Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Michael Tubbs, the 29-year old mayor of Stockton, Califonia, plans to give all the residents in his city $500 a month in hopes to assist those affected.
“I’m happy that our federal government has shown a willingness to understand… that during times of crisis, the best thing you can do is to give folks cash to navigate through,” Tubbs told Huffington Post. “It has to last at least as long as the crisis.”
Even prior to the outbreak, Tubbs has been an advocate of universal base income. Since February last year, he started distributing $500 monthly stipends to 125 low-income residents in the city (or those below the city’s median income line or $46,000 annually).
Tubbs says the program aims to help lift families out of poverty. Based on the results recorded from Stockton, the $500 stipend was used for essentials such as food and utility bills, which showed that low-income families still prioritize their basic needs.
While the coronavirus outbreak caused further economic collapse which affected mostly low-income residents, Tubbs believes that it is not only during this crisis that the no-strings-attached cash handouts must be distributed. Tubbs claims that it should be a permanent program in the government.
“Even before this catastrophic disruption, a lot of folks were living in economic crisis,” said Tubbs, “and our economy was not working for the vast majority of people. It behooves all of us to ensure that everyone at least has an income floor.”