Fact Check: Martin Luther King Did Support a Guaranteed Income

WESTERVILLE, OHIO - OCTOBER 15: (L-R) South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former tec
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Claim: Andrew Yang said that Martin Luther King, Jr. championed a guaranteed minimum income for Americans.

“Elizabeth, with respect, you can’t regulate laws with a patchwork of laws that are race-specific,” Yang said after Senator Elizabeth Warren had proposed legal penalties designed to discourage racism. “What we have to do is heed the writings of Martin Luther King, whose birthday we just celebrated. He said that capitalism forgets that life is social. And what he was championing was a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans.”

Verdict: True.

King advocated for a guaranteed income, or what is now more commonly called Universal Basic Income. This has become the cornerstone of Yang’s campaign but it did not originate with Yang. It is an idea that has been advocated by people with a wide range of political beliefs for decades. Libertarian economist Milton Friedman was also an advocate of a universal basic income program that he argued should replace existing social welfare programs.

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, King argued that the U.S. government should provide a job guarantee or a guaranteed income to both combat poverty and promote healthy economic growth. He argued that the income should be pegged to the median income of the U.S., although left its exact level to be decided later, and adjusted upward as the cost of living rose.



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