Twitter's Dorsey donates $3 mn to test universal basic income

Twitter's Jack Dorsey, pictured in November 2018, has pledged $3 million for the group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (AFP Photo/Prakash SINGH)
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San Francisco (AFP) - Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has said he will donate $3 million to a group of US mayors to experiment with the creation of universal basic income.

The sum will go to the group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a coalition of leaders from 16 cities who are in favor of universal basic income -- regular payments to residents generally meant to fight poverty and meet citizens' basic needs.

"This is one tool to close the wealth and income gap, level systemic race and gender inequalities, and create economic security for families," Dorsey, whose fortune is estimated at $7.3 billion by Forbes magazine, tweeted Thursday.

MGI responded that "the entire network is so appreciative of this support. Together, we can make the American economy work for everyone."

The group includes mayors from a geographically diverse array of US cities such as Atlanta, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Dorsey already announced in April that he would commit $1 billion of his personal fortune to coronavirus relief through his philanthropic fund.

Once the pandemic ends, he said, the fund would focus on health and education for girls and "universal basic income" efforts.

Universal basic income, a controversial topic in US politics, has been lambasted by many as too costly or too "socialist."

However, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang argued for it on the campaign trail, proposing to provide every American age 18 and older with $1,000 a month.

Since Yang's departure from the race, the virus crisis has created a spike in unemployment, with 18 million people on the jobless rolls through the week ended June 27.

The US could suffer a second wave of layoffs as more states see spiking case counts, and once expanded jobless benefits expire.

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