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Formerly bankrupt California city tests ‘universal’ income for residents

Formerly bankrupt California city tests ‘universal’ income for residents

The proposed project is being funded by a private grant

The last time we visited Stockton, California, the city residents were voting on a sales tax to help city finances after it filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

The tax passed and the city exited bankruptcy in 2015. It appears few lessons have been learned in the interval.

The city’s 27-year old mayor is planning to launch its “universal basic income” plan, where its citizens are paid simply for being citizens.

The plan, spearheaded by Stockton’s 27-year-old mayor, Michael Tubbs, will likely begin sometime in August 2018 and involve at least 100 people of varying income levels getting $500 a month for three years.

Ever since it declared bankruptcy in 2012, Stockton has been in recovery-mode, and Tubbs sees basic income — a growing topic of discussion around the world over the past couple years — as one way to rehabilitate the city.

In a basic income system, participants get a fixed amount of money that they can use however they want.

The proposed project is being funded by a private grant:

The so-called “SEED” project will give a small group of low-income residents a modest, no-strings-attached monthly income. Funded by a million-dollar private grant from a tech group called the Economic Security Project — co-led by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes — SEED creates a real-world research model of what’s known as universal basic income.

The yearlong program will track what residents do with the money and how having a universal basic income affects their self-esteem and identity.

Stockton may not be the only California city who will offer a “universal basic income”, either.

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.

The idea of a universal guaranteed income has been picking up support among tech CEOs as they grapple with the problem of sweeping automation in the tech and manufacturing sectors.

…Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year said such a scheme could mark a “new contract” between government and citizenry in the face of broader automation.

The Facebook executives and other Californians may wish to consider some related data before continuing social and economic engineering projects.

Item 1:
The number of American and Canadian Facebook users has declined for the first time in history.

Facebook’s daily active user base in the U.S. and Canada fell for the first time ever in the fourth quarter, dropping to 184 million from 185 million in the previous quarter.

It’s a very small decline in a market that Facebook already dominates. But it’s also Facebook’s most valuable market, and any decline in usership — even a small one — isn’t a great sign.

Item 2: A massive exodus of Californians from the tech-heavy Bay Area has begun.

The number of people packing up and moving out of the Bay Area just hit its highest level in more than a decade.

Carole Dabak spent 40 years living in San Jose and now she’s part of the mass exodus that is showing no signs of slowing down.

The retired engineer’s packing up and calling it quits about to move to the state of Tennessee.Dabak cites crowding, crime and politics as the reasons for her own exodus.

…“We don’t like it here anymore. You know, we don’t like this sanctuary state status and just the politics here,” she said.

She plans to sell her home for about $1 million, buy a much larger place near Nashville for less than half that and retire closer to family and friends.

Item 3: Two of the leftiest leftists are leading in polls analyzing the 2018 California Governor’s race, which does not bode well for the economic health of any city in the state, including Stockton.

A new California poll shows Gavin Newsom, the state’s lieutentant governor, and Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor, are leading the field among voters who’ve made up their mind ahead of June’s gubernatorial primaries.

Newsom is preferred by independents and Villaraigosa is the overwhelming favorite of Latinos.

I expect more bankruptcy filings and mass citizen migrations will continue.


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The yearlong program will track what residents do with the money and how having a universal basic income affects their self-esteem and identity.

How about their survival and mobility into the middle class?

You now this is destined to fail when the measurement is ONLY touchy-feely and not about surviving in real life. They seem to be testing if they can pay people to be happy. Good grief.

So there will be 100 recipients of this largesse? That’s a long way from “universal”.

    guyjones in reply to tom_swift. | February 11, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    It’s all about promoting the latest statist buzzword, though. Leftists run circles around conservatives when it comes to shaping the sociopolitical lexicon. Although, admittedly, they are aided in this endeavor by a compliant and water-carrying media. I’m thinking about how ridiculous, obviously partisan, Leftist-crafted euphemisms, such as “Dreamers,” to take one prominent example, end up becoming the de facto terminology employed by media outlets to refer to illegal aliens who are born in the U.S. Or, how idiotic conceits such as “triggers,” “safe spaces,” “intersectionality,” “privilege, “microaggressions,” “disparate impact” and the like all achieve total legitimacy and deference in the media.

    Really, you have to hand it to these people.

Haven’t studies already been carried out with regard to the psychological impact of taking government entitlements? Or, for that matter, money and support provided by family members, or, close friends?

I’d submit that, although there will always exist unabashed freeloaders who have no qualms about mooching off of others’ support, the vast majority of people exhibit some degree of shame at having to do so, and, possess sufficient pride that they eagerly seek out financial independence. And, there’s another component to this — namely, that financial support which comes with no strings or contingencies attached, inevitably will breed indolence and idleness in some people (or, alternatively, exacerbate those traits where they already exist) and undermine any motive or desire at self-improvement and having a strong work ethic.

    Olinser in reply to guyjones. | February 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    When people freeload off FAMILY AND FRIENDS, yes, they seek out independence.

    When people freeload off the government they don’t care because they never have to actually talk or see anybody that they’re mooching off of.

    And yes this has been tested multiple times. In very small communities it works. Anything larger than a community of a few hundred they sit on their asses and do nothing.

They don’t need a yearlong experiment.
If they had come and asked me, or any other common sensed person for that matter, we could have, in 2 minutes, told them what’s going to be the result.

An experiment to see how to make more people dependent on others leading to future Democrat voters.

Don’t we already have these systems in place in the utopian lands of Cuba and Venezuela?

Well, excuse me, but isn’t this about what you’d expect when you elect a 27 year old millennial mayor?

Poor, benighted Stockton. I’m afraid that if you’ve been down as long as Stockton has, you’re desperate enough to be foolish.

    snopercod in reply to Oregon Mike. | February 11, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    His Wikipedia entry explains a lot:

    Tubbs was born in south Stockton and grew up in poverty. His mother, Racole Dixon, was a teenager at the time of his birth, and his father, also named Michael Tubbs, is serving a life sentence in prison for kidnapping, drug possession and robbery.

This idea or something very similar was tried in the early 60s and was a dismal flop. The no-loads are quite happy to lay on the couch eating Bon-Bons and getting fat on someone elses money.

Just another example of that old statement “Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it”.

Universal income…it has such an “equal” feel to it.

The logical progression is from “successful” test to limited government funding then on to full funding requiring eventually 100% taxes but with the glorious outcome of goods and services being distributed to “each according to their needs and to each according to their abilities” . What could be fairer? The Left forgets that this logic isn’t a slippery slope but an empty elevator shaft to Hell. Each generation forgets the past because they think themselves smarter.

Given that it’s California, the stipend should be more like $500,000 per month. Just to cover basic expenses, you understand.

So, Michael Tubbs will give out $6,000 per year to 100 people. This isn’t really a universal income, but let’s pretend.

Does anyone anticipate who the recipients will look like? I’m going to guess LGBTQQIP2SAA folks will go first, it’ll help if they’re illegals at the same time and a regular at resist or Hillary events.

You just knew some fool flush with Facebook cash would be involved. I hope they track the arrest records as well as the recipients ‘self esteem’. Bah!

American Human | February 11, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I’m betting most of the test recipients are illegal. Also, if it is universal, that means everyone in the universe, right? I live in MD, how can I apply?

Implementing UBI in Stockton? That’s like setting out a bowl of s*** and ringing a dinner bell for the flies.

“The yearlong program will track what residents do with the money and how having a universal basic income affects their self-esteem and identity.”

Hello, Stockton, I’m the Hawthorne Effect and I’d like to have a word with you.

They tried this once in an Ayn Rand novel. You’ll never guess happened next.

How about a universal basic output?

michael.scott3245 | February 11, 2018 at 6:08 pm

“From each according to his abilities, and to each according to his needs.”
Didn’t work in the Soviet Union, not working in Venezuela, has never worked anywhere else long-term, except for Cuba where you will be shot if you dissent. Will only work in Stockton California if they can draw from the state treasury and other taxpayers in order to fill the gaps.

I wouldn’t say 500 bucks a month was UBI….it’s more like walking around money…

This is one of those subjects that can’t be rationally discussed in a comment section cause all you get is:

The Margret Thatcher quote…or “That’s socialism/communism” rants…or lazy bums don’t want to work…or the government will tax me more, blah, blah, blah.

This experiment is being financed by rich Bay Area tech nerds.
Silicon Valley has real problems with cost of living and housing…those problems are creeping out to the surrounding areas. Maybe the tech money people are trying to make themselves feel better! (spreading the money around)

I think UBI will be an issue in the future…the question is, can we talk about it without getting hysterical?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to tgrondo. | February 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    The “Tech” Democrat People are just attempting to buy them some cheap SLAVES!

    You know the “burbs” is were their serfs live…..

California will come with their hands out, to the Federal Government, for a bail-out, which we will all wind up paying for.

I am confused
Should they go chapter 11 or 13?

From 1968 to 1982, the US and Canadian governments conducted a total of five negative income tax experiments (4 in the US). They were the first major social science experiments in the world. They were a disaster. Only family units with mother and father were chosen. There were approximately 10,000 families in the study. The family breakup rate was high.

$500? In California? Didn’t Nancy Pelosi say $1000 was “crumbs”?

“The city’s 27-year old mayor is planning to launch its “universal basic income” plan, where its citizens are paid simply for being citizens.”

It’s naive to think that the requirement is that one be a “citizen”, or that actual “citizens” will receive most of the handouts.

Doing my part to make sure Portland’s latest wave of transplanted bums find out about this beauty. Thanks Mayor Tubbs.

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg may be willing to give his no-limit credit card over to the Stockton mayor, it’s all such a good & compassionate concept.