One Step Closer to Socialism: California City Launches $6k Universal Income

One Step Closer to Socialism: California City Launches $6k Universal Income

Bernie Sanders must be weeping with joy right now.

In the latest bid to drive California into the ground even quicker, Stockton is expected to become the first U.S. city to ever launch an "experiment" in universal basic income.

The wealth redistribution program, proposed by Mayor Michael Tubbs, would run for a period of three years. It gives a select number of residents $500 a month for no reason other than they're breathing.

From Business Insider:

Stockton is a unique candidate for basic income, which has gained traction over the past few years as a solution to poverty and a safeguard against the looming threat of robot automation.

Tubbs is 27 years old. When he was elected last year at 26, he became the youngest US mayor in a city of more than 100,000 people. The city he oversees — technically an exurb, about 50 miles east of Berkeley — became the first in the country to file bankruptcy, in 2012. It is still very much in recovery.

Tubbs credits his rough-and-tumble upbringing as part of the inspiration for pursuing a creative, if radical, solution to poverty. “When things came up unexpectedly it would cause a lot of hardships,” Tubbs told Vox.

That background was mixed with Tubbs’ admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who himself had proposed a guaranteed minimum income for all citizens in 1967. King advocated for basic income “so we can bring to the attention of our nation this need ... which I believe will go a long, long way toward dealing with the Negroes’ economic problem and the economic problem many other poor people confront in our nation.”

Many of Stockton’s residents face similar economic hardship today. The median household income of $44,797 falls well below California’s state median of $61,818, and the unemployment rate of 7.3% is nearly double the national rate of 4.3%.

As "revolutionary" as the idea seems, Mayor Tubbs isn't the first socialist to propose such a program. He won't even be the first to fail at it.

Last year in San Francisco (an equally if not even more leftist city), a lottery-based experiment that would award one winner a universal basic income for a year failed miserably.

In this instance, the project was privately run — we shudder to think what the program would look like under government control.

The National Review explains the problem with Universal Basic Income schemes:

Three key variables characterize a UBI: its size, its rate of phase-out, and its source of funding. Proponents like to describe a UBI in which each person receives a benefit adequate to live on, the benefit phases out very gradually at very high income levels (or else not at all), and the total cost is covered by replacement of existing safety-net programs. But this violates what Professor Kevin Milligan, of the University of British Columbia, has called the “basic-income impossible trinity.” Of those three objectives, a policymaker can choose only two.

UBI advocates observe that the existing safety net in the United States or any other developed nation spends on each person roughly what a livable basic income would cost. But it does this for only a small subset of the population, for whom benefits phase out quickly as their incomes rise. A UBI limited to the budget of the existing safety net could therefore offer either a small benefit to everyone or a large benefit that phases out quickly, but not both, and a UBI that offers a large benefit to everyone would require a massive budget increase.

Any proposal claiming to overcome the impossible-trinity problem invariably contains a flaw. Take, for instance, Charles Murray’s proposal for a $13,000-per-year UBI paid to all adults over the age of 21, with a partial phase-out (to a minimum of $6,500) beginning when annual earnings exceed $30,000. Murray would fund the program by eliminating not only the entire safety net of anti-poverty programs but also Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, agriculture subsidies, and “corporate welfare.”

Chalk up another win for California socialism and another loss for California tax-payers.

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