Legal Insurrection readers may recall our report on Stockton, California, and its experiment with “universal basic income”.

The city’s 27-year old mayor is planning to launch this program, where its citizens are paid simply for being citizens. Sometime in August 2018, at least 100 people of varying income levels getting $500 a month for three years.
 On the other side of the globe, Finland is ending its basic income experiment.

…While the project is praised internationally for being at the cutting edge of social welfare, back in Finland, decision makers are quietly pulling the brakes, making a U-turn that is taking the project in a whole new direction.

”Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income,” Kela researcher Miska Simanainen told the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.

The initial plan was for the experiment to be expanded in early 2018 to include workers as well as non-workers early in 2018, but that did not happen – to the disappointment of researchers at Kela. Without workers in the project, researchers are unable to study whether basic income would allow people to make new career moves, or enter training or education.

”Two years is too short a timeframe to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a vast experiment. We ought to have been given additional time and more money to achieve reliable results,” professor Olli Kangas, one of the experts behind the basic-income trial, told Finland’s public-service broadcaster YLE.

It appears that changes in Finland’s welfare rules will mandate training and actual work to those expecting support and receiving benefits.

[The Finnish Social Security Agency} has also introduced legislation making some benefits for unemployed people contingent on taking training or working at least 18 hours in three months. “The government is making changes taking the system away from basic income,” Kela’s Miska Simanainen told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

The scheme – aimed primarily at seeing whether a guaranteed income might incentivise people to take up paid work by smoothing out gaps in the welfare system – is strictly speaking not a universal basic income (UBI) trial, because the payments are made to a restricted group and are not enough to live on.

Meanwhile, in Stockton, the big news is the number of illegal guns on the streets.

Illegal guns continue to be among the primary focal points for Stockton police.

Within a span of four hours Saturday night, police arrested four people on suspicion of weapon charges and took three loaded firearms off the streets.

During a downtown traffic stop for an expired registration, officers conducted a “probable cause search” about 7:45 p.m. and found a loaded firearm in the vehicle, according to a report.

According to Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, he hopes the city’s data will spark get a larger conversation about universal income. There is no longer any need to gather that data, as Finland has clearly shown that path is full of fail.

I would suggest a better use of Stockton’s tax dollars and resources would be a more robust focus on law-and-order, and perhaps investing in apprenticeship programs so that citizens can earn more than a basic income.


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