The California State Senate just passed Senate Bill 1341 by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley), to establish a guaranteed income program to 15,000 homeless graduating high school seniors. The “California Success, Opportunity, and Academic Resilience (CalSOAR)” is now headed to the Assembly. Assemblyman Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) is the principal co-author.
Cities across California have done this already, judging by California Globe headlines from just the last two years:
The Globe reported in March 2021 Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced a privately funded universal basic income program, to provide 600 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) families with low-incomes an unconditional $500 per month for at least 18 months – but Schaaf said the program is only for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Nothing for poor white or Asian peoples.
The jury is still out if guaranteed basic income programs actually “helps overcome economic instability.” The Mises Institute, which promotes the Austrian school of economics teachings, says the best ways to help alleviate poverty and unemployment, are to reduce the cost of living and create conditions favorable to plentiful employment, including making it easy to start a business, and easy to operate a new business.
The seemingly noble goal behind universal basic income is to help to alleviate poverty. However, economists have long warned that UBI creates a disincentive to work.
The other issue with UBI is that it subsidizes non-productive activities, says the Mises Institute. Rather than being encouraged to look for a job that pays enough to live on, too often people are lulled into using UBI to help fund flailing (or failing) careers as artists, actors or musicians – all very tough industries in which to make a living.
In the bill analysis (below), homeless children and youth are described and defined this way by the Federal Government:
Defines, in the federal McKinney-Vento Act Homeless Assistance Act, “homeless children and youth” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children who are sharing the housing of other people, living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds, emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned in hospitals or awaiting foster care placement, or who are living in a place not generally used for sleeping, such as cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, and migratory children living in the circumstances above (emphasis ours).
Universal or Guaranteed basic income would also be provided to “migratory children.” Does the United States assist them in filling out the required application? Do states pay this or does the federal government?
And non-profits will be eligible to participate in fund distribution:
For purposes of the Guaranteed Income Program, defines “eligible entity” as either of the following:
a) A city, county, or city and county; b) A nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income taxation, as provided, and that provides a letter of support for its pilot or project from any county or city and county in which the organization will operate its pilot or project. (WIC 18997(f))
Apparently non-profits are now just an arm of the government, and trusted with the distribution of government funds.
The bill “Requires an award not be considered financial aid, not be considered income for financial aid or other purposes, and not negatively impact the award recipient’s eligibility for future financial aid.”
An interesting note in the bill analysis says Sen. Cortese had a previous bill which would have provided UBI or GBI to foster youth who exited foster care at age 21. That seems a far more purposeful bill, as well as much more manageable and trackable. But it appears SB 739 was shelved by the author.
“Within California, there are over 270,000 youth experiencing homelessness, according to a 2020 report from the UCLA Center for Transformation of Schools,” said Juan Ramiro Sarmiento, Media Manager for Young Invincibles, the group which issued the press release about SB 1431. “This number has increased 48% in the past decade and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to US Census Data, there are 15,000 homeless students in their senior year of high school, most of which will lose essential resources available within the K-12 system.”
Young Invincibles vows to “keep pushing until it reaches the Governor’s desk and gets funded. Now is the time for us to invest in the most vulnerable students and empower them to build a future free of poverty.”
Correction: The article says that SB 739 was shelved. Sen. Cortese’s office notified the Globe that SB 739 was incorporated into last year’s budget through the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program.202120220SB1341_Senate Human Services