California City Plans to Fight Poverty with Guaranteed Income
According to Reuters, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs plans to combat poverty with a “no strings” guaranteed basic income of $500 a month for some of its residents. The plan will start in early 2019 and a select group of residents will be provided with a monthly stipend as part of a privately funded 18-month experiment to assess how people use the money. The trial project is funded by The Economic Security Project, a philanthropic network co-chaired by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Tubbs was approached by The Economic Security Project to ask if his city would be interested in piloting a basic income program and Tubbs accepted the program. In an interview with Reuter, Tubbs stated,
My mom was on welfare for the first five, six years of my life. You’d get food stamps, but that’s not cash, and maybe food’s not the biggest need … So this gives people more agency to kind of make the best decision.
The city has not yet decided how many people will receive money from the trial project, which has $1 million to distribute. The city has also not yet decided on the criteria for participation in the experiment. Critics of the plan believe that the plan would encourage people not to look for work. Proponents of the plan hope that the basic needs of some of the residents are met. We will have to wait and see how the trial goes and if there will be more trials conducted in other cities.