This is what I found on CBSNEWS.COM:
Groceries, electricity bills, tuition and kids’ tutoring fees: These are some of the recurring costs that Stockton, California, resident Tomas Vargas Jr. can now afford thanks to the $500 per month he’s receiving from the local government.
Vargas Jr., a participant in the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, or SEED, program, is among the 125 local residents who were randomly selected to partake in the country’s first government-led experiment in guaranteed basic income.
“I was surprised, then shocked, and now I am grateful,” Vargas Jr., 35, told CBS News of his inclusion in the pilot program.
He said his family and close friends know about the stipend, which comes with no strings attached, but some others think it’s too good to be true. “It’s not a secret. My friends and family know, but some people don’t believe it,” he said.
The demonstration was spearheaded by the Economic Security Project, a network focused on basic income in the U.S., in concert with Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, who envisioned using the stipend as a way to level the economic playing field.
The privately-funded program made the first of 18 disbursements in February. Recipients had to be adults living in a Stockton neighborhood where the median income was at or below the city median of $46,033 a year. It used a randomized selection process to ensure fairness, and recipients have, as promised, received $500 a month since February through a prepaid debit card, to spend however they choose.
“Stockton’s residents are working incredibly hard, but falling further behind. Our number one goal is to shine a spotlight on the reality that a majority of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. We also want to move forward the conversation about finding a solution to providing an economic floor for everyone,” Mayor Tubbs told CBS News of the initiative.
Read more at CBSNEWS.COM.
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