"In January of 2017, Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California, became the
city’s first Black mayor as well as the youngest person elected to that
office, at age 26. Not long after coming into office, Mayor Tubbs
announced that Stockton would become the first American testing ground
for a basic income program. Stockton has suffered economic hardship
since the early ’00s and Tubbs promoted a leadership that would invest
in the people of Stockton and not simply the image of Stockton. “Work
does have some value and some dignity, but I don’t think working 14
hours and not being able to pay your bills, or working two jobs and not
being able—there’s nothing inherently dignified about that.”
The Stockton program, funded by private donations, began in February of
2019, through the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED),
giving 125 residents $500 a month with no stipulations on what the money
could be used for. One of the benefits to this kind of program is that
it allows individual residents and their families make decisions on what
is the best way to spend that money, to meet their personal needs. As
Tubbs told The Guardian in March of this year, “Everyone we talked to,
there was a different way they would use $500, and they all made sense.
There was no way, as a government official, I would be smart enough to
think of all that.”
Tubbs has been able to extend the program through January to help meet
some of the stresses the Trump-driven pandemic has brought to his city.
But his example, considered radical just a couple of years ago, is
finding its way into other mayoral platforms and policy pushes. CBS
reports that mayors in at least 25 cities are pledging their support for
similar UBI-style pilot programs."
Via 7JaJaDa2 and Kevin O'Brien.
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*** Xanni ***
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