Universal Basic Income Has Been Tested Repeatedly. It Works. Will America Ever Embrace It?

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from The Washington Post,

The extraordinary success and thorny politics of a bold policy idea.

In January 2019, Zohna Everett was sitting in an airport when her phone rang. On the other end of the line, a voice informed her that she had been randomly chosen to receive $500 a month as part of something called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration.

When Everett had first heard about SEED a few weeks earlier, she’d wondered if it might be a scam, as things that sound too good to be true often are. Her pastor assured her that it was real — that 125 residents of poor neighborhoods in Stockton, Calif., would receive money as part of a groundbreaking experiment. When she got the call, Everett thought she was receiving a one-time payment, which was thrilling enough. Then the woman on the phone told her she’d receive $500 every month for a year and a half, with no strings attached. She nearly collapsed from joy right there in the airport.

Sitting in a Stockton Starbucks nearly three years later, a soft-spoken Everett remembered nearly every detail of that fateful phone call from SEED. Swaddled in a white puffer coat on an unseasonably cold day, her hair in a low bun, she looked younger than her 51 years as she cradled a caramel Frappuccino and choked up as she described the immediate impact the payments had on her life. She quit driving for DoorDash, which gave her the time to find a job as a factory worker at Tesla’s plant in Fremont, 60 miles from Stockton. She was able to escape a dysfunctional marriage and move into her own home. “For me, it was a steppingstone. It got me to where I was okay by myself,” she says. “It was right on time. Everything in me was just like, ‘Oh, thank you so much, Lord.’ ”

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