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Fri May 14, 2021, 04:28 PM

Why More Cities Are Handing People Cash w/o Strings- Poverty, Inequality, Welfare Reform

Last edited Fri May 14, 2021, 05:01 PM - Edit history (1)

NPR- KQED, May 14, 2021. - Excerpts, Ed.

The idea of giving Americans cash without conditions once seemed radical. But the pandemic has changed that. The spotlight on income inequality has pushed the concept of a guaranteed income into the mainstream. In recent months, nearly 2 dozen American cities have signed on. Los Angeles may soon become the largest U.S. city to try it. It's considering a plan to provide $1,000 a month to at least 1,000 households. The pandemic hit America's lowest-wage workers hard: people working in restaurants, hotels and shops. A recent study shows poverty has risen sharply.

"Unfortunately, without COVID and without the pandemic and the economic downturn, I don't know if we would be having the conversations with the intensity that we are regarding guaranteed income," said Aisha Nyandoro, exec. director of Springboard to Opportunities, home to a guaranteed income project in Jackson, Miss. "But we are. So we'll take it." The program started in 2018, way before the pandemic. It targeted moms like Tia Cunningham, who got a call from Springboard's Magnolia Mother's Trust 3 years ago offering her "a late Christmas present." The project started with just 20 moms. Others that have followed are larger but have similarly been funded by philanthropists. The project in Los Angeles stands out because it would use public money.

But advocates have even more ambitious plans. They want this fringe concept to go universal in the form of a guaranteed payment to every American family. Andrew Yang, a Democratic candidate for New York City mayor, made it the centerpiece of his last campaign for president. Many credit Yang with helping bring the idea into the mainstream. "He did a really good job of getting the idea out there and getting people very interested in it," said Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. In the mid-1990s, Sawhill served on President Clinton's welfare task force. She sees this current push for guaranteed income as a reaction to policies that largely ended welfare under Clinton. Those policies cut off cash payments to people who didn't have jobs, no matter how poor they were, with the idea of incentivizing work. Sawhill traveled the country to meet with recipients.

"One of the things that surprised me is that a lot of welfare moms really don't like welfare," she said. "It's not their first choice. They'd much rather be working."

For years before the welfare reform of 1996, critics stigmatized the people who received it, according to Jesse Rothstein, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley. "Much of the motivation for welfare reform was a sense that there were a lot of people who could work but weren't working because they preferred to stay on welfare," he said. One of the enduring examples has been the so-called "welfare queen" trope, popularized by conservatives. Four decades later, poverty has endured. Mayors from Richmond, Va., to Oakland, Calif., see guaranteed income projects as a way to address it. A recent project in Stockton, Calif., challenged the belief that free money discouraged work..
elements of the universal basic income concept may already be shaping federal policy. President Biden has set out an ambitious agenda of cradle-to-grave support for a wider group of people...

More, https://www.npr.org/2021/05/14/994290664/more-cities-are-handing-people-cash-with-no-strings-attached-heres-why

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Reply Why More Cities Are Handing People Cash w/o Strings- Poverty, Inequality, Welfare Reform (Original post)
appalachiablue May 14 OP
I_UndergroundPanther May 14 #1
appalachiablue May 14 #2

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 04:46 PM

1. If they give it

To people on disability SSI, I would hope food stamps don't get reduced and section 8 / HUD rent raised,because in effect it would be like getting no extra money.
I hope people doing Ubi are aware of the money shell game played every year with low income people on SS, SSI disability. The cola is a bunch of bullshit because of this shell game.

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Response to I_UndergroundPanther (Reply #1)

Fri May 14, 2021, 05:04 PM

2. That's a real concern to watch out for

esp. with conservatives involved, I've read about some of the shaft games.

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