Ethics Dunces: Stockton, California, The Mayor Of Stockton, Everyone Who Voted For The Mayor Of Stockton…

“We’re here for our stipend, Mayor! Double it, and we’ll cut back on rapes, too!”

Headline, LA Times:Stockton’s young mayor has bold turnaround plan: Basic income and stipends for potential shooters.”

If that makes sense to you, please move to California, and stay away from me.

Stockton’s young mayor’s plan is just as backwards, ethically corrosive and dumb as it sounds. The headline is correct. Michael Tubbs, wants to give at least $500 a month to a select group of residents in a pilot program to test the impact of “guaranteed basic income,”  a socialistic fantasy that has failed everywhere it has been tried. We know the impact of guaranteeing people money they don’t have to work for.

But wait, there’s more! Led by their young, brash, clueless mayor, Stockton is about to award stipends of up to $1,000 a month to residents deemed most likely to shoot somebody—I’m not joking!— in a program called Advance Peace,or, in its long version, Let’s Allow Thugs And Violent Creeps To Extort The Government Into Paying Them To Not Hurt Anybody, While Penalizing The Citizens Who Don’t Pose A Threat.

I agree: Advance Peace is catchier.

“Let me be clear, Advance Peace is not a get out of jail free card,” Tubbs wrote in explaining the program on Stockton’s public safety website. “Participating in this program doesn’t erase the past, but it does help these young men learn how to make better choices for their own and our community’s collective future.”

Oh, I don’t know: it looks like threatening to shoot people is a great choice in Stockton. After all, they pay you for it!

“We get 50 constituents a week, if not more, calling and emailing us to explain why they would benefit from a $500 monthly stipend,” Tubbs told an LA TImes reporter. “It’s heartbreaking that they’re asking, but it’s also exciting that we can do something for these people.” Wait, who wouldn’t benefit from an extra $500 a a month? What’s heartbreaking is that they know they have a sap for a mayor who is so gullible he’s ready to take the hard earned money of working taxpayers and hand it over to those begging to take and use someone else’s money.

And if they threaten to shoot someone, maybe they can get even more.

Tubbs, we are told, graduated from Stanford. When did they stop teaching about perverse incentives at Stanford?

(Do I sound snarky? I’m sorry: I lost just about the whole day working on the frivolous, libel suit in Massachusetts filed by a disgruntled banned Ethics Alarms commenter, getting more angry by the second. Then I saw this story…)

43 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: Stockton, California, The Mayor Of Stockton, Everyone Who Voted For The Mayor Of Stockton…

  1. My first reaction was “The Onion” had taken over the Times. My second reaction is that a rush takes place on how a recall is handled in Stockton.

  2. But I don’t get this…they’re apparently just HANDING them the money without ANY statement like “OK, I won’t shoot anybody.” This guy is NUTZ.

  3. Basically, they appear to be paying blackmail. I call in, say I wanna shoot someby, UNLESS I get some money. They get it, then go away until next month? Did I mention this guy is NUTZ?

    • Paying blackmail can be a sane act by someone who is being victimized by a person of low character. They’re actually soliciting blackmail – advertising for people of low character to threaten them and be paid off. I can only imagine that honest, productive people will take that as notice to move away.

  4. What’s the big deal, this is CA after all, am I right?

    Chris….you out there…your infusion might be helpful.

    Anywho, the REAL issue? This best not take away from the exponentially skyrocketing funds, ear-marked in perpetuity, for the cascading failure known as the BullSHIT Train.

    Just an idea; s’long as money is no object, why not sweeten ‘er up with a future consideration/promissory lifetime free pass once that POS (heh!) gets finished?

    • hmmmm… and liberals say conservatives are the ones who kill people… so should conservatives get paid?

      Never work: the conservatives are the only ones paying the taxes in the first place!

  5. If you were in MA all day long today, hopefully you were somewhere that had AC, today was one of those classic muggy New England summer days.
    It seems like mayors have a lot of power, maybe city council needs to take back some initiative. Although in CA that wouldn’t make decisions any less dumb, but it could definitely be a start.

  6. So this is an example of the product Stanford is cranking out these days. Wow.

    Are there any actual requirements for a recipient? Show gun ownership,or at least possession? Or availability of a gun? How does one establish the intent to shoot someone in the future? How far into the future?
    Do they pay cash or is it a check from the city, and is the $500 taxable? W-2 or 1099? Can non-residents of Stockton participate…. A guy who watches the TV news could have dreams of grabbing his fowling piece and driving over to Stockton to “clean that place up”; that’s good pay for something you might not get around to for a while.

    In defense of the Stockton voters, this mayor looked pretty decent on paper, and this plan was not part of his election campaign. As usual, this is an elected official who didn’t tell the voters his real plans… probably because they would not vote for him if they knew.

    • I guess I find it difficult to believe that someone like Tuck wouldn’t leave plenty of clues during a campaign exactly what kind of deluded naif he was. Think about Obama’s giddy rainbows and unicorns campaign n 2008. Think about Trump, or Hillary. Very few candidates are very good at hiding what they are. Most of the time, voters just don’t care, or aren’t paying attention.

      • I think there are a lot of people who are either party voters, or one issue voters. The party voters vote Democrat or Republican because that’s what they are and that’s what they always vote. It doesn’t matter what the candidate says or does leading into the vote.

        The single issue voters have one issue they care about, and the rest is ignored. Two good examples are Pro-Life and LGBTQ rights people. It doesn’t matter what else the candidate backs, so long as they back stopping abortions or giving LGBTQ rights.

          • You’re grossly underestimating the number of idiots out there. Remember, the mean average IQ is 100. Chances are, you’ve probably already interacted with several idiots just since you woke up this morning.

      • I do not vote in Stockton, so i don’t follow the politics there. i do know enough by watching from a distance that it is one of many cities that is heavy minority and very blue. Steve (above) mentioned party voters and coupled with race voters you get people like this. I moved to an area that was in the broadcast realm that included Stockton, and found the level of violent crime there astounding. Its been 20+ years that I’ve been watching and this seems to be the result of voters grasping at straws… not uncommon for urban areas.

  7. This touches on something that, IMO, almost no one on the left honestly acknowledges, even to themselves. Incentives matter, and rewarding something will get MORE of that thing, not less.

    • And disincentives matter as well.

      Penalizing behavior will reduce that behavior… like a luxury tax on yachts resulted in fewer sold, then in most bought overseas as the builders rapidly move away.

  8. … Michael Tubbs, wants to give at least $500 a month to a select group of residents in a pilot program to test the impact of “guaranteed basic income,” a socialistic fantasy that has failed everywhere it has been tried. We know the impact of guaranteeing people money they don’t have to work for.

    The odds are that you don’t know, because it never has been tried but rather botched versions have been. The real deal, which is not socialistic, needs three features:-

    – It has to be given a long time for everything to flow through and for various labour supply and demand patterns to shift. It is very difficult to cover the costs during that transition, unless that is handled with certain tricks that aren’t necessary afterwards, tricks that work like scaffolding. Once you approach that settling down, though, GDP goes up more than enough to cover funding, short of Malthusian constraints and/or a screwed up, inefficient funding system.

    – It has to be across the board. Doing it in a targeted way because you can’t afford to do it across the board is not one of the scaffolding tricks, it just makes the labour supply and demand patterns track those who aren’t covered, so it never starts delivering. This is what happened in previous botched trials, which therefore demonstrate nothing about the real deal. It’s as futile as taking half a syphilis treatment because you can’t afford all of it. This proposal is stupid that way, not for being a guaranteed basic income proposal as such.

    – It has to be set at less than enough to live on (unlike the socialistic vision), but enough to live on if it is a top up to an earned wage that is also not enough to live on by itself. Once you have that, enough people can bid themselves into good enough, low paid work as a top up, and have to. This sweet spot is always possible unless and until you hit Malthusian constraints, according to fairly robust ranges of modelling that are too bulky to give here – but see Phelps’s “Rewarding Work” inter alia. (However, that still fails if you throw in too many distortions like too high, mandated minimum wages.)

      • If by “it” you only mean this particular proposal, you are right – if you truly rest that on the botching. But if you are still reaching for “all UBI is inherently botched”, you are just adding good reasons for scepticism to bad ones, which isn’t an advance for reason and understanding (think “doing the right thing for the wrong reason”).

        I have a number of continuing health problems that keep my involvement minimal. Perhaps paradoxically, when a lesser one like my current bad cold comes along I get more discretionary energy for other things – like this.

        • So, PM, are you saying that the right people just have not tried this yet?

          UBI cannot work. Human nature does not change. Neither do economics. Inflation will wipe out any such ‘minimum income’ unless price controls are implemented.. and we know how THOSE work.

          • So, PM, are you saying that the right people just have not tried this yet?

            No. I’m saying that the wrong versions have been tried, e.g. a targetted trial of Negative Income Tax many years ago. Things like this, the theory of which involves externalities and market imperfections, simply can’t work like that – even if the theory is right.

            A cynic might suppose that someone who wanted it rejected and who knew all that might make such a trial, adapting the time tested bureaucratic tactic of abolishing something by running it badly for a while and then declaring that there is no public call for it. That’s the only way that I can think of where having the “right people” might make a difference, from not having others planning for it to fail.

            UBI cannot work. Human nature does not change. Neither do economics. Inflation will wipe out any such ‘minimum income’ unless price controls are implemented.. and we know how THOSE work.

            No, because those are all red herrings.

            Suppose you were near a final, settled pattern. Then the UBI could be increased roughly in step with inflation without any problems. This is because – in the sweet spot – both employment and GDP go up, so it is practical to fund everything (I am applying Professor Swales’s results from modelling Negative Payroll Tax and a long term equivalence result for Negative Payroll Tax, UBI and Negative Income Tax).

            Look, this is just too bulky an area to handle in this forum, so all I can do is tell you and suggest you follow up leads. But I can no more demonstrate what would go on by using unsubstantiated statements than you can refute it with unsubstantiated statements.

  9. Wait; a disgruntled who is doing WHAT?
    Do you happen to have a link to this story? I must have missed this somehow.

  10. As Rome reached it’s breaking point, it was increasingly paying barbarians increasing amounts of money not to attack it.

    Crime is certainly a problem, but paying off the criminals will never be a lasting solution.

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