A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY
The economic divide in America is accelerating. Decades of stagnant wage growth despite booming productivity have left millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, while the majority of the gains continue to funnel to the wealthy. Advancements in technology have allowed us to produce much more with a lot less – resulting in underemployment, weaker purchasing power, and proliferating social and economic injustice. Now the world is fighting a health pandemic, exposing the holes in our current safety nets, and leading the U.S. into an indefinite recession. It’s time to reimagine a new social contract in America.
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 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 main factory, 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 scarcely gets by while her husband is in jail for unsettled debts, and a soon-to-be 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 UBI, Trae engages in a candid conversation with 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang who’s proposing giving a $1,000 per month to every citizen. With Yang’s rising popularity, he’s brought UBI into the mainstream political conversation as a means to address a tsunami of social and economic issues in America.
Meanwhile in Jackson, Mississippi, a groundbreaking basic income pilot program receives national attention for being the first initiative to give 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 when we invest in mothers? What if we expand this to every man, woman and child? When everyone has a more secure foundation to build a life with dignity and freedom… What is possible?
INHERENT GOOD is a 501(c)(3) project with fiscal sponsorship from The Film Collaborative. All donations are tax-deductible.