More than 50 million Americans live in economically disinvested communities beleaguered by high levels of joblessness and financial instability. Across California, 3.3 million households are living paycheck-to-paycheck, sleepless at night, wondering how they will pay next month’s rent and feed their families. This reality would be hidden if we used an antiquated measure like the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) to determine the economic viability of the people of California. It is time to stop tinkering around the edges of policy, with economic rules centered on the notion that the market itself is natural, moral and will make us all more prosperous. We must begin to put theoretical debates about how to reduce poverty, improve financial stability and address long-standing racial inequities to the test. All around us are amplified calls to move beyond defensive strategies and incremental steps to bigger, bolder actions.
- Utilize the Family Needs Calculator for the State of California (describing how much income is needed to meet basic needs), to advance a suite of economic policy ideas that bolster income and alleviate poverty.
- Advance transformative state and national economic policies like Universal Basic Income, Baby Bonds and Federal Jobs Guarantee.
By Karen D’Souza | Bay Area News Group
While most people are fast asleep, Alexis Gasperecz works the graveyard shift at a homeless shelter for veterans. Around 8 a.m., when her shift ends, she leaves to take care of her children, Brielle, 11 months old, and King, 3, until about 6:30 p.m. when her boyfriend Darrin Davis and his mother return from their jobs for the childcare hand-off. By midnight, it’s time for Gasperecz to go back to work. If she’s lucky, she’s squeezed in three or four hours sleep. Click here to read the full article.
Past the Drought op-ed | January 2019
By Aisa Villarosa, Associate Director of Policy and Research
Take your pick of produce from any grocery aisle in the nation, and it’s likely to come from California’s Central Valley.
The Central Valley contains less than one percent of total farmland in the United States; and yet, the region grows nearly half of the country’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts, carrying a total annual value of over $33 billion. This abundance is achieved through the year-round efforts of the Valley’s agricultural workers — thousands of women, men, and children who toil through scorching days and cold nights, with little pay or job protection. Click here to read the full piece.
Past the Drought Report | December 2018
Past the Drought: Overcoming Barriers to Economic Security in California’s Central Valley, a report released by the Insight Center in partnership with the California Asset Building Coalition, examines why so many workers in the Central Valley of California are struggling to afford their basic needs.
The Cost of Being California | April 2018
Our 2018 report, The Cost of Being Californian (PDF, 1.3 MB), highlights the initial key findings from the 2018 update of the Family Needs Calculator, and indicates that the cost of being Californian, particularly for women and communities of color, has become dangerously high.
Opinion: Income program must be paired with honest dialog on race | November 2017
The East Bay Times published “Opinion: Income program must be paired with honest dialog on race” by Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Director of Racial Equity and Strategy at the Insight Center.
“Universal Basic Income — a policy idea whereby people receive unconditional funds to help meet their most essential needs — is making waves in California. The city of Stockton is set to launch a three-year pilot program. And Y Combinator, which provides seed funding for startups, is designing a pilot project for Oakland.”
Universal Basic Income: Reclaiming Our Time for Racial Justice | October 31, 2017
It’s been 40 years since we witnessed a Women’s Convention challenging our nation to take up equal rights of women in education, work, and in their personal lives, but this past weekend nearly 5,000 people, mostly women, gathered in Detroit as part of the inaugural Women’s Convention with the theme of Reclaiming Our Time. Click here to read Anne’s full piece on Medium.
Income Outcome | October 20, 2017
Anne Price was interviewed by Income Outcome, a documentary project that explores the fundamentals of basic income and how this simple idea can help ordinary, struggling Americans overcome a rigged economy to achieve stability, prosperity, and freedom.
CASH Con | October 14, 2017
Insight staff attended the CASH Conference on Thursday, October 19, 2017, put on by the Economic Security Project. Held at the old San Francisco Mint building, the conference brought together activists, policy advocates, artists, economists, and elected officials to understand to explore how basic income can address the needs of our changing economy.
Insight President, Anne Price, was invited to speak on the panel exploring racial justice and basic income. Anne spoke about how our current welfare programs are steeped in race, and how a guaranteed income can help us address how we dehumanize and strip away dignity from recipients of safety net programs. Watch the recorded session here.
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs also announced the city’s experiment on a guaranteed income at the conference, generating lots of excitement and hope. The entire day was thought provoking and the Insight team is looking forward to continuing this work with the Economic Security Project.
For more information about Universal Basic Income, be sure to visit the Economic Security Project’s Medium page.
Universal Basic Income (UBI): A Silver Bullet to Reduce Poverty? | September 14, 2017
Bay Area Asset Funders Network held a panel discussion, Universal Basic Income (UBI): A Silver Bullet to Reduce Poverty, on September 14th to help both funders and practitioners gain a deeper understanding of Universal Basic Income (UBI) and its potential to address economic inequality.