Stockton is on track to become the first U.S. city to launch a universal basic income system, distributing money to residents for doing nothing.
27-year-old mayor Michael Tubbs said that by August 2018, he hopes to have an undisclosed number of the city's 315,000 residents enrolled in the program.
Tubbs says residents who qualify will get $500 a month, or $6,000 a year, over a period of three years.
Stockton isn't doing so great right now. In 2012 the city had to file for bankruptcy and is still very much in recovery mode. The median household income is $44,797, way below the state median of $61,818. Stockton also has an unemployment rate of 7.3%, almost double the national rate of 4.3%.
Tubbs' plan is called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, or SEED. Why does there always have to be some kind of dopey acronym?
SEED will be financed through the basic income advocacy group Economic Security Project (ESP), which is pledging $1 million to launch and finance the experiment.
ESP was founded by Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes and is backed by more than 100 of the biggest tech names in Silicon Valley, including eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Basic income is so new that researchers have no data on how well it works in the developed world. So, let's see what happens. Will Stockton get its act together? Or will this make the entitlement mindset in this state even worse?