California city council unanimously votes to dole out $900/month basic income in transgender pilot program

Palm Springs wants to spend $200,000 on a universal basic income scheme, but there’s a catch—only the city’s nonbinary and transgender residents need apply.

The proposed pilot program is certainly a novel idea, even for California. On Thursday, the Palm Springs city council held a unanimous vote to enact the program, which is designed to pay out between $600 and $900 a month to 20 city residents over a trial period of two years. Christy Holstege, a city council member and an enthusiastic proponent of the scheme, didn’t hold back.

In a tweet, she gushed: “In the City of Palm Springs, we are proud to be a beacon of hope to the rest of the nation. We’ve worked hard to build an inclusive community. Our latest proposes a guaranteed income pilot program for trans and non-binary people.” 

And in an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Holstege declared that she was proud that Palm Springs was “on the right side of history and supporting our trans and nonbinary, gender-nonconforming community.”

But not everybody is exactly convinced the program will be successful. Even Lisa Middleton, the transgender mayor of Palm Springs (and first transgender mayor in the state of California,) expressed reservations, despite voting for the scheme.

My serious concern is the ability of these guaranteed income programs to scale up to the magnitude of the issues that are before us,” Middleton told The Los Angeles Times. “I have been wrong many times. I could be wrong again on this one.” 

But others who spoke at the Thursday city council meeting disagreed.

Jacob Rostovsky, the transgender chief executive of a non-profit called Queer Works, was enthusiastic about the program. “This is a chance to help individuals receive money that we can think of as a subsidy,” he said, “to subsidize the gap in income that the trans and nonbinary community faces due to having some of the highest levels of unemployment in this country.” 

He claimed that the nonbinary and transgender communities are uniquely vulnerable to homelessness, unemployment, assault, and other social ills. The program is expected to be at least partially funded by the state of California, which has a $35-million fund set aside for guaranteed basic income experiments.

In a segment discussing the initiative last night on his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson denounced the whole Palm Springs boondoggle as yet another indicator of late-stage liberalism and its inevitable decadence. “We are now in the final, self-parodic stage of American Neoliberalism,” Tucker explained, “where nothing makes sense, all is darkness, and the policies are just designed to hurt people. Another sign of this: Palm Springs, California, says it will pay you to be something called ‘non-binary.'”

Carlson then spoke to Seattle radio host Jason Rantz, who observed that even some of the city’s council members acknowledged the program was a scam. He then played a clip of Holstege herself saying: “The bureaucracies that we’ve set up to fund poverty programs and to staff them are probably much more expensive than giving the people the money who need it.” 

She even laughed at the absurdity of it.

Nevertheless, for the time being, it appears Palm Springs’ extremely woke and prejudicial guaranteed income pilot program will be enacted. Now the only question is how long before the Biden administration decides to make it federal law.


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Todd Jaquith


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