The Differences Between UBI and Guaranteed Income Reveal the Importance of Equity

Many anti-poverty groups agree that strategically targeted guaranteed income, not universal basic income, is the best path forward to ending poverty, advancing gender and racial equity and supporting low-income Americans.

That’s why guaranteed income programs like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT) focus on low-income Black women to address the deeply entrenched economic inequities caused by systemic racism and sexism. MMT moms have used their monthly payments to go back to school, find stable housing, escape predatory cycles of debt and start their own businesses.

Guaranteed Income As a Path Towards Gender and Racial Justice

Guaranteed income is an essential strategy for centering Black women and their families. It involves consistent payments directed to specific groups, like Black women living in poverty, in order to address economic inequities.

It’s one component of the Black Women Best framework, which has officially entered mainstream political awareness. And it’s a particularly salient time to talk economic solutions: Over two-thirds of voters say the economy is their top concern ahead of the November midterm elections.

Front and Center: How the Child Tax Credit and Guaranteed Income “Help Mothers Like Me Get Out of a Continuous Cycle of Poverty”

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“I carry a really heavy load as a single mom. There’s no one else—everything is on me. So it helped ease my burden a lot when I started getting the monthly child tax credits last year.”

Front and Center: Before a Guaranteed Income and the Child Tax Credit, “I Used To Have to Work Four or Five Jobs To Make Ends Meet”

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“Getting to be part of the Mother’s Trust this year did a lot for me and my family. There’s the financial part that’s so important, but it also helped me show up better for my kids. I don’t think I ever let them down before, but I used to have to work four or five jobs to make ends meet. Having the income coming in on top of my wages from work gave me more time to spend with them since I didn’t have to work extra hours to make sure they had what they needed. It just helped me build myself up—financially, mentally, emotionally—everything you need to really build yourself up.”

The Child Tax Credit Proved Unrestricted Cash Keeps Families Out of Poverty. Without It, Low-Income Families Are Struggling

As the childhood poverty rate rises—from 12 percent in December to 17 percent in January—Black and Latino families are being hit the hardest by the end of the child tax credit payments. Experts estimate that the poverty rate for Black and Latino children will jump to over 25 percent. One reason the CTC was so successful in reducing poverty rates is because it puts unrestricted cash directly into the hands of people who need it most. Over 90 percent of low-income families used the CTC to afford basic needs—food, clothing, school supplies, utilities and rent.

“If I could talk to President Biden, I would tell him that he should make the child tax credit permanent, because so many people are still unemployed and the pandemic is not over,” revealed one low-income mom, I’esha. “And people need help even without a pandemic going on.”

Front and Center: Guaranteed Income Helped Amber Be a Better “All-Around Support System” for her Kids

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“Being part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust helped me out a lot with my bills. It helped me and my kids so much and gave us a lot of support during the pandemic. It also helped me pay for some investments in my own side business of baking.”

Front and Center: Two Years After Receiving Guaranteed Income, This Family Is Still Feeling the Benefits

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“I was in the very first round of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which started three years ago. So it’s been about two years since I stopped getting the guaranteed income payments, but the program allowed me to do so much that’s still benefiting me now. I was able to move out of subsidized housing and into my own place, I was able to get a more reliable car, I did a little traveling with my kids—it allowed me to be able to provide better for them.”

Build Back Better Is in Peril. Low-income Families Can’t Afford To Lose It

As families hope Democratic leadership will find a different path to pass Build Back Better policies like childcare or paid leave, another revolutionary policy is just beginning to enter mainstream awareness: guaranteed income.

Guaranteed income involves regular payments directed to specific marginalized groups, as a way to address economic inequities caused by systemic racism and sexism. Economic justice organizations like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust argue that a federal guaranteed income program would not just help low-income families pay their bills, but also reduce financial stress and set their families up for long-term success. 

Front and Center: “Being Part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust Has Lifted a Burden Off My Shoulders as a Mom”

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

“Being part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust has really lifted a burden off my shoulders as a mom. And the Trust on top of the [child tax credit] has been so necessary. One helps me pay my bills; the other helps me put away a little bit for the hard times.”