Facebook's Co-Founder on How to End Poverty in the U.S.

March 13, 2018
Updated 14d ago

This generation could potentially end poverty “once and for all in the United States.” That’s according to Chris Hughes, author of “Fair Shot” and co-founder of Facebook.

His radical plan to get there? A guaranteed income of $500 a month for people earning less than $50,000.

Many of the jobs that have been added to the U.S. economy over the past decade are “part-time, contract, or temporary,” explained Hughes. “They’ve been fundamentally unstable. We’ve created...a winner-take-all economy.”

“So in my view this isn’t about pitchforks coming for the rich...It’s about what we owe one another.”

Hughes’ proposal would be funded by the people “who have done well in our economy,” placing a 50 percent tax on income that exceeds $250,000 a year.

“That and closing some other egregious loopholes could provide $500 per month for every American who makes less than $50,000.”

The positive results of such a plan can be seen in the Earned Income Tax Credit -- “the largest cash transfer program in the world” where “tens of millions of Americans just get checks,” Hughes pointed out.

Data from that program shows that kids in families that receive the tax credit “do better on tests, stay in school longer. They’re more likely to go to college.” People who get the credit are also incentivized to keep working.

“So we know that it’s actually a powerful tool to lift people out of poverty,” said Hughes.

Similar ideas, like Universal Basic Income, picked up a lot of momentum during the 2016 presidential election when Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders showed an openness to the concept.

Several Silicon Valley heavyweights, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have also come out in support of some form of cash handout program particularly in the face of increasingly automated jobs.

For the full interview, click here.