America’s biggest blue counties seek to expand guaranteed income experiment, despite warnings

Chicago is copying Los Angeles as leftist enclaves seek to institute guaranteed income schemes across the nation following county officials meeting in Washington on Monday, announcing a network of county-level basic income programs.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who oversaw the launch of guaranteed income pilot programs in Illinois and California, will serve as co-chairs of Counties for a Guaranteed Income, The New York Times reported. It’s an idea that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has wholeheartedly promoted.

Cook County, which includes Chicago, launched a guaranteed income program in December that forks over $500 a month to 3,200 residents each month with no strings attached. L.A. County launched a similar program last year that selected 1,000 people to receive $1,000 a month.

The scheme is a sister program to Mayors for Guaranteed Income, which is a network founded in June 2020 and has more than 100 mayors among its members.

Republicans see the program as an absolute waste of money for a socialized initiative.

“There’s no indication that I see that the American public thinks what we really need is more aid to people who choose not to work,” Robert Rector, who is a conservative public assistance expert at the Heritage Foundation, told the New York Times.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to use the political issue to bludgeon Republicans.

“These are the same people that didn’t want to expand healthcare, and look at the number of people in their communities, these ruby red communities, that are suffering,” she charged, according to the Daily Mail.

“These are the same people, frankly, that are attacking the very core of our democracy, demonizing being different, being the other, based upon your religion, your creed, who you love, your gender identity,” Lightfoot viciously asserted.

“I’m the mayor of the city of Chicago. I know what our people need,” Lightfoot proclaimed to the New York Times.

Lightfoot and Preckwinkle are leading the way concerning the programs in Chicago and Cook County, describing them as “the largest of their kind in the nation” that are meant to supplement the poorest residents with basic sustenance.

(Video Credit: Cook County Government)

In December, one of the programs in Chicago started sending 3,250 residents $500 monthly. That will continue for two years. Another program also began in August that will send recipients $500 a month for a year.

When the program was announced in Cook County, approximately 91,000 Chicagoans applied within a day, and 176,000 applied within three weeks. Eight in ten applicants were women and three in four were black, according to Bloomberg.

The program requires that applicants be at least 18, residents of Cook County, and have a household income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. It is part of the $42 million Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot.

According to the guidelines of the program, a one-member household would need to earn less than $33,975 a year, and a family of four, $69,375. Somewhere around 36 percent of households would qualify for the payments, according to Preckwinkle.

There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent. Recipients can either receive a pre-paid debit card or a direct deposit for the funds.

“What’s happened in this country historically is these ideas get tried out at the local level, in cities and counties and states, and when there’s enough momentum, they get adopted by the federal government,” Preckwinkle stated. “So that’s what we’re hoping will happen.”

(Video Credit: Cook County Government)

The funds for this government largesse come from over $1 billion the county received from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for us to be bold and innovative,” Brandie Knazze, who is the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, told the New York Times. She also said that Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Panthers were inspirations for the programs.

King allegedly advocated for guaranteed income, “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”

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