Critic : basic income experiment “rewards sloth”

A writer from a “free-market think tank” takes his cuts at Mayor Michael Tubbs’ universal basic income program:

“Realistically, 500 bucks a month isn’t much to live on anywhere in California, Steven Greenhut writes in the Press=-Enterprise, which serves . If this idea takes hold, it will be followed by demands to increase the payments. I can envision the “Living Wage Coalition” that would rise up to demand more money from City Hall, the Legislature or Congress. It’s dangerous to make larger swaths of people dependent on the political process to secure their living. This already is the case to some degree, but this idea will make it far worse.”

Elsewhere in the piece, Greenhut writes:

“But my biggest fear is what it will do to the already eroded concept of work. Many people prefer to do nothing if someone else will pay their bills. “A UBI would redefine the relationship between individuals, families, communities, and the state by giving government the role of provider,” wrote Oren Cass in a National Review article last year. “It would make work optional and render self-reliance moot.” It’s one thing to provide a safety net and another to reward sloth.”

Not to dismiss the criticism, but there’s a contradiction in this argument: $500 is not enougthto live on but people who receive it will become lazy layabouts.

Greenhut is also evidently unfamiliar with Stockton’s financial state. Recipients of UBI can holler for more money, but the city of Stockton doesn’t have it to give. Besides, the money comes from a foundation, a fact Greenhut does not mention.

I agree with him on this, though: “Stockton should focus on the basics. If officials keep their budget in order, rein in compensation packages for city employees and provide first-rate services and a friendly business climate, it could lure the jobs that are the key to a middle-class lifestyle.”

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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