Tomas Vargas, a recipient of Stockton’s “universal basic income” program.
Although the Stockton SEED (Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration) basic income-type experiment is still ongoing, some encouraging signs are already showing up. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs already says that “I think the data shows that people make good decisions, people are healthier, happier”, and a few of the program’s beneficiaries have already given positive feedback.
That is the case of Stockton resident Tomas Vargas, who earns less than the official poverty line, which at the moment stands at 46000 $/year. His view of the program and his personal experience has been recorded on a short podcast on Capital Public Radio, after he knew he would receive 500 $/month, no strings attached, for 18 months (more details of the program in previous news articles). Although that value amounts to only about 20% of Vargas earnings, and to 13% of the poverty line, he still says that “It makes a difference on choices I can make”. He talks about a “big stress relief”, and has a clear notion that the experiment will have an impact for the future of the basic income policy, at least in Stockton.
Although briefly, Tubbs skimmed through the UBI experiment in the latest State of The City 2019, where he delivered an hour-long, much appreciated speech focusing on poverty, crime, housing and community building.
A recent YouTube video from The Young Turks, a left-wing news-based channel with close to 4 million subscribers, focuses on the universal basic income (UBI) pilot project currently being planned in Stockton, California.
The video consists of an interview with Michael Tubbs, Mayor of Stockton, the youngest Mayor in Stockton history. He discusses the nature of the project, and what he hopes it will achieve.
The project has previously been covered in some detail by Basic Income News.
The Democratic Party in California is supporting Universal Basic Income (UBI). It is now public that people like Elon Musk have supported the initiative, mainly justified through job losses due to automation.
However, this of course leads to questions about the source of the influence that is supporting a basic income in the California Democratic Party, which has adopted on the 25th of February its official 2018 Platform.
In the Californian Democratic Party scene, UBI is mainstream, apparently, since it now features in the Platform, but not in the US as a whole. Since politicians with a Democratic label have to read and support the party policies, one may conclude that the UBI concept has gained traction in the Californian state, at least.
A growing cohort of young political activist leaders have been adopting UBI in their political campaigns. One such examples is 27-year-old Michael Tubbs, the present mayor of Stockton, California. He has promoted and launched a pilot project in Stockton municipality (funded by the Economic Security Project).
Region 5 (a congressional district) Director for the California Democratic Party, Rocky Fernandez, said that he has been talking about UBI for several years. Bob Wieckowski has also played an important leadership role in having basic income become concrete and part of the platform. The UBI platform proposal went through and “was passed,” in the convention by “thousands of party delegates”.
UBI has now a main statement in the Economic Justice section of the California Democratic Party platform. However, the same platform reinforces traditional Democratic values, which focus on jobs to further economic mobility for all Americans. The Party platform justifies the UBI in order to eliminate poverty, while simultaneously supporting efforts to establish government guaranteed jobs, that will “help people climb the economic ladder.” This could be interpreted as being willing to secure basic economic conditions for all people, while not trusting that these people will work if they get to be economically secure.
Forbes published its “30 Under 30 in Law & Policy” and notes that these winners come from across the political spectrum. They have been associated with President Trump, the Democratic Party, and emerge from law schools and professional organizations.
Hundreds of online nominations came in for the listing. The nominations were judged by the CEO of Heritage Action for America Mike Needham, Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe, FiscalNote’s Co-Founder Timothy Hwang, and the Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs at 3M.
Winners of this year’s 30 under 30 were people such as the co-founder of the National Trans Bar Association Alexander Chen, the co-founder of Upsolve Rohan Pavuluri, a top policy advisor for Medicare and Medicaid Services Jeet Guram, and numerous others.
One individual, Michael Tubbs, who is 27-years-old, is the mayor of Stockton, California was dubbed as “ambitious” in “an attempt to experiment with social policy.” In order to reduce the violent crime rate, Tubbs wants to replicate, at the time of the listing, the program from the Bay Area. The initiative “pays monthly stipends to young men determined to be likely to engage in gun violence to stay out of trouble, as well as provide mentoring, internships and travel opportunities.” Tubbs and the Stockton municipality had already been highlighted for the efforts concerning demonstrating basic income, which were intended to start effectively at the beginning of 2018.
Basic Income News has been reporting on the Bay Area initiatives in several news articles. You can find more information elsewhere (note 1).
The Universal Income Project, a basic income advocacy group headquartered in San Francisco, is hosting a Q&A with California state senator Bob Wieckowski on basic income and carbon dividends.
This free public event will take place on July 25 at Covo, a coworking space in San Francisco.
Bob Wieckowski, CC BY 2.0 Internet Association
Wieckowski, along with Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, was a sponsor of Senate Bill 775 (SB 775), introduced earlier this year, which proposed to revise the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program and institute a small basic income in the state.
Under SB 775, a portion of the new carbon revenue would be directed towards a newly created California Climate Dividend Program, which would distribute quarterly cash payments to all individual residents of California. The bill proposed a Climate Dividend Access Board to work with state officials to develop a mechanism to deliver the quarterly dividends (see the previous Basic Income News article “California State Legislature to Consider Carbon Dividend”).
Many American proponents of basic income see a carbon dividend, such as that proposed by SB 775, as a politically feasible stepping stone to a universal basic income of a livable amount.
The 2020 BIEN Congress was to be held in Brisbane in Australia from the 28th to the 30th September 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event has been cancelled. BIEN’s Executive Committee and the Scottish and Australian congress Local Organising Committees have agreed the following statement: ‘The Scottish and Australian Congress Local Organisation Committees have agreed that the current plan is to hold the 2021 BIEN congress in Scotland and the 2022 BIEN congress in Australia.’
A Basic Income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement. Read more