Tag Archives: universal basic income

Newark, New Jersey aims to become first American city to implement universal basic income

When one wants to implement a system, they usually do research on similar efforts that have been successful. Pssst, demorats: You won’t find one with UBI.

From NY Post: Newark could become the first major American city to roll out a guaranteed income in a bid to slash the city’s sky-high poverty rates.

The city’s mayor, Ras Baraka, is setting up a task force to study if such a program would be possible as one way to tackle the city’s entrenched poverty.

Baraka provided no other details in his State of the City address, which was delivered last week.

“The problems we have belong to all of us, not just a few of us, so the solutions must be collective and not individual,” Baraka said. “We believe in universal basic income, especially in a time where studies have shown that families that have a crisis of just $400 in a month may experience a setback that may be difficult, even impossible, to recover from.”

More than a quarter of Newark residents — 27.8 percent — live below the poverty line, figures from the Census Bureau show. The typical Newark household makes just $35,000 a year, roughly half of the $75,000 average for the entire New York City metro area.

Basic income programs typically provide assistance to individuals regardless of employment status — pitched by some economists as a 21st-century update to classic welfare programs that have been dramatically reduced in recent decades.

High-profile liberals, like freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have embraced the notion as a way to help working-class Americans amid the economic disruptions caused by the growing automation of the economy.

Conservatives quickly derided the idea as a potential big-government boondoggle, pointing out that a Scandinavian country, Finland, quickly abandoned its basic income experiment.

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Socialism works! Panera closes pay-what-you-want community cafes; Canadian basic-income recipients sue government

Many years ago, my erstwhile, faux socialist friend Stephanie exclaimed, in a moment of great frustration when I disagreed with a stance she took:

“I’ve made up my mind. Don’t confuse me with facts!”

Stephanie exemplifies one of the stubborn attributes of the Left: They persist in advocating socialism/communism, in spite of the testimony from history that it doesn’t work. Bearing silent witness are the bones of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of those whom communist regimes had slaughtered in the 20th century. But the Left insist that “they” didn’t do socialism/communism properly, and that “this time” they’ll make it work.

Here are two recent examples of the failure of socialism which, once again, will fall on deaf ears.

(1) Panera

Panera Bread Company is a chain store of for-profit bakery-café fast-casual restaurants with over 2,000 locations in the United States and Canada.

In November 2010 in a pious TED talk, Panera founder Ron Shaich announced the inception of Panera Cares — a chain of six nonprofit “community cafés” in Dearborn, Portland, Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis, which operate on a “pay-what-you-can” model “to help raise awareness about the very serious and pervasive problem of food insecurity (hunger) in the U.S.”.

Customers pay whatever amount they “can” for food, while others are encouraged to pay more (“donate”) in accordance with “suggested donation amounts” listed for all menu items “designed to help you understand the cost of ‘paying it forward’ and assisting those who struggle with food insecurity.”

In other words, the model of the Panera Cares community cafés is not even socialism. It is communism — Karl Marx’s “To each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities”. In truth, the community cafés should more accurately be called “communist cafés”.

Alas, human nature being what it is, although some people paid their “fair share” (whatever that means), many others simply took advantage of the communist “pay-what-you-can” model by paying little or nothing. The cafés reportedly were “mobbed” by students and homeless people looking for a free meal.

As an example, the Portland-based Panera Cares communist café was reportedly only recouping 60% to 70% of its total costs because of students who “mobbed” the restaurant and ate without paying, as well as homeless patrons who visited the restaurant for every meal of the week. The location eventually limited the homeless to “a few meals a week.” (DailyWire)

None of the communist cafés was self-sustaining.

In February 15, 2019, Panera Cares closed its last communist café, in Boston. In an emailed statement, Panera Bread says: “Despite our commitment to this mission, it’s become clear that continued operation of the Boston Panera Cares is no longer viable.”

In 2016, Panera went private after being sold to a private equity firm, JAB Holding Company in 2017 in a $7.5 billion deal. In November 2017, founder and CEO Ron Shaich stepped down and was replaced by former Panera president Blaine Hurst. (Nation’s Restaurant News)

(2) Canadian Basic Income

Not only is human nature such that we will take advantage of socialist/communist pricing like Panera’s “pay-what-you-can,” we will exact revenge if welfare offerings are withdrawn.

In Gibralta, the baboons and macaque monkeys that freely roam the rock are a big tourist attraction, and are fed by kind tourists. Alas, the simians became so used to the welfare that they feel entitled to the free food — they actually throw rocks at the tourists if they are not fed. Gibraltar’s tourism minister Ernest Britto said, “Children are frightened. People cannot leave their windows open for fear of the monkeys stealing. Monkeys can bite, and contact with them runs the risk of salmonella or hepatitis.”

Like the baboons of Gibralta, recipients of a basic income (BI) pilot project in Canada are enraged at the project’s surprise cancellation and are suing the government.

Tacey Lindeman reports for MSN, Feb. 4, 2019:

Members of an internationally lauded basic income pilot project in Canada are taking their province to court over its surprise cancellation, arguing that the Ontario government’s decision is unethical and that it was made in bad faith.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is Tracey Mechefske, a basic income recipient in Lindsay, Ont., who receives CDN $2,803 (US $2,125) a month although her husband is employed.

On February 14, 2019, in a unanimous decision, Ontario Superior court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that “the pilot project is a government funding decision which does not give rise to individual rights enforceable on judicial review.”

See also:

~Eowyn

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Chicago task force recommends UBI of $1,000/month for struggling families

As if this idea hasn’t been tried and failed, many times.

From MyFoxChicago: Would a universal basic income help to alleviate poverty in Chicago?

Some residents may be about to find out. A new proposal unveiled by a mayoral task force late last week would provide 1,000 struggling Chicagoans with $1,000 per month — no strings attached.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the pilot program, which would cost up to $12 million per year and be funded by the city taxpayers and philanthropic contributions, was recommended as a way to help individuals and families, along with senior citizens, who have a hard time making ends meet.

“Guaranteed income can have powerful effects: significant reductions in poverty; ability to cover an unexpected emergency; improve school attendance; an increase in savings and improvements to health and well-being,” the report states, according to the Sun-Times. “These are goals that every Chicagoan can get behind.”

Universal basic income has been touted by tech executives like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a way to deal with the potentially massive job losses resulting from automation and AI in the coming decades. A number of Democrats, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and several 2020 candidates, have also voiced support for a universal basic income of some type.

Retiring Alderman Ameya Pawar, who chairs the task force, told the Sun-Times that a lot of public policies aimed at poor people are rooted in discrimination and shame.

“There is this belief in the United States that, if you help poor people, they’ll get addicted to help, when what we know is, if you help poor people and give them cash, they make the same decisions people with money make,” Pawar told the Chicago newspaper.

Read the whole story here.

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Rahm Emanuel sets up UBI task force to tackle poverty

Liberals never learn from history.

From Fox News: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will form a task force that will consider implementing the so-called “universal basic income” program in the city, as the embattled mayor seeks to cement his progressive legacy after promising not to run for another term.

The idea for the program, which would make monthly payments to a number of Chicago families without any conditions, has been floated around in the city for months now.

Back in June, Chicago’s North Side Ald. Ameya Pawar introduced a resolution calling upon the mayor to launch the pilot of the program and pay 1,000 families $500 every month.

The new task force set up by Emanuel, according to the Chicago Tribune, will have a panel that will decide whether such welfare initiative could work in the city.

Pawar, who will be part of the panel, claims universal basic income is a way to tackle poverty amid the loss of jobs due to automation and the offshoring of industries.

But the creation of the task force may open Emmanuel for criticism, as it comes just less than a week after he announced that he won’t run for a third term. The decision to implement a potentially costly program will rest on the shoulders of another mayor.

Pawar told the Tribune that he doesn’t believe Emanuel is creating the task force only to claim credit for it without actually implementing.

“Chicago would be the largest city in the country to take this step,” he said. “I think the mayor sees this as a chance to lead the way as cities try to grapple with poverty and income inequality at a time the federal government is not addressing those things. This would be a legacy issue [for Emanuel].”

A number of cities in the U.S. have either discussed or adopted a similar version of the program. The city of Stockton, California will begin paying 100 fortunate residents $500 a month without any conditions in 2019.

The city, which was once known as America’s foreclosure capital, has recently fallen on hard times, with 1-in-4 residents living below the poverty line and the median household income at nearly $8,000 lower than the national median.

In Oakland, California, Y Combinator, a startup incubator, is giving out $1,500 a month to randomly selected residents. It’s expected the money will soon be distributed to 100 recipients with a prospect of expanding the program to 1,000 people who will receive $1,000 monthly.

DCG

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