Heavily-subsidized Newark, N.J. plans to experiment with ‘universal basic income’

By Matt Rooney

It failed spectacularly in Finland and Canada. It fails everywhere it’s tried.

Newark, New Jersey is ready to give ‘universal basic income’ a go all the same, Save Jerseyans, and you’ll be footing the bill.


Mayor Ras Baraka (who just got an $80k bump in his compensation package) announced his city’s plan to study a pilot program in the near future during last week’s state of the city address.

“We believe in Universal Basic Income, especially in a time where studies have shown that families that have a crisis of just $400 a month may experience a setback that may be difficult, even impossible to recover from,” Baraka reportedly told his audience.

Finland attempted a 560 Euros or $584 per month minimum income program for 2,000 unemployed Finns back in 2017. Participants in the pilot were NOT required to even attempt to secure employment.

Finland abandoned the experiment in 2019.

Ras Baraka (via Facebook)

Ontario, Canada tried a similar experiment in 2018, admitting that it simply was “not sustainable” and proved exorbitantly “expensive.”

The feasibility (and moral) arguments against this program are compelling.

Worse still? It’s not as if Newark will be paying for minimum basic incomes itself.

Newark is one of the most heavily-subsidized big cities in our region. The Brick City is slated to get $812,391,624 in state school aid ALONE if Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed budget is ratified as-is. That’s not including other county, state, and federal funds which pour into the perennially-troubled urban center on an annual basis.

If Mayor Baraka wants to improve his citizens’ lot in life? He can start by adopting pro-growth policies which attract good-paying jobs into his city. Recycling failed experiments which promote dependency (of some residents and the city generally) is a recipe for self-perpetuating poverty.

It’s also reason #59589606 why our property taxes keep getting worse.