Many Americans questioned the seriousness of California residents who are attempting to divide the state into 3 separate states. Read this story, and you’ll wonder what took them so long…

Just 80 miles east of Silicon Valley, one of the wealthiest regions in the country, is Stockton, California — once known as America’s foreclosure capital.

Soon, the former bankrupt city will become the first in the country to participate in a test of Universal Basic Income, also known as UBI. Stockton will give 100 residents $500 a month for 18 months, no strings attached.

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The nontraditional system for distributing wealth guarantees that citizens receive a regular sum of money. The goal is to create an income floor no one will fall beneath.

The concept of Universal Basic Income has gained traction and support from some Silicon Valley leaders, including Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg. It is seen as a way to possibly reduce poverty and safeguard against the job disruption that comes from automation.

“We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas,” Zuckerberg said at a Harvard commencement address in May 2017.

The Stockton project has its roots in Silicon Valley, too. Its financial backers include Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes’ organization, the Economic Security Project — a fund to support research and cultural engagement around Universal Basic Income. It contributed $1 million to the Stockton initiative.

In an interview with CNNMoney earlier this year, Hughes said being part of the country’s top 1% helped him realize the great inequities in the economy.

“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 said. “I believe that unless we make significant changes today, the income inequality in our country will continue to grow and call into question the very nature of our social contract.”

With a population of more than 300,000, with one in four people living in poverty, Stockton was considered a great testing ground for Universal Basic Income.

The project, expected to launch in 2019, hopes to use data to address the policy questions about UBI. For example, does a guarantee of a basic income affect school attendance and health, or cause people to quit their jobs or start new businesses?

The project is also interested at looking at how the funds impact female empowerment and if it can help pull people out of poverty. –Kron4.com


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