Stockton, CA - An experimental program in Stockton proposed by the mayor would give all residents free cash in the amount of $500 per month, with no strings attached.
27-year-old Michael Tubbs, mayor of Stockton, is embracing the idea. He said that his mother worked long hours when he was growing up but was about $300 short each month.
Tubbs said that his mother would borrow money from cash-checking places just to get by.
He said, "If we had $300 a month, life would be less stressful, or we could move into another neighborhood. Maybe she would’ve been able to go back to school and get her BA, or pursue a passion.”
The city of Stockton will likely be the first to try the UBI program. The mayor said that he hopes to launch the program early next year, and hopes to enroll several hundred residents for at least two years, depending on funding.
The UBI movement today has its roots in Silicon Valley. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla's Elon Musk have endorsed the idea as a way to prevent a jobless society.
YCombinator, well-known for funding high-profile startups, is hosting academics who will research the idea. It plans to use a control group and randomly select 3,000 people in Oakland in 2018.
Funding for the Stockton UBI program has begun, with $1 million given by the Economic Security Project.
The idea for the program has been around for decades, and was endorsed by Martin Luther King in 1967 as a way to create a minimum standard of living.
Recipients of the program could receive $10,000 a year, which realistically would add trillions to the budget annually. It would most likely do away with government programs such as food stamps and Medicare.
Not everyone thinks the program is a good idea, Former Vice President Joe Biden opposes UBI, and said that it will drive people out of the workforce, and that having a job is essential for emotional health and social status.
Tubbs said that his "constituents in Stockton are incredibly resourceful, intelligent and hardworking. And oftentimes all they need is an opportunity.”