San Francisco intends to assist its art community during this pandemic by paying artists $1,000 per month in universal basic income. This effort is aimed at helping the art community to bounce back from the pandemic. The current pandemic has had a negative impact on the community.
In a bid to support the art community in San Francisco, last week, Mayor London Breed announced that she’d be giving out a cash transfer program for artists. This program will ensure that about 130 artists will be given a sum of $1,000 as a stipend for six months.
In the months and years ahead, it’s going to take that same collective effort to confront the economic devastation caused by this virus.
We need to continue to translate these ideas into action so we can get people back to work and get San Francisco moving forward.Breed
The proposal is getting both criticism and interest from UBI advocates. Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute maintained that this program is a subsidy for artists. According to Tanner, a universal basic income should be universal or broad-based; however, Breed’s program seems to be for a select political constituency since only a limited number of people can benefit from it.
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When a program promises to pay a universal basic income, politicians don’t have the right to decide who qualifies or not for the benefits. This requires less bureaucracy and as such, limits the ability of the government to encourage or penalize particular behaviors.
Tanner claims that limiting the number of potential beneficiaries to artists reduces the benefits of this program. However, the founder and president of the UBI Center, Max Ghenis thinks otherwise. He claims that although the program is imperfect, it still features a lot of the benefits that a universal basic income is meant to offer.
Sometimes u [in UBI] also means unconditional. I think this does pretty much mean that. The people selected for the program, once they start to get it, won’t be subject to work requirements or other kinds of requirements that are accessed on other types of programs.Ghenis
Ghenis maintained that the recipients of San Francisco’s basic income are free to spend their income on what matters to them, he says. The UBI program is different from other traditional welfare programs, where recipients have to spend the money on specific things.