Senate candidate seeks emergency, permanent universal basic funds

Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Mike Broihier is advocating a plan where every adult in the United States would receive $2,000 monthly for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal was released last week. Broihier is one of several Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination. The winner will face the winner of the Republican primary for the Senate seat held by incumbent candidate Sen. Mitch McConnell.

During the pandemic, families with dependent children would receive an additional $1,000 monthly. After the emergency ends, Broihier’s plan calls for adults to receive $1,200 monthly. Families with children under age 18 would receive an additional $400 per month for each child.

Broihier said in an interview last week a universal basic income would benefit local economies. Such a plan already exists in Alaska, where state residents receive an annual payment from the state’s Permanent Fund, which is based on the state’s oil wealth.

“We know money gets exchanged quicker at the local level,” Broihier said. “Just giving money to corporations didn’t make it down to people who need it most.

“A universal basic income would allow people to keep the family farm,” Broihier said, and it would allow people “to do the things they want to do like farming or volunteering.”

In Alaska, “no one calls it socialism,” Broihier said. Spain is considering implementing a universal income, and Persian Gulf countries get similar payments “because the government acknowledges the wealth of the land is theirs,” Broihier said.

Broihier, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and a former newspaper editor, is a farmer living near Stanford. When asked if such a plan were politically possible, Broihier said the coronavirus pandemic has shifted thinking on government.

“I was talking to the Kentucky Democrats … I told them, ‘the greatest tragedy of the coronavirus is if we rush back to business as usual,” Broihier said. “... We’ve got to fundamentally change the way we govern.

“It does make me happy to be an adapter of single-payer health care,” Broihier said, adding that ideas being taken seriously now, “would’ve been, two short months ago, wild-eyed fantasies.”

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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