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Georgia is hosting a new program that hands out money every month — if you’re of the right race and gender.
A pilot “guaranteed income” program in Georgia called “In Her Hands” will give poor black women in the state $850 per month. This money has no strings attached or stipulations on how it can be spent, and up to 650 women will reportedly be affected under the program’s initial pilot phase.
The program, which will begin in early 2022, will be one of the largest guaranteed income programs in the US, costing over $13 million. The money appears to come from the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund (GROF), alongside GiveDirectly, rather than Georgia taxpayers, Yahoo News reported.
The various groups behind the move assert that black women have suffered disproportionately by Covid-19 related economic problems, and are allegedly more likely to have job loss and eviction. The initial target area will be Atlanta, and specifically the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, where Martin Luther King Jr., a proponent of guaranteed income, grew up.
“Black women are among the most likely groups to experience cash shortfalls that make covering basic needs difficult. This isn’t the result of poor choices; it’s the result of pervasive economic insecurity that has the sharpest impacts on women and communities of color,” “Guaranteed income is a step toward creating a more just and equitable economy.” said Hope Wollensack, executive director of the GROF, in a statement reported by Yahoo News.
The idea of a guaranteed income of “free” money is not brand new. The idea is at least as old as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as the groups behind the initiative note by explicitly targeting his home neighborhood as ground zero for the program’s initial phase.
Kenya, India, and Finland use a guaranteed income system. While proponents at Yahoo News and the groups behind the Georgia program laud these as success stories, others aren’t quite so sure. Some, such as the Carnegie Institute of India noted that in such large-scale schemes there’s often a devil in the details that plagues the good intentions of its designers.
That hasn’t stopped people from embracing it wholeheartedly, however. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced legislation back in August that would have introduced a federal guaranteed income program of $1,200 for most Americans. Proponents of such schemes, including big tech names such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, say that the government already gave cash to millions of Americans in three successive waves of stimulus checks, and point to this as success.
On the other hand, some believe such programs seem to have dulled the work ethic for those involved, prompting responses such as Florida’s decision to end pandemic unemployment, which sent people back to work and off the unemployment line.
Furthermore, it is one thing to pay people with private money collected voluntarily. It is quite another to try to balance a budget when sending cash out to a large number of citizens, or to account for the changes in income or cost of living that will adjust to factor in the new money to be had courtesy of Uncle Sam and the taxpayers.
Regardless, the program hasn’t been implemented yet and the final results have yet to be seen.
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