One California town wants to try out a Basic income for residents.
Steven Greenhut writes:
There's a simple solution to the nation's poverty and inequality problems, an acquaintance told me several years ago. He suggested that the federal government simply give $1 million to every citizen and, voila, we'd all be rich and happy. After some quick math (323 million x $1 million = more trillions than even the U.S. Treasury can print), he realized that he didn't add enough zeroes to his cost calculation. Turning the United States into Zimbabwe, where a $1 trillion note won't even buy a soda, isn't much of an Idea.
But while the above thought experiment is zany, a number of politicians and economists are proposing a similar idea—but on a much more modest scale. In fact, one of California's most impoverished cities, Stockton, is working on a proposal that would provide a "Universal Basic Income" to a small number of residents. Instead of a million bucks, the city—thanks to a grant from some Bay Area tech entrepreneurs—wants to hand out $500 a month for two years without any limits on how it's spent.
It's not as controversial as Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs' proposal last summer "that pays people not to commit crimes," as KCRA reported. But now Tubbs is back with this latest "let's just pay people" plan. The income idea is backed by a group that believes "cash is an effective way" to rebuild the American middle class. It's a pilot project that will help evaluate how this type of program works.
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