#1 This California town will give a $500 monthly stipend to residents [posted with a 2019 update TM] by ThirstyMan 04.09.2019 09:48

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I. By Rachel Crane, July 9, 2018

Just 80 miles east of Silicon Valley, one of the wealthiest regions in the country, is Stockton, California — once known as America's foreclosure capital.
Soon, the former bankrupt city will become the first in the country to participate in a test of Universal Basic Income, also known as UBI. Stockton will give 100 residents $500 a month for 18 months, no strings attached.

The nontraditional system for distributing wealth guarantees that citizens receive a regular sum of money. The goal is to create an income floor no one will fall beneath.

The concept of Universal Basic Income has gained traction and support from some Silicon Valley leaders, including Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg. It is seen as a way to possibly reduce poverty and safeguard against the job disruption that comes from automation.

"We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas," Zuckerberg said at a Harvard commencement address in May 2017.

The Stockton project has its roots in Silicon Valley, too. Its financial backers include Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes' organization, the Economic Security Project — a fund to support research and cultural engagement around Universal Basic Income. It contributed $1 million to the Stockton initiative.

In an interview with CNNMoney earlier this year, Hughes said being part of the country's top 1% helped him realize the great inequities in the economy.

"It is such a fundamental idea behind America that if you work hard, you can get ahead — and you certainly don't live in poverty. But that isn't true today, and it hasn't been true in the country for decades," Hughes said. "I believe that unless we make significant changes today, the income inequality in our country will continue to grow and call into question the very nature of our social contract."

With a population of more than 300,000, with one in four people living in poverty, Stockton was considered a great testing ground for Universal Basic Income.

"Stockton is a city that looks a lot like the rest of America," said Natalie Foster, co-founder and co-chair of the Economic Security Project.

Stockton has a median household income of $49,271, compared to $57,617 nationally, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. It's also diverse: More than 70% of the city's population identify as minorities.

"We have a bunch of folks starting off life already behind, born into communities that don't have a lot of opportunity," said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. "My mom always used to say, 'You have to get out of Stockton.' ... But I want Stockton to be [a place people] want to live in."

His interest in Universal Basic Income also stems from the "looming threat of automation and displacement."

Tubbs believes the companies building these technologies, "have a responsibility to make sure people aren't adversely impacted and also make their communities better places."

This is one way to help. Stockton residents are clamoring to get one of the 100 UBI spots.

"My email inbox is inundated daily with residents from the community wanting to know, 'What's the sign-up process? Has it already started? Am I already too late? What do I have to do?'" said Lori Ospina, director of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, which is running the project.

The project, expected to launch in 2019, hopes to use data to address the policy questions about UBI. For example, does a guarantee of a basic income affect school attendance and health, or cause people to quit their jobs or start new businesses?

The project is also interested at looking at how the funds impact female empowerment and if it can help pull people out of poverty.

In Finland, a monthly stipend of 560 euros was given to 2,000 unemployed people between the ages of 25 and 58. In Cambodia, $5 a month went to pregnant women and children. A 12-year pilot program sponsored by the nonprofit GiveDirectly.org is underway in Kenya, while a similar program sponsored by the Canadian government is undergoing testing in Ontario. Another pilot, backed by startup accelerator Y Combinator, will give 1,000 people in Oakland, California, $1,000 a month for up to 5 years.

"I've watched the tech [community] become very interested in Universal Basic Income for the past several years. I think it stems from one part guilt and one part optimism," Foster said. "These are folks who believe in the moonshot, believe in the big ideas, and that nothing is too big. Foster suggested that other cash transfer programs show how UBI could work more broadly. For example, for the past 40 years, all Alaska residents, including children, have received a varying annual cash payment from oil royalties.

"They use it to save for education, to get them through seasonal changes in their work, or to pay for heating during the winter when that gets much more expensive," Foster said. According to Allison Fahey, associate director of MIT's Poverty Action Lab, it's too soon to tell if UBI will help reduce poverty. But she believes the experience in Stockton and other cities will provide answers.

"It has really exciting potential, and this is why it is important to look into," Fahey said. "It's a very radical way of delivering aid. There is an elegance and beauty to how simple it is."

https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/09/technol...ment/index.html
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II. An Update On Stockton, California’s Universal Basic Income Experiment

By JOHN SEXTON, September 3, 2019

Last year when I wrote about the pilot program for Universal Basic Income now taking place in Stockton, CA, I predicted that the outcome would be stories with headlines like “Stockton Recipients Benefit from Basic Income in a Variety of Ways.” That’s not the headline of this Associated Press update on the UBI program in Stockton, but honestly, it could be. The piece opens by highlighting one of the 125 people selected for this trial. Her name is Suzie Garza:

Garza can spend the money however she wants. She uses $150 of it to pay for her cellphone and another $100 or so to pay off her dog’s veterinarian bills. She spends the rest on her two grandsons now that she can afford to buy them birthday presents online and let them get the big bag of chips at the 7-Eleven.

“I’ve never been able to do that. I thought it was just the coolest thing,” said Garza, who is unemployed and previously was addicted to drugs, though she said she has been sober for 18 years following a stint in prison. “I like it because I feel more independent, like I’m in charge. I really have something that’s my own.”



I don’t want to be mean to Ms. Garza but honestly, having a job could give her that same feeling and no one else would be asked to pay for it.

The money has made Jovan Bravo happier. The 31-year-old Stockton native and construction worker is married and has three children, ages 13, 8 and 4. He said he didn’t see enough of his children when he worked six days a week to pay the bills.

That changed when he started getting $500 a month. Now he only works one Saturday a month. He uses the other Saturdays to take his kids to the amusement park and ride bikes with them in the park.


Good for Jovan Bravo spending more time with his kids. But is it right that taxpayers should be forced to subsidizing him $500 a month for his personal enjoyment? Granted, at the moment, all of the money for the pilot program is coming from a group called the Economic Security Project led by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Chris Hughes has a net worth of $430 million so he can afford to give away the $1.1 million involved in this pilot and not even feel it. But that won’t be the case for taxpayers if this project were to expand to the entire country.

What infuriates me about this program and other UBI experiments is the way in which the “research” around it is designed solely to elicit positive headlines. There’s no cost-benefit analysis being done here. The entire effort consists of measuring how happy it makes people to give them free money:

A team of researchers is monitoring the participants. Their chief interest is not finances but happiness. They are using what they call a “mattering scale” to measure how much people feel like they matter to society.


“Do people notice you are there? Those things are correlated to health and well-being,” said Stacia Martin-West, a researcher at the University of Tennessee who is working on the program along with Amy Castro-Baker at the University of Pennsylvania.


As I’ve said before, can’t we just stipulate that free money makes people feel good? Do we need to hand socialist demagogues a certified talking-point about how science proves free money is awesome for personal well-being?

To make this fair, let’s assume we adopt Andrew Yang’s UBI scheme at a cost of nearly $3 trillion per year. Someone needs to run a pilot program that asks 125 people to pay significantly higher taxes (including those who currently pay very little in federal taxes) while also giving them $1000 a month as a UBI payment. Then we can ask how happy they feel about the trade-off. My guess is the reaction will be much more mixed.

The current pilot program runs through next year, but the first results will be released this fall. Expect lots more headlines marveling over the ways in which free money made people happy.

https://hotair.com/archives/john-s-2/201...ome-experiment/

[The Stockton experiment runs through July 2020. Researchers expect to release their first round of "data" this fall, when the presidential campaigns are preparing for the Iowa caucuses and state primaries.]

#2 RE: This California town will give a $500 monthly stipend to residents [posted with a 2019 update TM] by ThirstyMan 04.09.2019 09:56

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Not sure how this differs from the EBT card issued via the State welfare departments, other than the total give-away is $500/month instead of $125/month.

#3 RE: This California town will give a $500 monthly stipend to residents [posted with a 2019 update TM] by algernonpj 05.09.2019 11:04

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Zitat
To make this fair, let’s assume we adopt Andrew Yang’s UBI scheme at a cost of nearly $3 trillion per year. Someone needs to run a pilot program that asks 125 people to pay significantly higher taxes (including those who currently pay very little in federal taxes) while also giving them $1000 a month as a UBI payment. Then we can ask how happy they feel about the trade-off. My guess is the reaction will be much more mixed.


This touches on my reaction to the article.

Would there be more employment opportunities for Suzie Garza and would Jovan Bravo be able to earn enough working 5 days / week IF the country were not flooded with CHEAP, COMPLIANT, DESPERATE 'guest workers' and illegal aliens who suppress salaries and job opportunities AND IF employees plus employers were not taxed to both support a flood of 'refugees, illegal aliens, and guest workers' who drain the safety net.

Lower taxes on employees would yield greater take-home pay and possibly make working more attractive than collecting bennies

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