The Water Cooler – City of Stockton Giving 100 Of Its Residents $500 A Month For 18 Months

July 11, 2018 12:12 pm · 67 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

The City of Stockton is giving 100 of its residents a $500 monthly stipend for 18 months to test the efficacy of universal basic income, according to reports.

The idea behind the wealth distribution program, according to the City of Stockton, is that it guarantees all citizens a living stipend and safeguards against job destruction by automation, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

QUESTION: Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea, and would you support a local city doing the same thing?

Talk about it….

Bill Cutting July 11, 2018 at 12:24 PM

Lol um of course it’s a bad idea. My question is where is that money coming from? The state or just the city residents? Either way you will run out of other peoples money eventually with that kind of program but alas we are living amongst communists. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea obviously has an IQ lower than 85

MamaBear July 11, 2018 at 2:14 PM

Money is from a private grant. Crazy idea, so it must be worth testing.

Suzanne July 11, 2018 at 12:31 PM

The way some (many) people take advantage of handouts and sit on their a**es whining about how done wrong they are, waiting for someone to send them a check…. no way is this a good idea. And since it’s the tax payers who pay for it, I would not support or live in a city that does.

We cannot compare the integrity of people today to those from the Depression era, where it was a source of shame to rely on government handouts and doing so made people work all the harder to get off government help and stand on their own feet. There simply is no integrity now. None. Anywhere.

Keep all three barrels up July 11, 2018 at 1:35 PM

Suzanne, well said.

The Fractionator July 11, 2018 at 12:35 PM

So who pays for it? If it’s on the backs of the middle clas It’s a bad idea.

Yeah No July 11, 2018 at 1:06 PM

If it is on the back of ANYONE it is a bad idea. You do not take from one, and give to another.

Anon July 11, 2018 at 12:43 PM

What do you expect with a 27 year old Mayor……he was raised on social programs.

Supposedly silicon valley tech giants are paying for it.

Maybe they should just pay their fair share of Taxes to deal with their own homeless problems….

Roz July 11, 2018 at 12:43 PM

What?, Really? They are going to test this? Lucky for those 100 folks.
O.K.,…so how much money and where is the money coming from?
It better not be coming out of my wallet or taxes.
To guarantees all citizens a living stipend and safeguards against job destruction by automation,…any other jobs included?
I want to know how this is going to work for a ‘good idea’, since it sound like a ‘bad idea’.

Concordejet July 11, 2018 at 1:01 PM

Okay how is that going to work if ones have Social Security such as SSI and SSDI SSA you name it and one who is receiving pension reporting to get $500 a month for 18 months? I do not think residents cannot qualify for this program if ones already have Social Security and/or unemployment benefit check

concord ygnacio July 11, 2018 at 3:01 PM

Not sure about the requirements for Stockton, but if you get unemployment or SSD, that is ok to the Federal and state agencies involved. SSD (since it is insurance) only cares about EARNED income (from work); likewise with unemployment. SSI (since it is welfare) does care about any other income, and your monthly SSI payment would be reduced by $500 a month then.

AlwaysBePositive July 11, 2018 at 1:01 PM

Universal basic income is an idea worth exploring. As population grows, and automation increases there will be fewer low skilled jobs and more low skilled people. UBI is not free money, it is an idea that would lead to less per person govt benefits than the current system.

Yeah No July 11, 2018 at 1:09 PM

It is in fact just that – free money.

And how do you figure “it is an idea that would lead to less per person govt benefits than the current system.”

If it comes from the government, then it comes from taxpayers.

Suzanne July 11, 2018 at 1:15 PM

Maybe what they need to be exploring is better education so there aren’t as many low skilled people. Or, how about drilling into people’s brains that they need to apply THEMSELVES and push THEMSELVES a little harder to get ahead. Anyone over 40 understands what that means.

Pyrrhus July 11, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Those against a UBI, what is your solution for the future when there are more people than there are jobs? Automation will happen in our lifetime that will be putting blue collar and white collar workers out of jobs. It doesn’t matter if you go to school for a higher education. those jobs will disappear. I look at my own position at a Forbes 100 and know that many of the jobs here can easily be eliminated in the future.

The fact is Corporations have one purpose, to make money. They will do everything they can to cut costs and one of the largest costs are employees. So please tell me, what should we do to avoid this? You have leaders in business like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Zuckerberg, Branson, Altman, etc that are already for UBI or warning that it will be in the future.

So, instead of complaining and yelling loudly about leaches, come up with an idea that would avoid the need for UBI. Again, Automation is inevitable, saying otherwise is just burying your head in the sand.

Doh July 11, 2018 at 5:01 PM

Pyrrhus -My solution is a good education. I don’t know why CA cuts school funding. In the 70’s it was the best in the country. In the 80’s we voted for a lottery supposed to add to school funding but that was bait & switch. Every dollar the lottery brought in was cut from the school budget.

The more education a person has the more they make. The more they make; the more they pay in taxes. The state needs to look at the long view.

Pyrrhus July 12, 2018 at 8:34 AM

Doh – The problem with that is that there are only so many jobs available to those that have a higher education. People are much more educated now than they were in the past. In 1900 the high school graduation rate was only 6.4%. Fifty years later it was 59% Now we are at nearly 90%. We are reaching 35% of the population having a bachelors degree. How long before a Master’s degree will be the standard in order to receive an entry level position.

All of that still doesn’t stop the advancement in automation and artificial intelligence. Here’s a list of the most vulnerable jobs.

I believe that UBI alone is not the solution. We want people to strive, be creative, contribute in some way to society, and to be happy.

AlwaysBePositive July 12, 2018 at 8:41 AM

yn…Where do you think the current govt benefits come from? Of course the taxpayers will pay for it. Who do you think pays for them now?
s…All reasonable ideas, but they really don’t address the reality of what the world’s economy is becoming. Many are not able to improve their education because they are simply in a survival mode.
d…The CA education system has fallen because the people of CA are not willing to pay what they used to pay. Prop. 13 has not only artificially raised housing costs in CA, it has reduced our educational system to a shadow of its former status.

DD July 11, 2018 at 1:02 PM

I guess crime does pay.

Gavin Nuisance July 11, 2018 at 1:07 PM

The concept of a guaranteed income was proposed by President Nixon in 1969. That was a different Republican party in those days.

george July 11, 2018 at 1:08 PM

To teach a dog new tricks one thing you DON’T want to do is give them their treats before they do anything!

Captain Bebops July 11, 2018 at 1:09 PM

People, we are now living in a world with burgeoning population and not enough jobs for all nor that much that needs to be done. The real problem is overpopulation but it’s too late to deal with that.

This is a test program and a worthy one. You will wind up paying more if people have to turn to crime to survive. Some of you are a bit too smug about your economic situation which could turn on you anytime. Then what would you have to say?

Capitalism is a system that have proven over it’s history to produce boom and bust cycles. It is not a stable system for societies of high population. Sorry.

Hayden July 11, 2018 at 1:13 PM

Why stop with just a few?????
Pretty soon you’re going to run out if other people’s money!!!

The Mamba July 11, 2018 at 1:15 PM

Sure, go for it, test it in Stockton. Didn’t Stockton go bankrupt?

The Professor July 11, 2018 at 1:15 PM

Is this the same Stockton that filed for bankruptcy in 2012? Why yes it is! Stockton screwed itself with stupid financial policies (work 100 hours for the city and get FREE, LIFETIME HEALTHCRE).

This latest idiocy just proves that dumb politicians never learn.

Patriot July 11, 2018 at 1:19 PM

This is a Zuckerberg Universal Basic Income ploy. I guarantee that after their “study“ of how well this worked, the result will be that it was so successful that they will have no choice but to expand the program. That means taking money from people who have some and giving it to others.

Yes, it works great until you run out of other peoples money.

Not only is this absurd, but it is harmful to the state of California because business owners who employ people will see this for what it really is and accelerate their exit plans to leave this state. Working hard to get ahead only to have it taken away from you makes no sense. The state is going to collapse. This is just one more reason why

Congratulations Stanford University – you created an idiot and now he is the Mayor of Stockton who couldn’t run a lemonade stand.

Wikipedia – He then attended Stanford University on a need-based scholarship, graduating in 2012 with a BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and a master’s degree in Policy, Leadership and Organization Studies. LOL hahahahahah !!!!

KinseyLeaky July 11, 2018 at 1:21 PM

If I want $500 a month extra I’ll cheat on my taxes instead of moving to that
crap-hole city of Stockton.
You move to Stockton cause it’s cheap and it’s crap, stupid to even do this.

RDS July 11, 2018 at 1:27 PM

It’s been explored. And it’s a failure.

Who couldn’t see that coming.

Rob July 11, 2018 at 2:10 PM
Shasta Daisy July 11, 2018 at 1:28 PM

I posted this on whatever earlier this week.
Not tax dollars.


Anon July 11, 2018 at 1:52 PM

It’s called bait and switch.
Those corporations already get way too many tax breaks and will now get another tax break / write off for “donating” to this cause.

Caskydiver July 11, 2018 at 1:33 PM

It Is simply idiotic.

WC Resident July 11, 2018 at 2:11 PM

Does anyone know how giving someone $500 a month for 18 month “safeguards against job destruction by automation?”

I could see $500/month of great benefit to people doing unpaid or low-paid internships. In that case they have already completed the academic requirements but still need to put in so many hours in their field before they can be employed. With that group we know they have already invested much of their time in study and that within a year or two they will be collecting a regular paycheck.

I also believe the unpaid or low-paid internship concept should be abolished.

long time resident July 11, 2018 at 2:21 PM

For those who think this is a good idea because of population maybe we need to slow down our growth. Our country needs to curb immigration and make sure those who do come in have job skills and a way to support themselves and not depend on taxpayer handouts. Legal immigration yes, illegal no. No free rides.

AlwaysBePositive July 12, 2018 at 8:48 AM

ltr…Economically you are fundamentally wrong about America’s immigration issues. With a falling birthrate, if America doesn’t increase immigration, our economic growth will falter.

Fred P. July 12, 2018 at 11:24 AM

@always – it’s about LEGAL IMMIGRATION.

Legally, you are fundamentally wrong. Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL – get it?

LEGAL immigration is NOT the issue.

Lambie July 11, 2018 at 2:29 PM

Sure, let Stockton do it, maybe all the homeless and drug addicts will move there 😉

Foonman July 11, 2018 at 2:43 PM

We can only hope…as we will be getting many new from SF after they work out there plan…..

The Observer July 11, 2018 at 2:31 PM

In the 1700s, it was widely believed that the Industrial Revolution would eliminate many jobs and impoverish the majority. Two hundred years ago, the Luddite movement in England grew out of the fear that weaving machines would replace human textile workers, making them unemployable. So far, every improvement in mechanization and automation has led to more and higher paying jobs for most people.

Maybe this time those predicting that computers will render a high percentage of people unemployable will turn out to be correct. However, history doesn’t appear to be on their side.

ME July 11, 2018 at 2:34 PM

I swear I thought I heard that they were doing this a couple of years ago–but then I never heard anything more about it.

escapehatch July 11, 2018 at 2:42 PM

Have you been to the DMV lately? They could use some help.

Ricardoh July 11, 2018 at 2:52 PM

Not bad for the ones getting the money they can get better tents or eat better but as an idea it is as useless as you know what on a boar.

What The ?? July 11, 2018 at 3:13 PM

I think its a great idea and something worth trying. Most the people on here ignore the fact that if you can give these people something so they can take care of themselves it will cost us LESS than if they end up homeless on the street.

Something in this society needs to change. Again, most people are holding on to old notions such as if you work and make an effort you can support yourself. Well here’s a news flash, you can’t live in minimum wage anywhere in this country let alone here. You can work hard and still not be able to support yourself.

Here’s a good fact for all those complaining about “lazy” people, do you know that only 13% went to households that had no working adults? We’re actually at the highest ever rate of people on welfare that have jobs, so they’re not lazy, they just aren’t paid enough to support themselves.

Ricardoh July 11, 2018 at 4:28 PM


Patriot July 11, 2018 at 6:08 PM

Utter nonsense

What The ?? July 12, 2018 at 8:03 AM

You can call a fact nonsense but its still a fact.

Original G July 11, 2018 at 3:14 PM

Finland has been trying this idea for last two years and are discontinuing it.

Is entertaining to read accounts in liberal publications touting Finland was not a failure. An yes supporters of program there were mega wealthy liberals

Wonder how history will view the mega wealthy tech socialists who advocate experimenting on the less fortunate of society as if they are lab animals to be toyed with.

Then again Democrat party running CA has been experimenting for decades using legislation to experiment on you and those you care about.
Difference is you end up paying the tab for their many, many failed experiments in governance.

Adding insult to their poor ideas is they finance their experiences with FORTY YEAR BONDS which double or treble the original projected costs.
Burdening your children and grand children with debt they created.
There is a silver lining to all that debt, Democrats get campaign contributions from those making money off those bonds.

CA politicians should return to the life long goal of Governor Pat Brown.
He wanted the BEST Possible education for children of CA. K thru College.

He realized an educated and skilled population committed less crime and being productive members of society paid taxes and required fewer state welfare services.

As it stands now CA turns out just under 50,000 high school drop outs each year.

Hope Johnson July 11, 2018 at 5:23 PM

Finland may be discontinuing basic income but it’s important to note that, unlike in the US, people living in Finland have both state-sponsored health care and university education. This is the case whether they are working or not. It’s not a real comparison because those two issues alone can normally cost unemployed people in the US more than $500 per month. So compared to people in Stockton, CA, everyone in Finland gets a little basic monthly “income.”

Original G July 11, 2018 at 6:18 PM

Just looked at the black letters which comprised my post and failed to see any comparison of inhabitants of Stockton to citizens of Finland.

Liberals wishing to make a difference should invest their money and efforts in programs which will increase the skill set persons have.
Skills which employers are willing to pay premium wages for.

Prime example of such a program is the Electrical & Instrumentation Technology and Los Medanos College in Pittsburg.

Hope Johnson July 11, 2018 at 7:48 PM

Your first sentence is referencing a comparison by pointing out what you imply is the same program, which is being terminated. Just saying there is more involved than the amount of money because in other civilized countries they don’t consider health care to be a privilege only for those who can afford it so Stockton’s $500 pales in comparison to what Finland offers its residents. But each of us can hope for what we think will improve circumstances. By the way Finland also provides extensive state sponsored training programs in addition to health care and university.

Willis July 11, 2018 at 3:16 PM

Since a portion of this “free money” is being provided by PG&E, expect, another rate increase. Gotta love this distribution of wealth experience.

RANDOM TASK July 11, 2018 at 4:25 PM

WHERE are the dems on here who rant about the 6 billion that was found yay but only when the budget needed to be gotten done or those crony politicians wouldn’t have gotten paid …..

hmmmm insight into the gerbil cage

Atticus Thraxx July 11, 2018 at 4:34 PM

You could pay me $500 a week and I still wouldn’t live there. A terrible place.
If they want to drop this on invalid seniors, special needs folks and single moms trying to keep it together I could back that. Everyone else get your a$$es to work.

Chicken Little July 11, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Let me see if I understand. Automation means lost jobs. Lost jobs plus population growth means way more unemployed and fewer working. Fewer people working means less tax revenue to provide a basic income to the ever-increasing number of unemployed. So we’ll have to raise the amount contributed by each working person until there’s no longer an incentive to work.

I don’t see how this could possibly be sustainable.

Led July 12, 2018 at 1:11 PM

“Fewer people working means less tax revenue” – nope, not necessarily. If the automation apocalypse materializes, there will be more stuff to tax, but only generated by the people controlling their robot wealth-creation armies.

I don’t know if I believe that will happen, but that’s the idea: that we are moving into a time of continued economic growth but potentially devastating waves of job replacement by technology.

PO'd July 11, 2018 at 4:47 PM

I guess that’s the best way to get people to move to that dump.

Lena July 11, 2018 at 6:43 PM

Stockton has one of the more outstanding museums in the area which includes a collection of antique wooden speedboats completely and lovingly restored. That’s more than I can say for Concord who drove the prestigious California Watercolor Association out of town when they took over the Masonic Temple building. But, then, of course, culture is where you find it.

concord ygnacio July 11, 2018 at 5:08 PM

Alaska gives $1,000-$2,000 each to each and every Alaska resident, including babies, through the Alaska Permanent Fund. No strings attached.

This is from the proceeds from all their oil. No complains there.

Historian July 11, 2018 at 7:38 PM

One of the thing being looked at is applying a new kind of payroll tax in the future for companies the rely heavily on automation for their businesses. So, something like that would be one possible source for a universal income. Anyway, these are interesting tests that are taking place in many locations.

Chicken Little July 12, 2018 at 10:07 AM

So employers basically have two choices. Employ more workers, or pay their salaries while they sit at home.

What a joke.

ZZ July 11, 2018 at 9:08 PM


Brehbrah July 11, 2018 at 9:17 PM

Terrible idea. More handouts equals less incentive to work and better yourself. Second of all, if Stockton has money to do that maybe they should fix their city. I work construction and I can tell you that their utilities and infrastructure is probably the worst I’ve ever dealt with.

Quick-Brown-Fox July 12, 2018 at 3:51 AM

The best that can be said for this idea is that it is taking place somewhere other than in the San Francisco Bay Area. I understand Las Vegas offers their vagrants free bus tickets to San Francisco whose generous “free” benefits are an attraction. Hawaii offers their vagrants free transportation back to the mainland. People respond to incentives. It is an axiom of economics that if something is taxed more, society will get less of it; if something is subsidized more, society will get more of it. Taxing productivity and subsidizing sloth results only in less productivity and more sloth.

Karl Marx July 12, 2018 at 9:11 AM

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs

RANDOM TASK July 12, 2018 at 12:03 PM

plain truth is dems want you on their teet …you are then forced to vote dem or threatened with loosing your free ride ….this is all political at the core …

dems are buying votes with tax payer money and getting away with it ….they don’t care anymore they rule this state and throw it in your faces …

Led July 12, 2018 at 1:13 PM

A UBI as a replacement for much of the social safety net would be interesting – potentially cheaper and less intrusive than what we have now. But I don’t really believe that that’s what would happen: it would be UBI on top of what’s already there.

What The ?? July 12, 2018 at 3:52 PM

For all the people that want to blame the workers by telling them to get a better job can you please explain how this would work. Sure, for 1 person they can go to school, pick up new skills and get a higher wage. But what if everyone did exactly what you say they should. Does that mean everyone will get a high paying job? That no one will be employed as a fast food worker, or janitor or any of the thousands of other low skilled jobs?

The fact is even if everyone in the country had a PHD we’d still need these jobs and people to fill them. So the real question is, will we pay them a wage that they, and their families, can live on?

Nutcreek Frontier July 12, 2018 at 3:53 PM

More rewarding of the lowest common denominator of society.

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