Universal Basic Income Hits the Bay Area—If You’re Black

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Assessment: The road to subjugation …

At least three guaranteed income initiatives in the San Francisco Bay Area openly discriminate against white residents, limiting or entirely preventing their participation in programs that dole out no-strings-attached cash.

The programs—all of which are publicly funded—violate both the United States and the California state constitution, lawyers say, as well as civil rights laws that ban race discrimination in contracting and by the recipients of government funds.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income? | The New Yorker

The initiatives include the Black Economic Equity Movement, which provides $500 a month exclusively to “Black young adults,” the Abundant Birth Project, which provides $1,000 a month to “Black and Pacific Islander mothers,” and the Guaranteed Income for Transgender People program, which will dole out $1,200 a month and “prioritize enrollment” of transgender “Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).”  They are financed by the National Institutes of Health, the California Department of Social Services, and the city of San Francisco, respectively.

These programs offer a preview of what could soon be the norm in the Golden State. In July 2021, California lawmakers set aside $35 million dollars in grant funding for guaranteed income pilots across the state. Though the law did not include any racial or ethnic qualifiers, in keeping with the California constitution, the state’s social services department said that it would only give out the grants to pilots that “center equity.” Grant applicants were encouraged to “embed an equity-focused approach throughout each dimension” of their programs, including their “eligibility.”

“It’s astonishing to me how brazen the State of California and its various Bay Areas local governments have become in violating the many laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting race discrimination,” said Gail Heriot, a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights and a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law.

All three initiatives appear to violate the 14th Amendment, which bans states from discriminating based on race, said Dan Morenoff, the executive director of the American Civil Rights Project, as well as the California constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which ban racial discrimination in contracting. In addition, the Black Economic Equity Movement appears to violate Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination by the recipients of federal funds. The National Institutes of Health, whose “health equity” initiative funded the program, did not respond to a request for comment.

The blueprint for these programs comes from private philanthropic ventures, which have experimented with supplemental income schemes in Jackson, Miss., and Atlanta that are only available to black women.

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