The 21st Show

Universal Basic Income; Adoption Tax Credit; A New Way To Clean Oil Spills


Ervins Strauhmanis/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

On the 21st: Universal Basic Income is the idea that giving residents a fixed amount of money on a regular basis — with no strings attached—is a good way to address poverty and inequality. Now, one Alderman wants to launch a pilot program in Chicago. Plus, adopting a child is too expensive for many families, but the state has created a new tax credit to try and make it easier. And, we heard about one of Argonne National Labortaory's latest inventions: a reusable sponge that can clean up oil spills.

Have you heard of Universal Basic Income? It’s an idea where every citizen receives an amount of money on a regular basis — with no strings attached. The idea’s gotten more traction in recent years and has even been tried out in a couple of American cities. Alaska actually a version of this called the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Here in Illinois, one Chicago alderman is pushing for a pilot program to see whether this would work in our state’s largest city.

Ameya Pawar is the alderman putting forward this proposal. He’s a Democrat representing Chicago’s 47th ward on the city’s north side. He joined us on the line today. We were also joined by Bob Bruno, he’s a professor and director of the Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois.


There are more than 100,000 children in Illinois’ foster care system who are awaiting adoption.  And many families who are looking to adopt also look outside the foster care system - every year, thousands of children are adopted by American families.

But, for many people, the process itself can be expensive. The average cost of a domestic adoption is 30,000 dollars. Add travel and international adoptions become even more expensive.

Now, a new tax credit included this year’s state budget might offer some help for Illinois families who want to adopt. It’s modeled after a similar federal tax credit.

Earlier this morning, I spoke with State Sen. Dave Syverson. He’s a Republican who has been representing Illinois’ 35th district - that’s Rockford and the surrounding areas. In May, he pushed to include this adoption tax credit in the Illinois Budget. Sue Puffpaff joined us shortly after, she's the Supervisor of Adoptive Parent Services at The Cradle, an adoption agency in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. Also on the line was Pam Devereaux. Pam is the CEO of the Gift of Adoption Fund. The Gift of Adoption Fund has awarded more than 7 million dollars in grants to families looking to adopt and has helped more than 2,500 children find permanent homes.


We hear about innovation, incubation and invention all the time, but what do those words really mean? Do we really ever see the fruits of all that labor and intelligence? Well, if you’re part of the team of scientists trying to clean up oil spills off the coast of California or any of the other impacted areas in the world, the answer is yes.

Recently, researchers from Argonne National Laboratory — about an hour and a half southwest of Chicago — created a sponge to clean up ocean oil spills, and they successfully tested it on the Pacific Coast. Not only that, but just like our sponges at home, the oil can be wrung out and used again.

Argonne National Lab nanoscientist Seth Darling joined us to talk about the project and his trip out west to test this sponge out.

Story source: WILL