• Universal basic income is a government payment designed to cover basic needs
  • A Pew survey indicates Americans are cool to the idea and the World Bank says no country has such a program in place
  • Mark Cuban said bi-weekly $1,000 payments will instructions to spend it all within 10 days would go a long way to repairing the economy

Would Americans spending like crazy pull the economy out of the coronavirus sparked recession? Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says that’s just the ticket and that’s why the government should be sending out $1,000 checks to taxpayers every two weeks with instructions to spend it all – fast.

“Those without [help] are struggling badly,” Cuban told CNBC last week. “We need to get them help.”

Some 20 million Americans lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus lockdowns in early spring, and since then, only about half of those jobs have returned, with Yelp estimating 60% of small businesses (97,966) are closed permanently.

The idea of universal basic income has its appeal. It’s defined as a government payment that would cover the basic cost of living to give people a sense of financial security. Plans differ. Some would target such income to the poor while others would make the stipend available to everyone. The question is how to pay for such programs, with proposals ranging from increasing taxes on the wealthy to increased corporate taxes.

Cuban’s proposal is reminiscent of the universal basic income proposal suggested by entrepreneur Andrew Yang during the early stages of the Democratic presidential nomination process. Yang suggested giving all Americans a $1,000 a month “freedom dividend.” Yang predicted a third of Americans could lose their jobs in the next decade or so due to automation, a theory knocked down by economist Paul Krugman.

Cuban first