Matt Haney is calling for a San Francisco guaranteed income, but did not say how much money people would get, and merely hoped the funding would come from a “private philanthropist foundation or something else.”
The idea of a universal basic income has always been kind of like the whole six Californias gambit — a pet project of contrarian venture capitalists that would surely never happen. But the guaranteed income idea has become more mainstream in the last year or so, primarily when presidential candidate Andrew Yang picked it up and gave it the more palatable brand name of a “Freedom Dividend,” and the COVID-19 recession has tanked livelihoods whilst our billionaire “friends” have gotten richer.
Today I am introducing a resolution to have San Francisco formally join the national movement in support of a guaranteed income.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) September 1, 2020
We would join a growing movement, led by over 25 cities, leaders like Mayor @MichaelDTubbs, in support of direct cash payments to residents.
And so Supervisor Matt Haney is calling for a universal basic income program, according to KGO. There aren’t many details to the proposal yet, just a handful of tweets from Haney, and he’s retweeting himself on the topic at this point. He also gave a brief introductory speech at Tuesday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting (which starts just after the 55:00 mark of the video below, if you’re an SFGovTV fan).
“San Francisco residents are experiencing poverty and financial hardships during the pandemic, while billionaires nationwide have found enormous growth during the last few months,” Haney said Tuesday. “This resolution is urging the federal government to support ongoing direct cash payments throughout the pandemic and beyond. And also, as I mentioned, it is putting San Francisco on record in support of guaranteed income that focuses on racial equity and financial empowerment.”
Wait a minute… is he saying this would merely be a “resolution is urging the federal government” to take on guaranteed income payments, without actually providing the income itself? He may be, but we’ll know more if and when an actual bill or resolution is introduced.
Ppl can feel stigma using food or rental vouchers. Housing choice vouchers aka #Section8 are often refused. #Discriminatory + illegal, but ppl pressed for housing have bigger fish to fry than fighting.— Mullane (@mullane__) September 2, 2020
Direct cash payments are the best way ppl can budget for needs and succeed. https://t.co/O8eNafJ3sy
“This is not a new idea,” he continued. “Direct cash payments through a guaranteed income program has worked, and research shows that the recipients of cash transfer programs overwhelmingly use the money on their basic needs, housing, utilities, food, unexpected medical costs, or other financial emergencies.”
He then concluded, “Direct cash payments, also known as universal basic income or guaranteed income, is a solution that our federal government should be providing for, and that we should be pursuing actively here in San Francisco, whether through a private philanthropist foundation, or other sustainable forms or funding long-term.”
Haney did not say how much income people would get, though the much-ballyhooed Andrew Yang plan was for $1,000 a month.
$3M to @MichaelDTubbs and @mayorsforagi for #guaranteedincome programs in cities across the country. This is one tool to close the wealth and income gap, level systemic race and gender inequalities, and create economic security for families. #UBIhttps://t.co/1APG505xZH— jack (@jack) July 9, 2020
Considering San Francisco is back in billion-dollar deficit times, and may be for awhile, that money is certainly not from coming the city’s general fund. Haney referred to a possible “private philanthropist foundation,” which may not be far-fetched. As you see in the tweet above, Jack Dorsey kicked in $3 million of his money to help a $500-a-month guaranteed income pilot program rolling out to cities like Atlanta, Seattle, and Los Angeles, and born not far away in Stockton.
So while you’re stuck inside making bread during the pandemic, you might make a little bread for doing so if Haney’s resolution pans out.
Image: @jpvalery via Unsplash