By Printus LeBlanc
Liberal progressive cities across the country are in dire straits. They are short on funds, high on unemployment and homelessness, and lack free market small government ideas. Stockton, Calif. is the latest progressive haven to push leftist ideas to solve problems it created.
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs has two proposals sure to turn heads around the country, and not for the reason he wants. Tubbs would like to initiate a universal basic income pilot program and another program called Advance Peace. Both programs do nothing but show the citizens not participating that crime pays and it is ok not to try and find a job because the government will take care of you.
Universal basic income is the latest scheme by progressives to redistribute paychecks. The premise is pretty simple, give people a minimum amount of money every month with no strings attached. They don’t have to look for a job or be in a training program to get a job; they just get a paycheck for nothing. It is the ultimate socialist progressive dream.
The left often points to the Nordic countries when discussing how socialism can be successful, but even they are fighting back against the immoral economic system. Finland launched a similar pilot program in 2017. The initial plan was to extend the program to more people in 2018, Finnish authorities suddenly announced the cancellation of the whole program and not announcing a new one in April 2018. Like the late great Margaret Thatcher said, “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
The Advance Peace initiative is the dream child of DeVone Boggan. Founded in 2010, the premise is that the majority of crime in a given area is committed by a select few. If these criminals could be bought off with $1,000 monthly payments, the crime rates would drop.
Proponents of the program call the payments stipends, but federal prosecutors used to call this extortion. Being paid not to commit crimes sounds a lot like what Charles “Lucky” Luciano did in the 1930s. How times have changed.
The mayor wants people to believe in the program stating, “Let me be clear, Advance Peace is not a get out of jail free card. Participating in this program doesn’t erase the past, but it does help these young men learn how to make better choices for their own and our community’s collective future.”
It may not be a get out of jail free card Mayor Tubbs, but it definitely is passing Go and collecting well more than $200.
While the mayor is bragging the programs will not cost taxpayers, there are two flaws in his logic. If the programs are extended, there is no way it cannot cost the taxpayers. When the program goes beyond the first 50 families for the basic income where is the money going to come from? Other families will get jealous and wonder where their free check is, while violent actors not making $1,000 will wonder how much more violent they have to be to get the check?
The second flaw in the theory is, why is Stockton in the condition it is in? The big boot of the state and local governments in California do nothing to promote economic growth and opportunity. The conditions will not change unless people are allowed to pursue careers without needing burdensome state and local occupational licensing. Business will not start or grow in regulatory environments that hamper
Both of the proposed pipe dreams will fix nothing. Neither will do anything to change the underlying problems in Stockton. The taxes are still high, the regulations are stifling, and there is no school choice. Unless the mayor decides to tackle the real challenges of the city, he is doing nothing but putting a band-aid on a bullet hole in the chest.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, or Stockton, the answer from progressive politicians always seems to be more government. If the politicians would sit back and let people control their own destiny, they would be pleasantly surprised. The more control the progressive left attempts to exert over people, the worse things will be.
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.