While a research project is free to continue giving free money to random people in Stockton, California, one non-partisan research organization says what the city really needs are jobs.
The city of Stockton is a sponsor of the program, but the money for the project comes from private donations. 125 residents living below Stockton's median-household income were selected at random.
"I like it because I feel more independent," said recipient Susie Garza in an interview with Associated Press. "I feel more like I'm in charge, like I have something that's my own."
Mayor Michael Tubbs (D-Stockton) told the Associated Press he thinks poverty is immoral.
"I think it's antiquated, and I think it shouldn't exist," the mayor added.
Steven Greenhut lives in California and serves as western region director for the R Street Institute. He doubts anyone would be unhappy with free money and says the privately-funded program is free to do as it pleases.
"I thought the interview with the mayor was really telling," Greenhut continues. "None of us wants to have poverty, but the key is figuring out ways to reduce poverty, and the way to do that is by creating wealth, which comes from creating jobs."
He adds that jobs are what Stockton needs.
"It's a nice city, but it's a poor city," he describes. "It's got a lot of great natural resources. It's got a big port. It's in one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the world, the San Joaquin Valley, and we're not going to get to where we want to be or where the mayor wants to be just by these little token programs."
In 2012, the city of Stockton, under the leadership of a different mayor, filed bankruptcy. In a related news article on that filing, Reuters said it was the result of "a 15-year spending binge." In 2018, Greenhut wrote an article saying that Stockton was fiscally healthy again, but its experiences and actions should serve as a "warning to others."
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