MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX) — Mountain View is just one of the Bay Area cities moving ahead with a guaranteed or universal basic income program. That’s what Saturday’s rally was primarily about but there was also talk of a different kind of politics. “I think we’re seeing good results in other cities and that’s why I felt like it was time for us to try it here,” said Margaret Abe-Koga of the Mountain View City Council.
With $1,000,000 worth of American Relief Act funds, Mountain View is on its way to becoming the latest city to experiment with a universal basic income, in this case a $500 monthly payment to a family at or below 30% of the average median income. The people behind the idea largely credit one person for it.
“I was inspired by Andrew Yang,” said Abe-Koga. “I was an early Yang Ganger and it was because of his UBI concept.”
“We always had the money and we also know that people will spend it on food, fuel, keeping a roof over their head,” Yang told the crowd.
For the former presidential candidate, this rally seemed a bit like a victory lap in one sense. From Oakland to Marin to Santa Clara County, UBI programs are gaining momentum. State senator Dave Cortese was on hand to lend his support. Now polling with a 54 percent approval rating nationwide, this is an idea with a lot of fans.
“It’s a thrill to be here to help continue the movement for basic income, which now the majority of Americans know is common sense,” Yang said.
“Universal basic income makes perfect sense,” said rally attendee Doug Ridley. “As a matter of fact, it’s so obvious that it almost doesn’t need explaining.”
There is, of course, opposition and the early programs are using grants and philanthropic funds to avoid legal challenges. Supporters say UBI is the future now that it’s gaining political support. As for the subject of politics, Yang also spoke about what he calls a system “leading us to nowhere” and the possibility of his launching a third political party.
“I’m thrilled to be trying to provide a middle ground for Americans who aren’t seeing themselves represented in our politics,” Yang said. “Because our politics have become so extreme and polarized on both sides.”
As for Mountain View’s basic income efforts, they will be talking about that on Tuesday night, specifically, the subject of which families should be prioritized with the launch of the program.