Stockton mayor says Basic Income experiment an early success

Business Insider

Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California, was just 28 years old when he launched a pilot program that gives free money to his city's residents.

In February, the city began distributing $500 monthly stipends to 125 residents who live at or below the median income line (about $46,000 annually). The stipends are a test of basic income, a policy approach that would essentially pay people simply for being alive.

In October, Stockton released the first set of data about how the program was faring. Most participants, initial results showed, were using their stipends to buy groceries and pay their bills.

Tubbs told Business Insider that these preliminary findings gave him even more confidence that basic income would benefit his city — and could even serve as a national solution to income inequality. 

Critics of basic income argue that cash stipends reduce the incentive for people to find jobs and may even encourage recipients to make frivolous purchases. But Tubbs said he wasn't surprised by the results of the experiment thus far. 

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