A California city decided to test a new welfare program that will provide a monthly guaranteed basic income to residents.
A guaranteed basic income also known as universal basic income (UBI) is a regular, unconditional cash stipend for people. In other words, there are no strings attached to this type of social welfare.
The city of Stockton is committed to giving a guaranteed basic income of $500 a month to its low-income residents.
In an interview with NPR’s Ari Shapiro, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs explained that the city will conduct a community engagement process to develop a selection criterion for families. Those that will be selected will receive a monthly guaranteed basic income of $500 for 18 months. The city is planning to start distributing the checks later this year.
“People are working very hard and struggling and unable to make basic ends meet,” said Mayor Tubbs. He believes that “people deserve a basic economic floor so the bottom doesn’t fall out under them.”
Additionally, Mayor Tubbs is convinced the program will make people work better, harder, and smarter. It will also allow them to do other things such as spend time with their families.
The Stockton Mayor said, “We’re not robots. We’re not just designed just to work all day and run a rat race.”
Funding for guaranteed basic income will not come from taxpayers
Furthermore, Mayor Tubbs made it clear that the city will not use taxpayers’ money to finance the guaranteed basic income program. According to him, Stockton received a $1 million grant from the Economic Security Project to test the program.
“It doesn’t cost taxpayers anything. It’s paid from $1.2 million in philanthropic funding.”
When asked if he envisions the program to cover everyone in Stockton, Mayor Tubbs replied, “I think for something like this to work on a city level, it has to be a state or national policy. But again, before we can even call for that, we need to see if it works and we need to try it.”