On June 30, the New York Times published “Prioritizing People to Build Back the Economy,” by Eduardo Suplicy and Rashida Tlaib. The piece takes Maricá’s social programs as an exemplar of impactful and innovative welfare policy.
From the piece:
“A basic-income program in Maricá, Brazil, is a case study in how investing in people will help us better meet crises. Since December 2019, more than 42,000 of the city’s 165,000 residents receive monthly payments now equivalent to 170 Brazilian reais, or $34, paid in mumbucas, a local digital currency. The benefit, which the city plans to expand to all residents in the coming years, is administered by a community bank, and spendable at thousands of local businesses.
“Because Maricá already had this infrastructure in place, when the pandemic hit the city was able to rapidly increase monthly basic income payments to 300 mumbucas, or $55, while offering additional support to people who lost their jobs or were self-employed. An international team of researchers from the Federal Fluminense University and the Jain Family Institute are currently working to study the impact of these programs, and changes in the city are already evident. Over the past four years, jobs in the formal-sector —which are registered with the state and guarantee employment rights and benefits — increased by more than 52 percent. This growth continued even as the pandemic caused job losses nearly everywhere else.”
Eduardo Suplicy is co-founder of Brazil’s Workers Party and a three-term federal senator (1991-2015). He is the honorary president of the Brazilian Basic Income Network, and co-chair of the advisory board for the Maricá Basic Income Evaluation. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat, represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
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