Fremont City Council considers implementing Universal Basic Income

Image provided by UNC College of Arts and Sciences.

Fremont decided to study a pilot program to include Universal Basic Income in our city. There are several other cities in the Bay Area already using Universal Basic Income or studying the matter. Universal Basic Income, or Citizen Basic Income, is a process where a regular income is given to create a minimum income floor for the community.

Senior Aryan Sripada, who goes to Washington High School, was asked what benefits he sees in having UBI in Fremont. “Universal Basic Income allows everyone to be the same with no money discrimination,” he said. “It helps out low income families to be able to get fair wages to help their family and be able to provide.” Mr. Macleod, an Economics teacher at Washington, said. “This makes Fremont a more affordable place to live and would help relieve the stress of living in Fremont, but there’s a chance of there being a rent increase as well.” Many believe it is good to know that Fremont has these families in their thoughts and is studying a way to help them thrive with the help of this program.

Another question on a lot of people’s minds with the rise of this program is how much these families would make if they were to apply. Macleod says. “They proposed to give every citizen that applies $1,000 a month.” As a follow up, he said, “I believe there should be a raise in the minimum wage rather than giving people money for doing nothing.” However, research from NBC Bay Area has shown that families who apply still continue to work, even with the financial aid. The support has been able to help parents take care of their children and be better parents.

The final question was on the thought of whether other areas should invest in UBI and join. Cities in California like Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Sripada says, “I don’t think it’s a good idea for other cities to invest in UBI because the process will take too long, and cities that really need them will go downhill even more waiting for a UBI.” Research from CNBC says the process for a city to get UBI can range from three months to two years. Investing in a UBI can take many steps to proceed with the program, and with families constantly needing help this could put them more at risk to lose more money and continue to struggle. However, Macleod says, “if people truly want UBI in their city they will vote for it the democratic way.” Research has shown that when UBI is passed in a city the citizens are in a better mood, mental health is better, and stress levels go down. 

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