The Washington, D.C. council just approved a measure to raise the District’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2020. Inside the measure was an amendment to study another proposal in which the District would provide a basic income for residents.
Council member David Grosso voted in favor of the $15 an hour minimum wage but argued that that wasn’t sufficient, even suggesting a minimum wage as high as $50/hour. He also argued in favor of a “basic income.” He explained:
“Fifteen dollars at full time is $2,400 a month. That is not enough to actually live in the District of Columbia. When you add transportation, health care, education, housing to all of these costs – then what we really need to be looking at is what it actual cost to live here is and to live a meaningful life here… And we shouldn’t be putting the burden solely on our businesses to make this happen. Instead we need to look at it comprehensively and that’s what this study will allow us to do. To see how we can make sure that everyone who wants to work and live in the District of Columbia can actually afford to do so.”
Since he argued that $15 an hour was not enough to support D.C. residents, he offered another option, one that would involve the District providing people with a basic income:
“In order to comprehensively address the need of our residents we should consider all avenues, to include transferring away from the traditional welfare system into a minimum income system… A minimum income system is an alternative social welfare provision with the basic idea of providing a floor of income upon which residents can build other sources of revenue.”
Zero Hedge reported that in anticipation of the minimum wage hikes in D.C., already half of the District’s businesses have cut employee hours or laid off workers since 2014.