Basic Income for 100 Stockton Residents will be smaller than Oprah 276 car giveaway

The City of Stockton went bankrupt in 2012 and it now has a budget of $626 million.

A random sample of the 300,000 residents of Stockton, a port city in California’s Central Valley, will get $500 per month ($6,000 a year) with no strings attached.

It’s the latest test of the basic income policy. It is funded from philanthropy. The first $1 million in funding comes from the Economic Security Project, a pro-basic income advocacy and research group co-chaired by Facebook co-founder and former New Republic publisher Chris Hughes and activists Natalie Foster and Dorian Warren; Hughes provided the group’s initial funding. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs hopes to launch the basic income project as early as August 2018.

The project — known as the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED).

The lucky winners will get the $6000 per year for three years.

The Mayor of Stockton, Tubbs, hopes to have 100 people in the program. This will require raising another $1 million to cover the additional $800,000 and for the costs of running the program.

The 100 people getting $18000 over three years will be a slightly smaller giveaway than when Oprah gaveaway 276 new cars.

Oprah kicked off her 19th season in dramatic fashion by giving all 276 members of the studio audience a free car.

As of 2017, the only well established and ongoing cash transfer programs akin to a basic income are the Permanent Fund of Alaska in the United States and Bolsa Família in Brazil. Additionally, several other countries have tested, implemented, or begun planning the following basic income experiments:

Experiments with negative income tax in United States and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s.
A town in Manitoba, Canada experimented with a basic guaranteed income in the 1970s
The Basic Income Grant (BIG) in Namibia, launched in 2008
An independent pilot implemented in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Several villages in India participated in basic income trial, while the government has proposed a guaranteed basic income for all citizens.
The GiveDirectly experiment in Nairobi, Kenya, which is the biggest and longest basic income pilot as of 2017.
A study undertaken in rural North Carolina in the U.S.
The city of Utrecht in the Netherlands launched an experiment in early 2017 that is testing different rates of aid.
Ontario, Canada will implement a basic income trial in summer 2017.
The Finnish government implemented a two-year pilot in January 2017 involving 2,000 subjects.
Eight, a nonprofit organization, launched a project in a village in Fort Portal, Uganda in January 2017, providing income for 56 adults and 88 children through mobile money

21 thoughts on “Basic Income for 100 Stockton Residents will be smaller than Oprah 276 car giveaway”

  1. Ahh, Bolsa Família in Brazil. It’s great! You have to prove that you have no other income, otherwise you’re ineligible for it.

    Of course, that makes it so that those people who _do_ receive the benefit will refuse gainful employment unless it is pays considerably more than the benefit does. Otherwise they’ll just stay on it. It’s not exactly living fast, but one can eke out a half-decent existence on it.

    So there’s a pathway for getting people on it, but none for getting them off it. Mission accomplished! Have no illusions that it’s not working exactly as intended.

  2. Let me say a few things about this Universal Basic Income (UBI) which was called a Guaranteed Annual Income in years past. Let’s say that you are working in a very difficult & demanding job like construction, roofing, working in a hot factory environment or whatever & you are making close to what the UBI is. Wouldn’t many people just quit so they could sit on their pipers & get a check instead of working? If the wages for these occupations are then significantly raised to keep those workers from quitting, wouldn’t that just accelerate automation? Politicians want votes so many will campaign against each other in a bidding war to see who will raise the UBI the highest. As more people quit their jobs so they can get an easy check then the people actually working will be less & less while more & more get a check. Eventually you will have the economic prosperity of Venezuela. Will this UBI be increased for the number of children that you have? If yes then some parents may not get their children everything that they may need. Will immigrants be covered by this including those here illegally? Will they be able to get this money immediately upon entry to the US or will they have to wait for a time period? If yes then we will be flooded by those people wanting to get on the gravy train. Of course not everyone would abuse this but if a significant amount of people do then we will have a huge problem. Once a federal program is in place it is almost impossible to rescind it.

  3. According to Charles Murray’s book “In Our Hands” these piecemeal trials of unconditional basic income will not demonstrate its most important feature: The human ecology consequences to civic society of everyone in a community knowing everyone else has the resource. Any UBI test including N people should be run on an area whose total population is N — and which is unlikely to attract immigrants from other areas as a result.

    • Not seeing the point here.

      In many countries (Australia, New Zealand, much of Europe) there is sufficient welfare that “everyone in a community knowing everyone else has the resource” has been in place for a couple of generations now.

      We can see what the result is: not that much.

      • Answering Docpat:

        So everyone (N) is getting a welfare check instead of a portion (N-1) of everyone?

        I read Murray’s book too. So perhaps it was easier to understand what James Bowery was referring to.

  4. What in the world is happening here. The good: sounds like the initial funds are not tax proceeds. The bad: The government needs 800,000 dollars to cover the expenses of giving away (small change) to 100 people over three years. That is the story here. Why does it take so much money to send a little money to 100 people? I would think the whole project could be started, run and run again the next three year period for a few hours of computer time.

    • No you read it wrongly.

      100 people get $6000 per year for 3 years. That is $1.8M in money being given away.

      They already have $1M, so they need another $800 000 to get the total they are going to give away. PLUS administration costs which are not specified.

      The $800k is not admin cost, it is to make up the total amount that will be given away.

      There will be admin costs, because otherwise what’s the point? This is an experiment to see what happens, that means someone needs to monitor these 100 people and see how they go. Otherwise the experiment learns nothing.

      A cynic would point out that the need for more money is the exact weakness that all basic income schemes suffer from.

  5. For some time I’ve thought that there should be moderately high corporate taxes with a discount on the taxes for the wages of the employees. Eg: discount for the 1st 1500 hours or $50000 on each emplyoyee (vary those numbers to taste). At the least I would expect this to mitigate the transition problems when tech advance reduces some type of employment.

    Has anything of the sort been tried anywhere, and if so how did it work out?

    • I’m fairly sure that all current corporate tax schemes let the corporation deduct any wages paid.
      Or have I misunderstood your suggestion.

    • A much better solution would be the ‘Universal Dividend’.

      Wow! Something Andy Jay & I agree on!


      P.S. Georgism at the national level can only be implemented via interstate compacts as federal direct taxation of land w/o apportionment would be unconstitutional barring an amendment otherwise.

  6. We know that welfare benefits tend to harm people over the long haul, though few politicians would dare acknowledge that. I’m not at all sure basic income will have different results.

      • Same old worn out tropes from the right wingers that ignores empirical evidence and common sense.

        What does basic income or the flaws of this bogus experiment have to do with Andy Jay”s trolling?


    • The harm of welfare I’ve read about are where a welfare dollar is subtracted for every dollar earned. If a person can only make equal or slightly more money than what is coming in from welfare then there is no to little incentive to work. Free time is worth more, especially to a single mother. Negative Income Tax fixes that by reducing welfare on a sliding scale so more money is coming in for every dollar earned even as the welfare money is decreased. That allow for far more incentive to work for those who do not have dependents.

      The other problem can be as straight forward as giving up on ever finding work. Once that sets in nothing but someone reaching out can help. Even that may not be enough if there are issues requiring retraining.

      Other issues have to do with welfare being dehumanizing thanks to onerous monitoring and restrictions which can be attached to certain programs. That can create problems as simple as inefficiency in implementing programs because they have to play secret police as well as do basic management. A basic income at least gets around that because it doesn’t care about income or pretensions of morality. It could deincentivize some labor, but it does have the advantage of all further income not being cancelled out. Also, it avoids being treated like a child, if you screw up even with that money coming in then it is wholly your fault, but you aren’t forever screwed either, and you are left with the dignity of your own decisions rather than being lorded over by judging bureaucrats.

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