Case for Equity
The case for cash assistance has gained traction recently due to the increased recognition of the impacts of an automating economy and the seemingly intractable and ongoing economic downturn of many communities. These trends are disproportionately impacting communities of color, rural communities, and deindustrializing areas like Rust Belt communities. The argument for cash assistance is that it would provide a source of income for people that would allow for the procurement of basic needs, and/or provide a mechanism for lifting millions of children out of poverty. While such a policy would provide a significant benefit to communities of color (which have been hardest hit by the pandemic and prior economic shifts), such a policy would also be of immense benefit to the growing number of white Americans who have found themselves experiencing the same destabilizing effects that have plagued communities of color for decades. Whether cash assistance is the answer to these issues will likely continue to be the subject of debate. Nonetheless, it is increasingly evident that we are headed towards a future where reimagining the social safety net will include looking at wide-scale initiatives that stave off the impacts of poverty and other social ills for huge swaths of the population.