What is it with New Jersey and falling in love with bad ideas? Seriously, from high taxes to suffocating regulations that have made it a dead zone for business, New Jersey Democrats find new creative ways to tell the rest of the country that it's being run by complete and total morons. No wonder why people are leaving this state in droves. In Newark, they’re going full socialist, testing a universal basic income program (via Fox News):
New Jersey’s largest city plans to test whether universal basic income is feasible, making it the latest government to flirt with a program that would guarantee income for residents whether or not they have a job.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced his decision last week to create a task force and pilot program to study whether the program is possible.
“We believe in Universal Basic Income, especially in a time where studies have shown that families that have a crisis of just $400 a month may experience a setback that may be difficult, even impossible to recover from,” Baraka reportedly said, adding that one-third of the city still lives in poverty.
According to Fox 5 New York, Baraka did not release any further details of the plan, like how it could be funded or when a final decision would be made.
This is a bad idea. Even in socialist Europe, these programs have either been rejected outright or their trial runs nixed. In Switzerland, a 2016 referendum ended with 77 percent of voters rejecting the idea. In Finland, they also did a trial run. You want to know the results (via WSJ):
A much-watched experiment in Finland failed to provide evidence that offering people a guaranteed income is the answer to some of the insecurities caused by potentially profound changes in the jobs market.
Early results from a pilot program suggest that providing unemployed people with a minimum income doesn’t encourage them to find work, given that Finland’s complex social-welfare system can decrease a person’s income when they find work. But neither does it turn them against employment.
Those results are unlikely to dent support for a universal basic income among its advocates, who see it as a solution to a range of big societal problems, including rising income inequality, the expansion of the gig economy, and a potential surge in unemployment as automation advances.
Under the Finnish program, the first of its kind, a random selection of 2,000 unemployed people were paid a tax-exempt income of €560 ($634) a month, regardless of any other sources of income or whether they were looking for work. The pilot ran from the start of 2017 until the end of 2018.
“We can say that during the first year of the experiment the recipients of a basic income were no better or worse than the control group at finding employment in the open labor market,” said Ohto Kanninen, a researcher at Finland’s Labor Institute for Economic Research.
But the people were happier, and they didn’t have jobs. So, happier, but it didn’t give them any urgency to find work. Yeah, that’s just another welfare program that’s going to waste taxpayer dollars. We all know this. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but at least you can be happier while jobless in Newark, New Jersey.