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.