Cambridge, Massachusetts Rolls Out Universal Basic Income Program

In early May, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts rolled out a program, “Rise Up Cambridge: Cash Payments for Families with Kids”, which will provide low-income households with a monthly check for $500 to pilot a guaranteed basic income program. According to Martin Armstrong, the people eligible for this program “are families with children who earn under 250% of the federal poverty level ($75K for a family of four).” The 18-month program will not use a lottery system such as other guaranteed basic income programs, and any individual eligible for it can still apply. The city government has allocated $22 million for the initiative and projects roughly 2,000 families to apply for the program.

The money to finance the program will largely come from the American Rescue Plan, which takes hard-working Americans’ tax dollars and re-distributes them to others. Additionally, some independent donors will make contributions.  People with children under 21 are the only individuals eligible for this program.

Armstrong noted that Cambridge is one of the highest cost of living cities in the US. Cambridge’s cost of living is 73% higher than the national average. The median rental price in the city is roughly $4,277 per month, while the median home price is north of $1.4 million.

“We want to stabilize as many households as possible and make sure that they have a chance to continue to stay in our city that, you know, is not easy to stay in,” Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui commented. 

While a guaranteed income program is preferable to the modern-day welfare state, it will be just another redistribution program among others that mark the US political economy. Such a program will explode the US’s already massive deficit and national debt problems. On top of that, this program will create more inflationary pressures.

If we want economic stability, downsizing the regulatory state and ending the Federal Reserve, not adding another spending program for the government to take on, is a must.

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