Stockton, California, to Begin “Basic Income” Welfare Program in 2019

Beginning in 2019, 100 residents of Stockton, California, will be receiving a “basic income” from the city government. This “pilot program” is the first of its kind in the United States and is akin to similar “universal basic income” programs currently and previously carried out around the world.

Here’s a summary of the Stockton situation as described by CBS13 TV in Sacramento. I’ve chosen to quote the details of the plan from local media because I want readers to appreciate that this is neither satire nor some attempt to exaggerate the facts to serve an editorial end:

A team of independent researchers will pick 100 people to receive the money. The purpose is to study how an extra $500 a month impacts people’s health and stress level. Researchers are also looking to see if people feel financially secure.

“Around this country, especially in communities like Stockton, people are working incredibly hard and falling further and further behind. We have people in our community that work two or three jobs, we have people that are working and still can’t pay rent,” said Mayor Michael Tubbs.

The researchers will also have a comparison group as part of the program. It consists of 200 additional people who will get a $20 gift card for filling out surveys and provide feedback.

“People who are working incredibly hard are smart and they don’t have money [not] because they are not good with money, they don’t have money because jobs aren’t paying enough for folks to live and survive. We believe something as small as $500 a month can make a world of difference,” he said.

There is so much wrong with this plan politically (assuming that the concepts of “consent of the governed” and “republican government” are still believed in California), but respectable economists have pointed out several pecuniary problems, as well.

In an article from 2016 assessing the “lunacy” of the “universal basic income” (UBI) proposal, Nick Giambruno laments, “It’s just a matter of time before the idea gains traction in the U.S.”

Welcome to the future, Nick!

Giambruno lists a few European efforts to institute a UBI:

Finland wants to pay its citizens around $1,000 a month.

The Netherlands and the U.K. have also proposed dishing out free money.

In Switzerland, there’s a proposal to hand out around $2,800 a month to everyone. This one is surprisng since the Swiss are generally sensible about money.

Needless to say, the Swiss overwhelmingly voted their UBI proposal down in a referendum. But Finland was on the cutting edge of the forced charity (yes, I know, a logical impossibility) when in 2017 it initiated its version of the UBI. The government of Finland doled out €560 (about $637) a month to 2,000 jobless citizens chosen randomly. The recipients were subjected to no minimum requirements to qualify for the “free” money.

Mind you, the average income tax rate in Finland is north of 51 percent. In other words, the “free” money is being taken from those who worked for it and given to those who did nothing other than have a pulse. Where I come from, that’s called theft.

The Stockton, California, program is described a bit differently. City leaders there claim that this money will be used to help the working poor. Here’s the hard-luck tale of the hard-working, but never-getting-ahead dad, as told by CBS13:

Stockton dad Jose Miranda works hard to save his money, but setting aside a small portion of his paycheck every other week can be a challenge. He says his expenses just keep piling up.

“Kids you know, my kids. I spend money on my kids the most, I think. And rent, in particular. Food and phone,” said Miranda.

Miranda lives in a neighborhood where the median income is at or below 46 thousand dollars.

It’s one of the areas the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration program (SEED) is sending letters to people who may be eligible to get $500 a month with no strings attached.

“I think for the people that really need it, it will be good for them, like a lot of people say groceries, rent, car payment, even if you want to help a family member, anything extra is good to get,” Miranda said.

Efforts to Denigrate Robert E. Lee at Washington and Lee University Fail

President William Dudley of Washington and Lee University, after reviewing a commission’s 31 recommendations given to him in May, has opted to reject its suggested changes to Lee Chapel. The main recommendation was to convert Lee Chapel into a museum.

General Robert E. Lee is buried in Lee Chapel, on the campus of the college where he served as president and that now bears his name, along with fellow Virginian George Washington. With the continued agitation to knock down statues of Confederate heroes — of which there is no greater Confederate icon than Lee — many thought President Dudley would follow that pattern, and diminish Lee’s status at the school.

Stefani Evans, a third-year law student and member of the Coalition for Campus Change, was highly critical of Dudley’s decision to keep Lee Chapel as it is, insisting, “It’s like President Dudley is saying in one sense that he supports diversity, but in the same sentence he’s saying we are unwilling to change the fact that Lee is the centerpiece of campus.”

This is, of course, the definition of diversity for these American Taliban who want to airbrush history to suit themselves. They believe diversity is for everyone else to accept their version of history, while others surrender their beliefs and values.

“They don’t want to hear how diverse students want to be treated,” she added. The truth is that Dudley did hear the recommendations from the commission, but he just did not agree with their conclusions. That is why they are known as recommendations.

Another recommendation Dudley rejected was the suggestion that Washington and Lee hire a genealogist to find living descendants of the 84 slaves the school owned, so they can provide them with “reparations” via scholarships. It should be noted that whatever merit there is of the idea of scholarships for descendants of slaves owned by the college, they were owned before Lee was the school’s president. Lee did not take the job as school president until Congress passed the 13th Amendment, which officially ended slavery in the United States.

In other words, Lee had nothing to do with anything — including slaves — the school owned prior to 1865.

The Virginia Flaggers, a local Confederate group that often meets at Lee Chapel, expressed relief that Dudley had opted not to trash Lee’s memory. “President Dudley and the Board of Trustees flatly rejects committee’s recommendations that would shut down the Chapel and removed every trace of R.E. Lee from campus. #winning #GodBlessRELee.”

Washington and Lee has made some changes in the past to deal with criticisms from those who unfairly associate Lee with slavery. In 2014, they removed Confederate battle flags from Lee Chapel. In 2016, a plaque was added outside Robinson Hall, featuring the names of slaves who built it.

But, of course, it was not enough — because it never is.

Some faculty were critical of President Dudley’s response to the recommendations. English professor Lesley Wheeler said, “If we’re not willing to examine how we’re complicit in racism and think about changing our ways we’re just going to keep losing more people.”

Some faculty have expressed that they are now looking for other jobs. T.J. Tallie left the school last year. Tallie, who is black, and was a humanities professor, explained why he left. “I left because it [the school] is incapable and unwilling to reconcile its white supremacist past and make a more diverse future. I don’t want to be someone who hopes that one day it will get better. Ultimately, all of the academic rigor of the institution is not worth being at a place that makes you feel fundamentally alien.”

What is perplexing about this attitude is why Tallie ever took a job at Washington and Lee, if he did not like Robert E. Lee, or was at least not willing to tolerate his legacy? After all, Lee Chapel already existed when Tallie and other discontented faculty took their positions at the school.

Not everyone at Washington and Lee is disappointed at President Dudley’s refusal to diminish Lee. Hayden Daniel, who is the editor of The Spectator, a conservative newspaper at the school, expressed satisfaction at the rejection of the proposals.

When asked about Lee’s alleged role as the chief defender of slavery, and whether that supposed history should be included as part of Lee Chapel, Daniel said, “Juxtaposing the two together in that way would reignite the debate even more…. To me and most people the symbolism of Lee Chapel isn’t necessarily about slavery.”

It certainly should not be, if one is discussing Lee. Calling Lee the chief defender of slavery betrays gross historical ignorance. Such a proposition presumes that the Civil War was fought to abolish slavery. After seven states had left the Union by early 1861, eight states where slavery was still legal remained in the Union. If the war had really been fought to abolish slavery, one has to wonder why President Lincoln did not call for an invasion of those eight states, too.

Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress what he termed a “rebellion” in the seven seceded states is what precipitated more states, including Lee’s Virginia to leave the Union.

Lee opposed secession, but eventually, he reluctantly resigned his position in the U.S. Army rather than participate in an invasion of his home state. Once Virginia seceded, Lee offered his services to the new Confederate government. He certainly did not join Virginia to save slavery, as he freed his own slaves, which he had inherited from his father-in-law. In fact, Lee’s “emancipation proclamation” actually freed some slaves, unlike Lincoln’s war-time measure, which freed no slaves, at least not immediately.