Stockton, California, recently started an experimental basic income program. The concept is simple: 130 residents will receive monthly payments, no strings attached, over the course of 18 months. The first payment was delivered in February.
When the experiment is complete, according to The Los Angeles Times, city authorities will pore over how people spent the money and how it changed their lives — resulting in a study that could provide crucial insight into the economics of basic income.
Participants aren’t exactly getting lifted out of poverty — the city is paying each person $500 each month. It’s not enough to change anyone’s tax bracket, but Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs argues that it could grant security to people who are struggling to make ends meet or working several jobs.
“I know what it’s like to be hungry or to see your mom struggling. Everyone in my neighborhood was always outside playing because their parents were working. And they weren’t at home waiting for the government to save them,” Tubbs told the LA Times.
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