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Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, a city of nearly a half a million residents which sit across the bay from San Francisco has been branded a racist for excluding poor White families from a planned benefit scheme which gives poor people of colour $500 a month with no strings attached for a period of 18 months.
The program, which is funded entirely by wealthy private donors has been sharply criticised for explicitly shutting out the 10,000 White residents of the Bay Area city who earn less than $12,880 each year.
After raising over $7 million from wealthy donors, the Oakland Resilient Families program, as it is being called, will employ a lottery system that will provide $500 checks with no strings attached to households of colour whose yearly income is less than $59,000 if they have at least one child, and to single adults who earn less than $30,000 annually, the New York Post reports.
‘We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence, and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,’ Schaaf, a Democrat, said during a press conference.
City officials, including Mayor Schaaf, who have been tasked with implementing the program have justified the exclusion of poor ethnic-European families and individuals by citing data from an Oakland Equity Indicators Report which states that White households earn around three times that of African-American ones. According to the same report, nearly one in ten of Oakland’s white residents, about 10,000 people, live in poverty.
‘We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence, and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,’ Schaaf told the Associated Press.
Schaaf’s announcement of the plan has aroused a storm and has sparked heated debate across social media platforms, with many labelling it racist due to the fact that it excludes people based on the colour of their skin. Already the race-based program is attracting the attention of lawyers due to its explicit discrimination.
Schaaf states that the program planned for Oakland through Oakland Resilient Families was inspired by the former mayor of Stockton, California, Michael Tubbs, who was lauded for starting a privately funded program that gave poor residents, even poor White residents, earning under $46,000 per year a monthly check of $500. Tubbs’ plan was viewed as a potential blueprint for a universal basic income (UBI) at the federal level.
Since Tubbs initiated his pilot program with just 125 families in 2018, far-left Democratic mayors in 25 additional cities across the country promised to create their own guaranteed income program.
Oakland is one of California’s poorest large cities, with nearly 20 percent of its population living under the poverty line. Like many cities along the west coast, Oakland has a growing problem with homeless people. Between 2017 and 2019, the city’s homeless population increased by nearly 50 percent.
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