For some families, hard times have been a constant. However, the past couple of years has been harder than usual for just about everyone. Chicago is experimenting with a guaranteed income program that many will view as a very good or perhaps a very bad thing depending on philosophies.

MSN shared the story about this pilot program in Chicago which they termed as one of the largest basic income programs in America. There are lots of smaller details, but the basics of the program are this:

  • 5,000 of the lowest income families will receive $500 per month

This money will be paid out of the American Rescue Plan from the government which totaled nearly $2 billion dollars for Chicago alone according to the MSN story. They quote stories that show some success from other metro areas.

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Critics of programs like this say that stimulus programs and/or guaranteed income discourages people from working. Economic Research did a study to determine if this is accurate. They looked at those who received stimulus money over the last year to see if this kept them out of the workforce. Here's part of their conclusion:

The findings in this Letter suggest that the $600 UI benefit supplement in the CARES Act had little or no effect on the willingness of unemployed people to search for work or accept job offers. This likely reflects the appeal of a sustained salary compared with even very generous unemployment benefits when labor market conditions are weak and virus containment measures prevent hiring.

Do you agree that guaranteed basic income like the one started in Chicago is a good thing or will it harm the economy that suffers from a lack of workers right now?

As is usually the case, time will indeed tell.

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