Here they go again. California lawmakers are preparing to consider a new bill that would provide a monthly cash payment to the vast majority of people over the age of 18, regardless of their wealth, employment status or anything else. This “universal basic income” concept is very popular among the socialists, but it’s been problematic in the few places where it’s been attempted on smaller scales. Now some people want to apply it to almost all of the nearly 40 million people in our nation’s most populous state. What could possibly go wrong? (CBS San Francisco)
A state lawmaker has introduced a universal basic income bill that would give every Californian $1,000 per month.
AB 2712 was introduced by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) on Thursday.
The bill would create a California Universal Basic Income Program (CalUBI) where residents over 18-years-old would receive $1,000 per month.
Here’s Assemblyman Low’s announcement of the bill on Twitter.
I’ve just introduced Assembly Bill 2712- California Universal Basic Income (UBI).. Continuing your work, @AndrewYang . #HumanityFirst #UBI https://t.co/J96GihNilb pic.twitter.com/mJC9bX5Vn5
— Evan Low (@Evan_Low) February 21, 2020
As you can see, Low is a big fan of Andrew Yang and claims to be “continuing his work.” Since Yang isn’t going to wind up being president next year, I suppose somebody has to do it. (Insert eye roll here.)
There would be some exceptions to the “free money” offer, mostly involving those who are currently collecting unemployment insurance or other state subsidy funds. But beyond that, ever other adult could look forward to getting a check in the mail every month. I somehow doubt this will pass, but let’s look at just a few of the many, major problems with this proposal.
First of all, the idea that the checks need to go out to everyone sinks the plan before it begins. If we were only talking about sending checks to everyone living below the poverty line, that would at least be another example of the “wealth redistribution” schemes that Democrats are in love with. But that’s not the case here.
Further, Low plans to pay for the roughly $42 billion this program would cost each year with a new value-added tax (VAT) of 10 percent on all goods and services. That means that even the poorest people who could probably use some extra cash will suddenly be paying ten percent more for every meal they eat, every gallon of gas they buy, clothes, pet food… you name it. That’s going to add up to a thousand dollars a month pretty quickly, effectively wiping out the benefit of the “free money.”
Oh, and the people who are on unemployment or receiving other benefits through Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWorks or similar programs (in other words, the people who probably need money the most) will be paying that massive VAT and not even getting a check to balance it out. The stunning genius on display here is truly breathtaking.
And what will people do with the money? Will they use it to improve their lives at least? Will it help those with substance abuse issues break their addictions? That’s clearly uncertain. When Stockton, California started a similar program for a limited number of residents last year, a follow-up study showed that the money was very hard to track. It was frequently taken out largely in cash rather than being applied directly toward rent or other bills. Some of it was almost certainly used for drugs and/or alcohol.
This is a crazy proposal, and hopefully, even the California legislature isn’t so far gone around the bend that they’ll be willing to consider it. But then again, this is California, after all. I’m not sure if there’s any such thing as “too crazy” on the left coast anymore.