In his first major speech since leaving office, former President Barack Obama endorsed the idea of providing a universal basic income.
Speaking at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa on Tuesday, Obama raised the notion of guaranteed income as a way to reduce what he called “yawning disparities” in wealth, education, and security across different socioeconomic groups.
“It’s not just money that a job provides,” said Obama. “It provides dignity and structure and a sense of place and a sense of purpose. So we’re going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our workweek, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level. But we’re going have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track.”
He additionally called on the rich to support higher taxation, saying that “you don’t have to take a vow of poverty just to say ‘let me help out a few of these folks.'”
Watch the moment, along with Obama’s other suggestions for improving on these “strange and uncertain” times below, via NBC News. –Summer Meza