A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY
Over half of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford a $400 emergency should one come up. Wages have been stagnant for decades. By 2030, automation could replace one out of three U.S. jobs. Make no mistake, America is prospering – it’s just that most of the gains are going to those at the very top.
But what if there was a way to invest in our citizens that creates an economy that works... for EVERYONE?
INHERENT GOOD follows comedian and “Liberal Redneck” Trae Crowder on his journey to explore a growing grassroots idea called, Universal Basic Income (UBI), as an urgent response to swelling economic anxiety and wealth inequality in America. UBI is periodic cash payments given to every individual – no strings attached. By giving people unconditional cash, it embraces the idea that everyone has a secure foundation to build from with dignity and freedom to do so. In the past, Richard Nixon championed a guaranteed minimum income along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and free-market capitalist Milton Friedman. Could UBI be the uniting idea that both liberals and conservatives support and helps transform our economy into one that works for all of us?
Trae returns to his quaint rural hometown of Celina, Tennessee. When he was 10, the town’s factories, and economic backbone, shut down and went abroad. As a result, Trae grew up poor and on welfare. Decades later, Celina is still dealing with the ripple effects of the factory closure, leaving many of its residents living on the edge. A gay man living with a life-threatening heart condition who squeaks by on disability, an Army vet struggling to raise his two granddaughters after his opioid-addicted son loses custody, a mother of four barely gets by while her husband is in jail for unsettled debts, and a vice mayor working two jobs who still lacks security. Everyday people share their truths about what it takes to survive and thrive in an inequitable society. They represent countless Americans living paycheck to paycheck across the country.
On his journey to fully understand Universal Basic Income, Trae engages in a candid conversation with 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang who’s proposing giving a $1,000 per month to every citizen between the ages of 18 to 64. With Yang’s rising popularity, he’s brought UBI into the mainstream political conversation as a means to address a tsunami of unemployment headed our way due to the rise of automation and artificial intelligence.
Meanwhile in Jackson, Mississippi, a groundbreaking basic income pilot program receives national attention for being the first initiative to give single black mothers living in affordable housing a monthly basic income of $1,000 for a year. The film follows three mothers and their families as they receive their first basic income checks. What happens next? How does the extra cash impact their daily lives? Perhaps, UBI is an investment in America’s most important infrastructure: families.
INHERENT GOOD is a meditation: on people, the future of America, and the inherent good within all of us that makes UBI an idea worthy of serious contemplation.
INHERENT GOOD is a 501(c)(3) project with fiscal sponsorship from The Film Collaborative. All donations are tax-deductible.