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Chicago may soon become the largest municipality in the U.S. to test a universal basic income program.
Chicago alderman Ameya Pawar recently proposed legislation that would provide 1,000 families with a $500 monthly stipend — no questions asked. The bill already has the backing of the majority of city lawmakers, and Pawar hopes to soon work with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to implement the pilot program, The Intercept reported.
“Nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t have $1,000 in the bank for an emergency,” Pawar told the outlet. “UBI could be an incredible benefit for people who are working and are having a tough time making ends meet or putting food on the table at the end of the month.”
The article goes on to state the following:
Pawar campaigned to earn a slot on the ballot for Illinois governor, but withdrew his name from contention after being outspent by his opponents, the outlet reported.
In addition to the $500, the bill would adjust the Earned Income Tax Credit program to allow the families to put their tax credit toward their monthly mortgage payment, according to the outlet.
My legislation calling for the creation of a Chicago #UniversalBasicIncome pilot has 36 co-sponsors! On to the Commitee on Workforce Development and Audit. Committee chair @40thWard is also a sponsor. More soon! #UBI pic.twitter.com/W7D5Hbx31E
— Ameya Pawar (@Ameya_Pawar_IL) June 27, 2018
Backlash has already been fierce, in response to Pawar’s announcement on Twitter:
What a horrible idea!!!! you should take the $500 x 1000=$500K and put that towards fighting the crime that is terrorizing your city. Socialism does not work.
— Rob Bell (@RSBase) July 17, 2018
We already have universal basic income – its called welfare and its an abysmal failure at reducing poverty
— Brian Wilson (@criticalmach) July 17, 2018
Seriously??? Fight crime, create a positive business friendly environment and you’ll make change. Giving money away will not help people climb out of poverty. All you’ll do is keep them where you want them and voting for your side. Stop the madness and stop using people.
— Andrew Meyer (@theamericanturk) July 17, 2018
So where is this money going to be coming from? This is nothing but a stunt to keep these people in poverty and dependent on the Tax Payers. Well your definitely trying to keep your votes and creating more entitlements.
— Darin Oldham (@darin_oldham) July 17, 2018
Rahm Emanuel has got to go! The strong critic of Trump should be kissing his A$$ instead. Chicago is turning into a war zone and they have some of the strictest gun laws in the US. Shows you laws are only good for the people who abide by them. Now FREE money?!? Brilliant!!
— jeffthe man (@jeffthe_man) July 17, 2018
One Twitter user was worried that $500 wouldn’t enough to live on.
$500 hundred a month? Will this be in addition to food stamps, Medicaid, Section 8, and TANF? Would the participants get the $500 a month if they’re already receiving one/all of the above programs? Why is $500 considered “basic income”? Who can live on $125 a week?
— Colette (@coletteniery) July 17, 2018
Another thanked him for the proposal, noting it would create a “red wave” at election time.
I just wanted to thank you for being one of the Biggest helpers to the #RedWaveRising2018 Please keep up these totally stupid ideas. We appreciate your help.
— Robert M. Murphy (@rmurphy1971) July 17, 2018
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