An Open Letter to Donald Trump — 9/2/2020

September 2, 2020

Dear President Trump,

The unemployment rate may fall back into single digits this week, but the fact remains: tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs this year due to Covid-19. Millions of those jobs aren’t coming back, as many businesses close their doors for good. For a President who prides himself on being a job creator, this must be hard to see.

Fortunately, the Phoenix Congress has a shovel-ready solution for you. Our proposal, the Blueprint for a Better America, will create 300 million American Union Jobs. All adult Americans — every class, color, and creed — will receive an unconditional $300 each week to be a better American; children will receive a third of that. You’ve probably heard of universal basic income (UBI); it’s capitalism that doesn’t start at zero. Implementing UBI will lift every single American up above the poverty line.

Meeting people’s basic needs can unlock their potential.

Unfortunately, this is necessary because America’s safety net is full of holes; before Covid-19 there were nearly 40 million people living below the poverty line. UBI is a safety floor no one can fall beneath; basic economic security that will reduce the stress of tens of millions. Many Americans across the political spectrum have supported this over the years, including Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King, Jr., Milton Friedman, and Richard Nixon.

Paying for UBI will require additional taxes, but not to grow government. The Social Security Administration, which would be responsible for issuing these payments, currently has administrative expenses of 0.6%. The simplicity of a universal program will bring that down even lower.

Mr. President, you are the person who can persuade Republicans to accept that taxes are necessary to build a better America. As 1 John 3:17 asks, “If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need — how can God’s love reside in him?” Helping the poor is a moral duty.

The benefits will be tremendous. According to Scott Santens, who has researched UBI extensively, pilot projects found many benefits, including that:

  • Incentive to work did not decrease,
  • Crime is reduced, and
  • Parents bought more fruits and vegetables for their children.

These, and other important boons, can be replicated across our great nation. It is important that this program be universal, Mr. President. We saw what happened with the CARES ACT — many Americans did not receive the stimulus checks bearing your name, including many in need. To truly end poverty, there can be no additional red tape or bureaucracy.

Everyone gets an American Union Job.

Everyone gets an extra $300 a week.

Mr. President, you can also accomplish what Barack Obama didn’t, and begin to decouple insurance and employment. American Union Jobs will include the option to buy health insurance, a public option accessible to every single American, no matter where they live or their employment status. (More on that in an upcoming letter.)

$300 per week is not enough for anyone to live a glamorous lifestyle, but in thousands of cities and towns across America, the infusion of money will spark a trickle-up economic revitalization. Small businesses will find their neighbors have discretionary income to spend; entrepreneurs will start new ventures, seeking to reap the fruits of capitalism. Mr. President, you can be the one to facilitate the greatest economic recovery in history, if you sign our legislation.

Tonight, more than 12 million American children will go to sleep in poverty. In New York City alone, more than 100,000 students are homeless. Not from of any personal failing or fault of their own, but solely because of what Warren Buffett has called the “ovarian lottery.”

We can do better by America’s children, we can help all of them to thrive, with universal basic income. And since we have the ability to do so, we have a moral duty to act.

Will you build our Blueprint, and end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars?

Respectfully yours,

Phoenix Congress 2020

(Read the September 3, 2020 open letter to Donald Trump)

Other articles on Medium:

A call to action around Martin Luther King, Jr.’s triple evils: The Marginalized Must Unionize in 2020

A look at our duties as Americans and the legislation they inspire; The Blueprint for a Better America

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Phoenix Congress

Phoenix Congress

Challenging the duopoly with crowdsourced legislative solutions since 2019.