“One of the main backers of guaranteed income is the Economic Security Project, an advocacy group founded in 2016 by Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder turned activist, and two progressive organizers, Natalie Foster and Dorian Warren. Over the last few years the Economic Security Project has supported 100 pilot projects around the country to test a guaranteed income. The pilots are in various stages of development, but more than 80 have already concluded or begun giving out money; ultimately, they will provide about 38,000 participants over $500 million in aid.
The Economic Security Project has also been a leading political champion of the expanded Child Tax Credit. The group says that both developments — its experience with pilot projects running so far and the success of the expanded Child Tax Credit — are helping to prove a fundamental idea: Giving people money works. The pilot programs and the Child Tax Credit show that a guaranteed income is logistically feasible and that it can have far-reaching effects on reducing poverty and improving food and housing security, and more generally that it can improve people’s lives.
“This idea breaks with 50 years of safety net policymaking that made rules more strict, made the system more complicated, and meant fewer people could access it,” Foster told me. “We’re reversing those trends and saying, ‘No, there should be a guaranteed income that sits alongside wages in America.’”