On Wednesday (Feb. 7), Michael Tubbs provided a polished clapback to critics who attempted to downplay his plan to provide funds to residents in his basic income plan. Announced in October 2017 with the assistance of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and others, the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) will provide 100 people of different income levels with $500 a month for three years. The project seeks to raise awareness about basic income, a notion backed by leaders like Bernie Sanders, Elon Musk and Richard Branson. Research has proven a basic income can not only boost the economy, but also provide people to focus on careers instead of dead-end jobs.
Tubbs, who started his political career at the age of 22, was inspired to look into basic income after reading Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by the late Martin Luther King, Jr. In the book, King brings up the idea of basic income and how it will end poverty in America. “I’m 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,” he wrote.
The SEED program includes a $1 million grant from the Economic Security Project along with crowdfunded donations. It’s also part of Tubbs’ plan to make the city financially stronger.
Stockton was the first populous city to file for bankruptcy after the recession in 2012. Since then, the city has continuously worked to rebuild its economy. CNBC reports the median household income is $44,797, drastically below California’s median household income of $61,818. One in four residents live below the poverty line and 18 percent of Stocktonian residents face regular food shortage. “For whatever reason, in this country we have a very interesting relationship with poverty, where we think people in poverty are bad people,” Tubbs told Business Insider. “In the next couple years, we’ll see a larger national conversation.”
It’s why his response to Chuck Woolery holds weight. Woolery shared an article by the Right Observer bashing Tubbs and calling him a socialist. What he wasn’t prepared for were facts from Tubbs himself.
1. I’m 27
2. Please look up the word universal.
3. We haven’t been bankrupt for years and are actually the 2nd fiscally healthy city in the state.
4. It’s philanthropically funded
5. The majority of people are struggling in this economy. We have to deal with that https://t.co/yT76FXl5Ti
— Michael Tubbs (@MichaelDTubbs) February 8, 2018
In addition to his plan for basic income, Tubbs is also looking to enrich the youth. After receiving an anonymous $20 million donation, Tubbs helped operate The Stockton Scholars. The program awards $4,000 in aid to four-year college students in the Stockton Unified School District as well as $1,000 to 2-year students.
Just before his path in politics, the Stockton native shared his story to change the town in the Tribeca film pick, True Son.