Mayor of Stockton, California Michael Tubbs is planning to provide a guaranteed “no strings” basic income of $500 per month to residents to fight the city’s poverty.
Under the plan, which will begin in 2019, some residents of the city will get a monthly stipend for an experiment lasting 18 months, funded privately by The Economic Security Project, a philanthropic network, to assess the citizens’ use of the funds.
“And then, maybe, in two or three years, we can have a much more informed discussion about the social safety net, the income floor people deserve and the best way to do it because we’ll have more data and research,” Tubbs said to Reuters.
The Economic Security Project, co-chaired by Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, has rewarded 1 million dollars to support the trial run.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” Tubbs said, adding he got the concept from the writings of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr..
Reuters reported Hughes proposal that the government of the United States grant citizens earning less than $50,000 annually a guaranteed monthly salary of 500 dollars, adding that funding the 290 billion dollar proposal could be accomplished by enforcing a 50 percent tax rate on capital gains and income for those earning more than $250,000 a year.
The idea of governments giving citizens a standard basic income has gained worldwide popularity, including within the United States.
According to Reuters, the Alaska Permanent Fund has long given all residents of Alaska annual dividend checks from oil revenues.
Also, the government of Finland runs a trial which pays 2,000 unemployed people around 660 dollars per month.
Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have legislated against this kind of compassion in government for years. They are sure to oppose this strongly from their vantage point.