After the initial weeks and months of the Coronavirus pandemic, every American, whether they knew it or not, became the beneficiary of a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) program. It's a concept that has existed for almost as long the United States has been in existence, with notable advocates ranging from Thomas Paine to Martin Luther King Jr. Now, a group of Mayors, led by former Stockton, CA mayor Michael Tubbs, have banded together to form Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. Together they have launched GBI pilot programs that see their constituents receiving monthly cash payments with no strings attached.
Directed by celebrated filmmaker Marc Levin and premiering at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival, It's Basic explores the efficacy of basic income by looking at participants in these programs and highlighting the myriad material benefits their families experience. The film also looks at the history of direct assistance programs in the US, the emergence of the "working poor" amidst a widening wealth gap, and the criticisms of GBI in a fraught political climate. Though there are many nuances and opinions on both sides of the debate, a simple truth emerges that the most efficient and effective way to combat poverty is to put money in the hands of those who need it most.
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