Tubbs’ program, which started in February, could serve as a test case. For eight months, 125 Stockton residents living at or below the median income line (about $46,000 annually) have been getting $500 monthly stipends. The money is distributed through the mail in the form of debit cards.
This week, the city released the first set of data about the program. Most participants, it found, had been using their stipends to buy groceries and pay their bills.
The presumption that the poor will spend money frivolously is a deeply racist and offensive wingnut creation designed to keep middle class white people in the suburbs scared of the slavering hordes of welfare queens roaming the city streets armed with Your Tax Dollars. Fuck’s sake. People are people and everyone I know has a bill they could make disappear with $500. Even people who are relatively well off would benefit from that and if you’re NOT well off? That’s a goddamn windfall.
That’s the home repair you’ve been putting off or the dental work you’ve been struggling to pay for or the school fees for all of the kids plus your sister’s, that’s the coat you couldn’t replace plus the field trip you told your son he couldn’t take or the groceries for a month, for two months if you stretch.
And who does that sort of thing benefit? The local grocery, clothing and drug stores, the mom-and-pop places we’re told will benefit so hard from our support only nobody’s got any money to support them. Look, if you don’t have any customers it doesn’t matter how many tax cuts you get, you’re gonna close down, and you won’t have customers if they don’t have money.
Plus these thing spiral. We know this now, the missed bus leading to the lost job to the poorhouse, but also the $500 home repair not getting done and turning into $1,500 plus a fine from the city. If anyone thinks an extra $500 is some kind of incentive to not work they haven’t paid rent in several decades.
Five hundred dollars does not cover rent and utilities and the occasional hamburger, and even if it did, Jesus tits, the presumption that you’re the only one busting your ass is so goddamn conceited I want to put my fist through some thing.