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Free money for all? Mayors hope local tests bring big change

Eric Garcetti
Posted at 6:38 AM, Jul 23, 2021

Dozens of cities and counties and the state of California are experimenting with giving some low-income residents a guaranteed income of $500 to $1,000 each month to do with as they please, and tracking what happens.

A coalition known as Mayors for a Guaranteed Income plans to use the data to lobby the White House and Congress for a federal guaranteed income or, for starters, to make the new $300 per month child tax credit that's set to expire in one year permanent.

The surge in interest in these so-called free money pilot programs shows how quickly the concept of just handing out cash, no strings attached shifted from far-fetched idea to serious policy proposal during the pandemic.

Critics blast the programs as unaffordable or discouraging people from going to work.