The California state parliament passed the first state-funded basic income program in the United States on Thursday. Pregnant women and young adults who have recently left the sponsorship system receive monthly payments.
For decades, most welfare benefits in the United States had specific rules about how money was spent. In general, it was stipulated that the allowance should be for food or rent – states the AP.
The guaranteed basic income program does not specify what the money will be spent on, and aims to reduce stress related to poverty, which causes health problems and complicates getting or keeping a job, the agency wrote.
The motion adopted in the California Houses of Parliament calls for $35 million to be spent on basic income this year. These funds will be given to the local organizations and municipalities that will run the program and determine the amount of the monthly payments.
Some places in the US already have similar programs, and the guaranteed income is usually between $500 and $1,000.
“If you look at the statistics for our teens in care, the statistics are devastating. We must do everything we can to help these young people,” said Scott Welk, the Republican leader in the state Senate.
This changes the philosophy of our help, the government no longer acts as the “big brother” that decides what’s best for you – said Democratic Senator Dave Cortez.
John Kopal, president of one of the taxpayers’ associations, criticized the program, saying that guaranteed income programs “shift money from productive individuals to those who may choose to be unproductive.” He added that instead of a basic income, money should be allocated to scholarships or other initiatives to encourage education.