Amid growing discussions surrounding the implementation of universal basic income, the issuance of stimulus checks remains at the forefront of economic relief efforts in various states and cities across the United States. While federal stimulus payments disbursed in 2020 and 2021 were one-time relief measures, the introduction of state-level stimulus checks has provided recurring support to individuals. Additionally, the concept of a universal income floor has sparked debate as it aims to address income inequality and ensure a minimum level of income for displaced workers.

Proponents argue that universal basic income can stimulate economic participation and alleviate poverty. However, critics contend that such measures may foster dependency and discourage productivity. Experts have proposed different strategies to secure a basic income floor, including considering income taxes that go unpaid.

Several countries, including Finland and the Netherlands, have already implemented policies centered around universal basic income, serving as potential models for the United States. Despite concerns about potential inflation, proponents argue that an increase in individuals’ disposable income can lead to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and foster healthy competition within consumer-driven industries.

The distribution of stimulus checks and tax credits has gained significant attention in recent times. In the first quarter of 2023, California’s Middle-Class Tax Refund took center stage, benefiting over 65% of the state’s population. The California Franchise Tax Board, responsible for issuing these payments, estimates that by the end of 2022, over 7 million direct bank deposits and 9 million debit cards will have been distributed. While the majority of payments were made via direct deposit, delays in delivery were experienced due to the utilization of debit cards and challenges faced by the postal service.

Confirming Eligibility for Stimulus

Eligible recipients who have not received their stimulus checks are advised to confirm their eligibility with the appropriate authorities. The California Franchise Tax Board has provided a schedule to track the distribution timeline, which varies depending on the chosen payment method. Direct deposits typically take three to five days to reflect in beneficiaries’ accounts, while debit cards delivered by mail may experience delays of up to six to eight weeks.

In addition to California, other cities across the country have announced their own stimulus check programs. Stockton, for example, has extended its experiment with universal basic income, providing selected residents with $500 per month for two years to help overcome the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s proposal, this experiment aims to address the financial struggles faced by low- and moderate-income families.

The success of Stockton’s pilot program has prompted mayors from eleven cities to reevaluate and consider similar initiatives. By providing additional financial support, these programs aim to alleviate the burdens faced by individuals living paycheck to paycheck and create opportunities for career advancement.

As discussions surrounding universal basic income continue, the continued distribution of stimulus checks demonstrates a commitment to empowering individuals and ensuring financial stability during challenging times. By exploring different approaches and building upon successful pilot programs, policymakers aim to foster economic growth and support the well-being of all Americans.