and unfortunately it was brought to a halt by the incoming Ford government.

That’s not really going to go further, but there’s enough initial evidence from that to, to be worth exploring. And although not a government program, the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina have given regular cash payments to all tribal members over a fairly long period of time. And those the results of that have been studied and people have found that it’s not so much a handout as it is a hand up.

Recipients experience better mental health results better results in finishing school, finding their way into meaningful employment. And so the cash payments are really more of an investment in human capital. And that’s one ex-another experiment that people point to. So it’s been around for a while and there’s a fair amount of evidence of what people would actually do if they received a universal basic income.

[00:09:33] Daniel Soucier: So that’s fascinating. So there’s some sort of precedent out there. There are some examples to point to. And with this increased media attention, this increased political attention for ubi as a policy option as a means to reform the social safety net. So does UBI draw a larger, a longer history? Has this, is this a fairly new idea? Did it, start percolating up with the Alaska permanent fund and discussions around that? Or is there a longer history here for universal basic income discussions?

[00:10:06] Michael Howard: It actually goes back quite a ways. The American Revolutionary, Thomas Payne is one of the earliest proponents of a universal cash payment in the form of a lump sum to be paid at the age of maturity and an old age pension. And this was gonna be based in his proposal on a tax, on the rent from land. Payne’s idea was that once the land is bought up by a minority of the population other people are excluded from what ought to be thought of as what nature provides to all of us in common, the land.

And those who have appropriated the land owe a compensation to the people who’ve been excluded. And so his idea was you give a lump sum and maturity and an old age pension so that nobody is thrust into poverty from lack of access to the commons. In the 20th century, a guaranteed minimum income, it was in the form of a negative income tax, was proposed on the political right by economists, Milton Friedman.

And it was supported on the left by Martin Luther King Jr. and many other people. George McGovern in his presidential campaign favored what he called a demo grant, which was a kind of a minimum income guarantee to all citizens. And after that presidential election, Richard Nixon proposed a family assistance plan, which would guarantee a minimum income for all. Now, that included some work requirements and it failed to pass the Congress, but it came out of that milu of discussion about guaranteed minimum income. And then the idea was faded into the background for quite a while but more recently late 20th century in the last couple of decades.

Partly in response to persistent poverty in all the countries with advanced welfare states, partly in response to fears of job loss due to artificial intelligence and automation. And partly to regardless of how the automation will unfold the growing precarity of employment, more people in part-time and temporary jobs without benefits.

There’s been interest in some kind of floor to be put under all earned income, and we could add to that concerns about the ecological limits to growth. The way that capitalist economies have dealt with poverty and low wages is to try to increase the pie. So capitalists still keep their profits and workers get a trickle down from the growing economy, but, if we face ecological limits to growth, then we have to find new solutions to a growing population, more people coming to the labor market, but perhaps fewer full-time well-paid jobs there for them.

As evidence of the sort of growing interest, we see pilot projects popping up all over the world from India, which had a major pilot project. Namibia in Southern Africa, Finland, about a year ago, had a pilot project Ontario, I mentioned in Stockton, Oakland and California. Mississippi has a pilot project underway, and there’s been considerable interest in UBI across European countries Germany, Italy, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland have had either discussion about pilot projects or referenda showing a widespread public interest. So it’s really on the agenda. And of course, Andrew Yang’s campaign in the United States has put it on the political agenda here in a way that it hasn’t been for a very long time.

[00:13:44] Daniel Soucier: As an American Revolution specialist, I find it absolutely fascinating that ideas circling around basic income can be traced back to the founding of the country. So it seems like there’s this bipartisan support for UBI today and his historically over time as well. And there are some, pilot projects in place for UBI policies at local, state, and national levels throughout the United States and in the world.

So what are the objections then, to look at the other side of the coin? What are the objections to universal basic income from either, political, economic, or maybe philosophical stem.

[00:14:26] Michael Howard: Yeah. I think the two major objections one is economic and the other is moral. The economic objection you often hear is that it would cost too much.

For example, if you take the US population of roughly 330 million and multiply that by say $12,000, which is a ballpark figure that some people would propose for a basic income. You got a figure of nearly 4 trillion dollars and that just people’s throw up their hands and say, who could afford that?

Now $12,000 is not enough for an individual to live on, but you can imagine a family of four with $48,000 they might be able to meet a lot of their basic needs with that. If children got only half of what adults receive, which is quite commonly the proposal, you get a amount for parents, maybe half that for children, the family of four would receive 36,000, but the gross cost would be quite a bit less than 4 trillion.

Andrew Yang’s proposal didn’t have anything for children, so it would be significantly less, but you’re still talking about a pretty large gross cost somewhere in the trillions. One response to this gross cost worry is to point out that in a well-designed basic income scheme, the money going to those above a certain threshold would be routinely clawed back in taxes.

So the net cost to the taxpayers would be closer to maybe a sixth of the gross cost that would be from my, 4 trillion figure, it’d be a little over half a trillion. Now that’s still a lot of money, but it’s not the apparent budget, busting amount of the gross cost. And if people find the gross cost nevertheless to be an insurmountable problem, a negative income tax would achieve the minimum income guarantee for what amounts to the net cost of a universal basic income.

And actually in practice even the net cost would be substantially less because some of the other cash transfers of the current welfare state would become redundant. It’s not clear why you would need an earned income tax credit or a food stamp program if everybody had a universal basic income. I think the cost argument is really much overstated most of the time.

But that is when you just look at the, it’s you look at university tuition, at the prestigious private colleges and you say, oh my God, $60,000 a year. I can’t afford that. You look at the fine print and there are always scholarships, there are loans, and it becomes manageable for quite a few people to still go to a one of those schools.

Now, the moral objection actually may be the more difficult one to overcome, and this is the objection that people have to quote giving people something for nothing. Why should able-bodied people who are able to work be given cash that’s not conditional on their doing any work. Now the main response to this point is to call attention to the rather narrow conception of work that we tend to take for granted. Many people make contributions to society all the time but they’re not paid. The most important example of this is people staying at home and raising their children. Most often these are women and they are often economically dependent on their husbands if they have a husband.

If they don’t, they’re often in extreme poverty. And moreover, those who are in families with husbands, they are often trapped in situations of domestic violence. So basic income would first of all recognize that they’re doing important work and it would give them an option to leave if they’re in a situation that is really not tolerable.

So that’s one kind of feminist argument for a basic income that there’s work going on, it’s not paid. It may in fact be exploited, and this is a way to address that exploitation. There are other kinds of work that people do that is unpaid and not recognized. That has to do with artistic creativity, volunteerism, and community.

This would be a way to encourage, recognize that and enable people to do it who otherwise would not be able to do it. A further response is to argue that with support from some of the past pilot projects there will not be a catastrophic number of people dropping out of paid employment. On the contrary, a universal basic income can enable people to enter the labor market, facilitating transportation, tools, training, and flexibility in choosing between full and part-time work while attending to childcare and dealing with other necessities of why.

[00:19:25] Daniel Soucier: So I find these pilot projects and how people are spending the money to be absolutely fascinating and shows the different ways that UBI could be implemented and have people utilize that income for a variety of reasons. Now with recent news, we would be remiss not to discuss the convergence of UBI policy with the novel Coronavirus Pandemic.

Governors throughout the country, including Maine, have issued widespread stay-at-home orders due to Covid-19, and there’s been vast economic disruptions in the United States and across the globe. So Congress has recently passed the CARES Act, which is a 2.2 trillion economic relief package that includes $1,200 payments for many Americans, as well as $500 for each child and prior to its passage, we saw proposals for unconditional cast payments to address the crisis, not only from more progressive liberals like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but also from conservatives like Mitt Romney. Now as Congress is coming to consensus on a fourth phase of Covid- 19 economic relief that includes more direct payments, it makes me wonder what the role of UBI has what ability UBI has to play in times of national emergencies, such as the novel Coronavirus Pandemic to provide citizens with some sort of economic stability.

[00:20:50] Michael Howard: Yeah, I think it has an important role to play. Of course we don’t understand enough about the virus to know when the stay-at-home orders can be safely lifted. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in China as restrictions, which have been much tighter than in the United States, are slowly lifted.

After having reached zero new cases, at least if you accept the government reports there, will the virus come roaring back requiring a retightening of restrictions? In the United States, we’re nowhere near the peak of infections and even further from zero new cases. So I think this could go on for months.

A one-time payment of $1,200 is clearly not gonna be enough to relieve the economic distress and unemployment compensation, which is another part of that package. Even if it’s liberalized to include some self-employed people as the law included, it still leaves out many people who are not employed when the crisis began and they’re now, they can’t get jobs ’cause there are no jobs to be had.

So not only will people be suffering with no income, the economy will be further weakened from lack of demand. The most straightforward method to restore confidence, stimulate demand, and reach all the people who are needing help, and to do this with a minimum of bureaucratic delay is to send checks to everyone on a regular basis until the lockdown can be safely lifted.

The House Financial Affairs committee proposed $2,000 to adults and a thousand dollars to children for the duration of the crisis. That’s, I think, something in that ballpark is what we need. Now, of course rich people don’t need it. People will say, why do you give it to everybody? But I think we can address that problem rather easily by just taxing that money back from those who are still earning substantial incomes by the end of the year.

That seems to me to be the solution to the, giving it to people who don’t need it, just as in, in a well designed basic income scheme, that scheme that’s permanent. You build that into the integration of the tax code together with the income payments.

[00:23:05] Daniel Soucier: Interesting. So as you noted before, one of the common objections to universal basic income is the claim that it would disincentivize working for wages and cause people to become comfortable staying at home.

However, it seems like in the times of a pandemic that UBI could be a valuable tool in policymakers tool chest for combating the spread of disease. What role do you think UBI can play as a public health policy to help flatten the curve?

[00:23:34] Michael Howard: Yeah, exactly. The usual objections to basic income simply aren’t relevant in this situation.

We want to incentivize people to stay home and not to seek employment, or to put it more accurately, most people don’t need an incentive to stay home. The jobs have vanished as non-essential businesses have been closed. The problem is to enable people to survive during the lockdown without spreading the infection.

I can add that the other objection, the cost objection is much less relevant in the current context. We’ve seen in space of a week, the Congress appropriated over $2 trillion without a thought as to where the money would come from. Apparently it’s just gonna be deficit spending. Now, in normal times, the worry would be that such spending would be inflationary, but our situation now is the threat of deflation.

Plunging ever deeper into a recession, we may very shortly be facing higher unemployment rates than during the Great Depression. So this is not a time to worry about inflation. It is a time to worry about keeping people economically secure in their homes and in their small businesses so that there is an economy left to rebuild when the virus has passed.

[00:24:59] Daniel Soucier: So you’ve discussed earlier that there are several programs at local, state, and national levels throughout the world for direct basic income payments. Now, at least on a temporary basis, right? The United States of America is experimenting with UBI as a public health and economic policy to combat novel Coronavirus and provide economic relief to millions of Americans once the pandemic subsides. What do you expect that America’s gonna learn from this experiment with temporary UBI?

[00:25:31] Michael Howard: Yeah. First, one big caveat. As with other, universal basic income experiments. We won’t know whether the way people behave with a guaranteed income that is temporary is the way that they would behave if the income were permanent.

And all the proposals for this are for a temporary emergency, basic income. So that’s an unknown. That said the experiment would be unique in that it would include the entire country. All of these previous experiments have been either a sample population or maybe, rare cases, a whole town as in Dauphin, Manitoba.

A limitation of these earlier minimum income experiments, in addition to there being temporary, was that they were limited to particular cities. So the systemic effects on the labor market of everyone receiving the guarantee are not observable. But if the entire country gets a universal basic income, then we’ll have a chance to see for some period of time what some of those systemic effects might be.

For example, we might find that employers will need to make some jobs more attractive in order to get people to take them on. Right now, people, if they have no choice but to take the job that’s on offer or they have no income at all. That’s a choice that significant numbers of people won’t have if everybody’s getting a basic income.

And it gives a little more bargaining power to the worker in relationship to the employer for the conditions of work. And we might be able to see some more of that effect if a universal income is spread throughout the whole economy.

[00:27:13] Daniel Soucier: That’s quite thought provoking. Unknowing, the, we don’t really know how this is gonna play out and but we will see what some of the systematic effects are as this unfolds.

As many Americans have never really recovered from the economic stress brought on by the 2008 Great Recession have experienced a rather precarious work life over the past decade or more. So do you think that the millions of individuals that are now suddenly experiencing temporary job loss may increase their empathy with individuals who are struggling on a more regular basis with economic security? And could this perhaps lead into some policy changes at either the local, state, or national level?

[00:27:57] Michael Howard: I would hope that would be the effect. The phrase I hear a lot during this pandemic is, we’re all in this together. I think it’s not quite true. Some people have no choice but to report for essential work.

And some of them, like the frontline healthcare workers people in food production and transport they don’t have any choice but to show up and they’re doing so often that considerable risk to themselves and their families. On the other hand, you have some people who are privileged enough that they can retreat to their country homes and just ride it out.

So the risk is very unequally distributed. Nevertheless, the threat of illness is real for all of us, and most of us are being affected in our family lives, our economic security, or our work. Many of us who are still working or working at home that could bring us together and break down some of the usual divisions that separate us between the employed and the unemployed, or between those who work at home and those who work outside the home. And I’m thinking work here again, in a broader sense of just paid employment. People who do homework, who take care of their children. If everybody’s at home, we’re all doing a little more of that kind of work. And I think it may increase sympathy and understanding both within families and across some of the usual divisions in society. Also having to live for some period of time on a fraction of one’s normal income, which many people will have to do, may educate many people about what it is like to survive on a low income. And this could lead to more generous and less restrictive policies down the road. But a lot of this depends on the politics, both during and after the pandemic.

And I don’t think it’s clear what that response will be. In Hungary, Victor Orban has used the pandemic as an excuse to start ruling by decree. Basically, it’s declared a dictatorship, so you have, on the one hand, the politics of fear and authoritarianism, but I would hope in this country that instead we would take the path of politics, of hope and solidarity instead.

[00:30:08] Daniel Soucier: So it seems like UBI might be able to be used by policy makers to help minimize some of the effects happening by novel coronavirus. However, I’ve noticed on the news that many policymakers are skeptical that these direct cash payments are a good idea during the Coronavirus pandemic because there, there’s a fear that once these policies are in place, even if they’re temporary, that they’re gonna be hard to roll back.

But as you’ve noted that, we’re not sure how long the pandemic’s going to last for. Some experts have suggested it could be as long as 12 to 18 months from now. And if that’s the case, there certainly will be some intense economic distress for an unknown period of time. So even once the virus is battled back a bit, there’s still gonna be some economic ripples to come out of this and this is most noted by the fact that in the first two weeks of these stay at home orders, there’s been nearly 10 million new unemployment plans, which is a truly unprecedented figure. So what do you think the role of UBI could be in restarting the American economy after the pandemic subsides?

[00:31:19] Michael Howard: Yeah. I think it, it actually won’t be hard to repeal ’cause you can simply stipulate in the law that the payments will end when the crisis is passed. But people may find that there is, and I think people may find there’s much less labor market withdrawal and the critics fear. Doctors are reporting to work even when they’re facing life-threatening conditions because they’re committed to work, they have a dedication. And in normal times, most people want incomes above $12,000 per year. So they will seek employment above the basic income as soon as it’s available. As the crisis ends, we may find that it would be desirable to continue the basic income, or we may find that we taper it down to a lower level so we still have an income floor, but not what we need when we have mass unemployment. Or we may decide to phase it out altogether, but as you suggest it, it may be necessary after the pandemic is over to maintain income support until businesses can get back into full operation and people can deal with accumulated debts.

The future is so clouded that we really can’t know exactly what we’re dealing with. But one thing we can see right away is that to rely on the existing structures of the welfare state, in particular the unemployment compensation system it’s not prepared to handle a crisis like this.

The bureaucracy is too small to handle this deluge of applications. And more importantly, there are just lots of people who don’t meet the bureaucratic requirements to receive unemployment payments. Many people are just gonna fall between the cracks. So we need something else that’s more efficient, more tailored to the across the board needs that everybody’s experiencing and I think we’re likely to see something like a part, a temporary universal basic income, regular cash payments to everyone on the agenda for the fourth phase of the response to this crisis.

[00:33:30] Daniel Soucier: That’s very interesting. So before we, before our time together is over it’s not every day that we get to sit down with a trained philosopher to discuss what might come out of the coronavirus pandemic if it does indeed extend longer than a month or two. Clearly there’s gonna be some need for innovative policy responses that’s gonna allow at least a portion of people to return return back to the typical traditional workplace from either working at home or being dislocated from work if the United States is gonna keep the economic engine from failing. But what do you see as the long term, maybe social, political, or lifestyle changes that might come out of the Covid-19 crisis?

[00:34:16] Michael Howard: Yeah. As you say some essential work will need to be done throughout the shutdown. People need to eat and be housed. There are the other usual health emergencies that will continue to arise. Essential infrastructure will need to be repaired. That includes the communications infrastructure that we’re increasingly relying on. And our economy is so integrated into the world market that there’s not going to be any rapid decoupling of the United States from the world market, and they’re going to need to be manufacturing and transport across national lines.

It’s really the whole world is in this thing together. But, in the context of the pandemic ,I think interestingly, the role of a basic income may be the opposite of what is usually thought of. Basic income advocates often argue that job losses due to artificial intelligence and automation combined with lower levels of consumption if we are not to overshoot the planet’s ecological limits, that these two things point toward people working less, sharing the remaining work more, and spending less time, less spending, less money on consumer goods and enjoying more leisure and quality time in their communities. A basic income as normally conceived can facilitate all of these by partially decoupling income from paid employment.

If part of your income is from a basic income, and part is from wages, then you can share a job more easily than if all of your income has to come from that job. However, during the pandemic, we don’t want to maximize the participation of everyone in the paid labor market. That would only increase exposure to the virus. Rather, we want to maximize non-participation and keep the number employed doing the essential tasks to the minimum. Interestingly, an emergency universal basic income in combination with the right other policies can do that. But for those kept from employment, the basic income needs to be regular and it needs to be large enough to enable people to survive.

That’s why I think if this, if the lockdown continues for a more extended period of time, you really have to look at unconditional cash payments going out. Beyond just the onetime payment that people are supposed to be receiving.

[00:36:49] Daniel Soucier: Michael, thank you so much for virtually sitting down with us today to discuss Maine policy matters and why UBI matters to the state of Maine.

[00:36:59] Michael Howard: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

[00:37:04] Daniel Soucier: Thank you for joining us. We would like to thank our sponsor, Maine Policy Review for bringing Maine Policy Matters podcast to you. You can find this and all of our episodes where podcasts are hosted, including SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play. Remember to follow the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center on social media and drop us a direct message to express your support, provide feedback, or let us know what main policy matters to you. This is Daniel Soucier, and I’ll see you next time on Maine Policy Matters.

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