Giving cash payments to the poor has become the latest hot policy idea bubbling up from both progressives and conservatives across the country. In New York City, Andrew Yang, the former tech entrepreneur, jumped into the mayor’s race by pledging to give roughly $2,000 a year to half a million of the city’s lowest-income residents, a scaled-back version of a Universal Basic Income plan he introduced during his presidential run.
But Yang is not the only mayoral candidate in favor of putting more money directly in the hands of people. Shaun Donovan, the former Obama administration housing secretary, is campaigning on an economic plan previously known as “Baby Bonds.” Donovan’s “Equity Bonds” would establish government savings accounts for all New York City children and make annual contributions to those in low-income families. He’s betting that such a program can make the city a trailblazer in tackling racial income disparities.
“This is one example, I believe, of how New York could become a national leader, again, on all different areas of policy, and hopefully spur national change by demonstrating that this actually works,” he told Gothamist.