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|January 23, 2019|
California town to give residents $500 monthly to test universal basic income
STOCKTON--A formerly bankrupt city 80 miles east of Silicon Valley will give its residents a $500 monthly stipend to test the efficacy of universal basic income.
The town of Stockton, Calif., will be the first in the United States to test the concept.
One hundred residents will receive the distribution for 18 months, without conditions, CNN Money reported.
The idea behind the wealth distribution program is that it guarantees all citizens a living stipend and safeguards against job destruction by automation.
Silicon Valley leaders including Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg have endorsed the idea.
Businessman Andrew Yang, who is running for President as a Democrat in 2020, is campaigning on implementing universal basic income for all Americans between the ages of 18 and 65.
“New technologies — robots, software, artificial intelligence — have already destroyed more than 4 million US jobs, and in the next 5-10 years, they will eliminate millions more. A third of all American workers are at risk for permanent unemployment. And this time, the jobs will not come back,” he writes on his website.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes also supports the idea. He is among its financial backers through his Economic Security Project, contributing $1 million to the initiative.
“It is such a fundamental idea behind America that if you work hard you can get ahead — and you certainly don’t live in poverty. But that isn’t true today, and it hasn’t been true in the country for decades,” Hughes told CNN Money earlier this year.
One in four of Stockton’s 300,000 residents live in poverty and its median household income falls below the national average, according to the report.
Mayor Michael Tubbs said the “looming threat of automation and displacement” motivated the initiative.
It’s unclear how the 100 residents who receive the stipend will be selected.
Similar programs have already been rolled out in Finland, Italy, Uganda, Cambodia and India. (Source: New York Daily News)
Story Date: July 11, 2018