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Conference: "Think BIG" to End Poverty and Hunger in the U.S.

This weekend (March 7-9) in Boston, the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network is holding a conference of economists and other experts in conjunction with the Eastern Economics Association annual meeting, whose purpose is to “urge the U.S. government to provide each American with a Basic Income Guarantee to meet fundamental human needs.”

“We reject the idea that ‘the poor shall always be with us,'” said Karl Widerquist, a USBIG network coordinator. “It’s time to think BIG: a basic income guarantee can provide Social Security for all ages, not just those over 65.”

According to the Network, “A basic income guarantee (BIG) is a government program to ensure every citizen’s basic economic security. All Americans would receive, without means test or work requirement, an income sufficient for food, shelter, and basic necessities. The plan would incorporate elements of the most successful anti-poverty programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax credit.”

The issue is now garnering government attention. The first-ever Basic Income Guarantee bill–dubbed “The Tax Cut for the Rest of Us Act”–was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2006 by Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA). The bill would grant tax breaks to virtually everyone making less than $75,000 by transforming the standard income tax deduction into a standard tax credit of $2,000 per adult and $1,000 per child.

The conference will be held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, 50 Park Plaza, Boston. Featured speakers include Philippe Van Parijs of Harvard University, Eduardo Suplicy, an economist currently serving his third term representing the state of São Paolo in the Brazilian Senate, and Sean Healy and Brigid Reynolds, co-directors of the Justice Commission of the Council of the Religious of Ireland. For more information on the event and the USBIG Network, click here.

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