A California City Is Trying Universal Basic Income. We’ve Already Seen Why It Doesn’t Work.

    Mimi Teixeira

    Economics, North America

    A blast from the past.

    How would you like to receive $ 500 a month, no strings attached?

    Stockton, California, a city outside of Silicon Valley, is providing such benefits to a group of its low-income residents in a pilot version of universal basic income.

    Universal basic income is a policy that gives all people a set amount of benefits without requirements or stipulations. After a brief stint of popularity in the 1970s, the idea has resurged in the public interest, with backers including innovators Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, union leader Andy Stern, and even libertarian Charles Murray.

    The pilot program, called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, has received initial funding from the Economic Security Project, an advocacy group for universal basic income policies.

    There is no official start date for the program, but Stockton’s mayor, Michael Tubbs, has indicated they will be screening applicants through June. Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, is providing $ 1 million toward the effort.

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