California to Vote on Guaranteed Income Grants

State by state, California is not only the most populous but also the most expensive in which to live. People who work basic jobs in the state, especially for minimum wage, cannot mathematically afford to live in most areas of the state. There are a few exceptions, given that California is a very large state, but by and large, a person needs to clear at least $50,000 a year to even live a modest life there, much more for areas like LA and San Francisco. Instead of seeking new ways to create better-paying jobs in the state, California’s government is instead planning to hold a vote on “guaranteed income” grants, giving residents the money they need to live there.

To be clear, this isn’t new for California. They have already had in place for years a guaranteed income program for former foster children. People who qualified under this program, typically young adults, received $1,000 per month with no stipulations or regulations on how they could spend that money. There weren’t a whole lot of recipients of this money, and so the program was never massively expensive. Part of this is because the program was slim and basically only available to former foster kids in Sacramento. However, on Thursday of this week, California is planning to hold a vote to greatly expand this program by taking it state-wide and for more than just former foster children.

According to an adviser of Governor Gavin Newsom, California is looking to tap the federal government for funds to operate this program on a large-scale basis. With President Trump in office for the past four years, and threatening to cut California’s federal budget due to their insistence on being a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigration, the state could never get any extra funds for programs like this. Though with President Joe Biden now in office, Newsom and other state legislators are confident that the federal government will pick up the tab for most of these guaranteed income grants.

To be clear, grants are exactly what we’re looking at here. These are not loans that recipients will have to repay. These are grants that can be spent however people want to spend them, if they qualify for and receive them. There will be no stipulations that state this money must be spent on rent or food or clothing. It can be spent however people want, which is already starting to draw a lot of backlash from critics in the state.

According to State Senator Dave Cortese, putting no stipulations on how this money is spent is a better way to handle it, stating that, “It changes the philosophy [that] ‘Big Brother knows what’s best for you.’” The idea being here that people will be given more freedom if they’re given money as a blank check, able to spend it on anything.

The Downside of Government Supplemental Income

Critics of this proposed law are livid at its implications but are basically powerless to stop it. California has the heaviest proliferation of Democrats in the entire nation, and the few Republicans who may decide to stand in its way are not even powerful enough to be an inconvenience for Democratic lawmakers. They have total control over the state and can pass this if they want. All they really need here is for the federal government to agree to handle most of the spending.

Though a lot of critics are pointing out that giving people money to spend how they wish, as a matter of “guaranteed income” through grants, is a recipe for disaster. Some point out that we already see what’s happening with federal unemployment supplemental payments given to people, which is causing them to refuse to work and instead accept government handouts. Having to work for a living makes people more responsible for their money, some are claiming; whereas the government guaranteeing that young, healthy people receiving unquestioned income will just lead to more homelessness and drug addiction in the state.

All that’s really left here is to wait until Friday, when news will break that this law has passed. There is no one able to stand in the Democrats’ way in California. So, the best critics can hope for is that recipients actually take responsibility and spend this money wisely, which is slated to be a minimum of $1,000 per month, guaranteed-income grant.

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