Any topic (writer’s choice)

Set aside a block of two and one half hours any time between Saturday, May 8, and Tuesday, May 11, to write a 500-word essay that takes a position on your final exam essay topic: Universal Basic Income, also known as guaranteed minimum income.

Although UBI is something that has been discussed for many years, the idea came up most recently during the last Presidential election by then-candidate Andrew Yang. Yang proposed giving each citizen in the U.S. over the age of 18 a monthly payment of $1000. Though this proposal was surprising to many, over the years, people as different as Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King, and Richard M. Nixon have expressed support for a similar idea.

Read the article published in CQ Researcher on March 6, 2020, called “Universal Basic Income” by Lorna Collier (Links to an external site.). This is the article you will need to quote or paraphrase from in your own essay.  To find the article, go to the SAC Library databases. Click on “My Library” at the page where you log into your ACES email, or click on the library website elsewhere. Click on Databases and in the search box, type CQ Researcher. Once you enter the database, you’ll see a search box where you can type in the topic. CQ Researcher articles go into a lot of depth with background and history, but they also include multiple perspectives on the issues they cover. Be sure to read the Introduction, the Overview, and the Pro/Con sections. You will not need sources other than Collier’s, but if you do use information from another source as well, you will need to include it on the Works Cited page. You can do the Works Cited entry as soon as you’d like to. Look for the Cite Now button and be sure it is set on MLA format OR look up how to do the entry for an article from a database.   

The specific proposal related to Universal Basic Income will open on Saturday in the Modules under the Final Exam. Youll use facts and quotes from the source to support your own opinion about a specific proposal related to Universal Basic Income.

* Sixty (60) percent of the grade will come from having a clear thesis statement that makes a claim about the topic and logical organization of supporting ideas from your own experiences and observations and from the source.

Your essay will need to include support from the article I will provide you (a minimum of two quotes and one fact or paraphrased idea). You should read the article carefully (highlighting or marking it).  You will not receive the specific essay question until Saturday, May 8, but you can prepare by reading the article. The article includes all the information needed to do a Works Cited entry, but you will need to look up the proper elements to include and the correct order, punctuation and capitalization of those elements. Use the database’s Cite Now feature or use Launchpad Solo’s MLA Documentation Guide to look up the source and follow the model.

* For 20 percent of your final exam grade, you should show that you know how to use a source to put your short essay in correct MLA format. You should introduce all quotes and use in-text citations correctly. Your Works Cited page and entry should be set up properly.  It would be smart to look at your graded Research Essay to see if you had any problems with in-text citations and what goes in them, or floated quotes (quotes that weren’t lead into properly with your own words), or the format of the Works Cited page. Take advantage of tutoring to go over errors in your Research essay to avoid them on the final exam. Download and share with your tutor. Or come during office hours and we can go over your graded essay and any questions you may have about the feedback.

* Even though this essay will be graded as a rough draft, you do need to demonstrate some mastery of grammar and mechanics. Another 20 percent will be on the following areas:
Respond to the topic below in a focused essay of 400 to 500 words (four to six paragraphs), using ideas from the Lorna Collier article on Universal Basic Income  (Links to an external site.) mentioned in the study guide and linked here. Your essay should include at least two direct quotes and one paraphrased idea or fact from Collier’s article. If you found another source you want to use in addition to this one, be sure to include both sources on your Works Cited page. One source (Collier) is required. If you have trouble with this link, go to the database called CQ Researcher, found in the  SAC Library databases, and type “Universal Basic Income” in the search box. No more than two sources may be included since the majority of the essay should be your own thinking on this subject.

Your final exam essay will be graded as follows:

60 percent on content: The essay needs a clear thesis statement on the topic below, with relevant support and logical organization. There is not a right or wrong answer, only your own opinion and facts and reasons to support it.

20 percent on correct MLA format: Quotes are introduced properly (no “floated” quotes), and in-text citations are incorporated correctly and match a properly done entry on your Works Cited page.

20 percent on style: The essay shows that for the most part you can avoid fragments, run-ons, awkward phrasing, verb errors, and errors in commas, semicolons, and apostrophes.

TOPIC: During the 2020 Presidential campaign, Andrew Yang promoted a Universal Basic Income (UBI) plan that included $1000 monthly minimum payments to all citizens over the age of 18. The idea of the government providing a guaranteed minimum income for all its citizens goes back hundreds of years, and variations of the plan have been tried in various countries and even in some of the United States. People in favor of UBI say it provides a safety net to be sure all citizens are fed and housed and offsets job losses due to changing technology. People opposed to UBI say it is too expensive and is a disincentive to work.

In your essay, consider this proposal: Each citizen in the United States over the age of 18 who makes less that $35,000 a year will qualify for monthly payments of $1000. Since everyone will get this monthly payment, two social programs, food stamps and housing subsidies, will be discontinued to help pay for the proposal. Also, taxes will be raised 10 percent for all taxpayers to cover the cost of the program. Are you for or against this specific proposal? In your essay, convince others to vote for or against it. You may use personal experience as well as the two required quotes and one paraphrased idea from the Collier article. Include a Works Cited entry after your concluding paragraph. Some databases are automatically set to APA, so be sure to check that your entry is in MLA style. I should see in-text citations in the body of your essay that give appropriate credit to your source for her words and ideas. 

This essay will be graded as a rough draft, but part of the grade will come from grammar and mechanics. When you finish your draft, check it for complete sentences. Did you avoid fragments, run-ons, awkward phrasing, and verb errors? Did you use commas for compound and complex sentences where needed? If you used semicolons or needed apostrophes, are they used correctly? I look forward to reading what you have to say. Thank you for being a part of our class, and best wishes as you move forward. Stay well and keep growing as a writer!

Collier, Lorna. “Universal Basic Income.” CQ Researcher, 6 Mar. 2020, pp. 1-28,

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