Salter: Is a basic income right for Texas?

The basic-income battle is heating up in Texas. Harris County wants to implement a program granting 1,500 households a direct, no-strings-attached $500 payment per month. Texas AG Ken Paxton filed suit, claiming the policy is unconstitutional because counties lack the authority to give away public revenues.

The legal contest will likely be protracted and contentious. An important precedent is at stake: Is providing universal-income support a valid public purpose? The law and politics of income transfers is one thing. The economics are something else. Let’s consider the economic arguments for and against the Harris County policy.

Economists define a universal basic […]

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