Government-sanctioned discrimination: Oakland launches ‘guaranteed income’ for poor blacks, minorities, illegal aliens

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OAKLAND, CA – The city of Oakland is launching a guaranteed income program, a privately funded program that will give low-income families of color, minorities, and illegal aliens in the city $500 per month with no rules on how they can spend it.

Poor white citizens are barred from the program based on race.

The Oakland Resilient Families program will provide 600 randomly selected minority Oakland families with low incomes and at least 1 child under 18 a guaranteed income of $500 per month for at least 18 months.

The program’s website states on its about page:

“A guaranteed income is predicated on the understanding that people are the experts in their own lives, and that the solutions to poverty are being created by the communities experiencing it.

“This unconditional, no-strings-attached income is meant to enhance, rather than replace, the existing social safety net by providing families with the flexibility to decide how best to meet their needs.”

The program targets black and minority families. White citizens are not eligible for the selection process, but the program is available to illegal immigrants:

“Families can apply online and will be randomly chosen for the $500/month. Oakland Resilient Families is not a first-come-first-served program and is open to undocumented residents and unsheltered families. Any eligible family will be able to apply.”

The program’s guiding principles include advancing strategies to eliminate racial disparities in economic stability, mobility, and assets through a guaranteed income:

“BIPOC families in Oakland and the nation experience generational wealth inequities rooted in ongoing systemic racism. The movement for a guaranteed income as a tool for racial and gender equity dates back to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Black Panther Party.”

Oakland Resilient Families began with Mayor Libby Schaaf’s pledge to bring a guaranteed income pilot program to Oakland when she joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income as a founding mayor in the summer of 2020.

The program is modeled after a similar program launched in 2019 in Stockton, California, led by former Mayor Michael Tubbs.  Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said of her city’s new initiative:

“We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence, and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally.”

Oakland’s program is funded with private donations from Blue Meridian Partners, a philanthropic organization focused on poverty, which has raised more than $6.7 million.

About 80% of those funds are going into the hands of residents. UpTogether, a national nonprofit based in Oakland focused on fighting poverty, will run the program.

The program began taking applications from June 8th to June 30th for eligible families living in a roughly one square mile area of East Oakland. The program will open in phases.

Phase One of Oakland Resilient Families is only for residents of the East Oakland geographic area, and Phase Two will be open to all eligible Oakland residents and is expected to commence later this summer.

The deadline to apply for this fund is June 30 at 5 p.m. PST.  Three hundred eligible applicants will be randomly selected to participate in this pilot. The program will notify these 300 people by email in mid-July.

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LA County approves pilot program for ‘guaranteed basic income’, targets recently released prisoners

May 22, 2021

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles County could soon become the largest county in the country to launch a universal basic income pilot program, providing guaranteed income to poor residents. The board motioned that the pilot program target recently released female prisoners.

The $24m LA program, introduced as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s budget proposal, released last month, would provide $1,000 a month to 2,000 families for a year. These funds can be used for any purpose.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve the pilot program.

The guaranteed basic income program would cost taxpayers $24 million. Garcetti called the program an effort to end poverty in LA:

“We’re betting that one small but steady investment for Angeleno households will pay large dividends for health and stability across our city and light a fire across our nation.

“We’re showing what it takes to fulfill Dr. (Martin Luther) King’s call for a basic income once and for all.”

County Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl co-authored a motion saying that poverty and economic opportunity are public health issues that require a broad strategic plan to address a growing wealth gap.

Their motion read:

“As we endeavor to create a more resilient economy… we must explore guaranteed income and other measures of poverty alleviation as permanent county policy, not just as an emergency measure.

“The coronavirus crisis has heightened and made more vivid what was already clear to many: The inequities in our economy have been a matter of life and death for many of our most vulnerable county residents.”

“We must fundamentally shift the idea that people who face financial insecurity have somehow failed, and instead recognize that it is the inequity and lack of access built into our economy and government assistance programs that have failed us.”

The motion instructs the County’s chief executive officer to develop the plan and find funding within 30 days.  The motion also states a broader initiative must be developed within six months.

The board directed the CEO to target women living at or below the poverty level who were released from jail in the last seven months to participate in the program.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger was the lone vote against the pilot program, expressing concerns about a lack of research into the plans and the potential for fraud:

“I am deeply concerned about the motions approved by the Board of Supervisors today to guarantee a basic income for an unspecified group of individuals over a period of at least three years.

“Implementation of `Guaranteed Basic Income’ has yet to be fully researched and vetted in a jurisdiction comparable to ours. As the largest county in the nation, we should be more diligent, thoughtful, and strategic before we implement a program of this nature.”

Barger said she would prefer the county to establish programs to help poor residents better prepare to join the workforce, such as training programs and educational opportunities:

“Our focus should be to provide care and resources that will help our entire foster youth population succeed before we expand social services to include a universal income.”

Although the pilot program will be the largest of its kind in the country, there are 12 regions that offer basic income protections to poor citizens, some of which are L.A. County districts including Stockton, Oakland, and San Francisco.

A majority of Americans oppose the government providing a guaranteed basic income, according to a survey last year by the Pew Research Center.

Support for the policy is much higher among Democrats, younger people, blacks, and Hispanics. Nearly 80% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents oppose the idea of the federal government providing a basic income of $1,000 a month.

The survey focused on benefits provided by the federal government and did not address state funding. However, funds provided to California from the Federal Government’s “American Rescue Plan,” designed to recover from the economic harm of the pandemic, could be used to help fund the program.

LA received $1.3 billion in federal stimulus funds. 

 

 

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