A California city Stockton plagued by financial woes is testing a new welfare plan to give families a “universal basic income” of $500 every month.The plan, spearheaded by Stockton’s 27-year-old mayor, Michael Tubbs, will likely begin sometime in August 2018.
“Stockton is absolutely Ground Zero for a lot of the issues we’re facing as a nation,” Tubbs told CBS San Francisco (video below). “Ideally, I would like to serve 100 families for 18 months at $500 a month.”
Stockton is experimenting with a welfare program called “universal basic income,” which gives low-income residents $500 a month, no questions asked. The money is coming from a private grant.
Mayor Tubbs, who was endorsed by Barack Obama, took office in January 2017. He is Stockton’s first black mayor, and its youngest-ever at age 26.
According to the Economic Security Project, Stockton is “highly diverse,” with foreign-born individuals making up 26 percent of the population and 45 percent of households speaking a language other than English.
The city, which declared bankruptcy in 2012, is looking for solutions to its ongoing poverty problem. One in four residents lives below the poverty line, and the city is grappling with rising home prices and wage stagnation.
For now the program is being funded with private money, mostly funded by The Economic Security Project, which is contributing $1 million to the yearlong pilot. Several-dozen families will be given $500 a month, and monitored to see what they do with the money and how it affects self-esteem and identity.
Stockton isn’t the only liberal stronghold flirting with such a broad welfare program. In Oakland, a startup is giving around $1,500 a month to a handful of selected recipients, with the aim also to study how financial health and well-being are affected.