Italy announced it is handing out free money as it rolls out the “citizens’ income” program designed to alleviate poverty.
Under the basic income for all program, the unemployed or individuals making less than $10,000 a year will be eligible to receive 780 euros ($882) from the Italian government. In exchange, recipients must enroll in job-training and job-search programs, and if they turn down more than two jobs, they risk losing their benefits completely.
The goal of the program is to inject money into Italy’s broken economy. But universal basic income has been tried before and failed. Take Finland for instance. Their two-year-long trial with basic income came to an end early this year. While it did give people a psychological boost, receiving basic income did not spur them to work more.
And yet, socialist Democrats like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and California Sen. Kamala Harris continue to push for universal basic income in the United States. A prospect which legendary economist Thomas Sowell believes could lead to the economic downfall of the country.
”I do have a great fear that, in the long run, we may not make it. I hate to say that. The one thing that keeps me from being despairing is that we don’t know. There are so many things that we can’t possibly know. And so, we may make it, but I wouldn’t bet on it,” he told FOX Business’s David Asman on Tuesday.
And Sowell is not alone.
“When you talk about wanting people to be able to have a good living, to be able to afford things, that’s a good thing. But if you don’t tie to it work requirements or incentives, you’re going to find that people are actually worse off,” Beverly Hallberg, a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, said during an interview on “Making Money with Charles Payne” Wednesday.
Payne says he believes the push toward socialism is not about economics but rather about “some sort of social justice and getting back at the so-called rich.”
“To use the word free money, it’s not free,” Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management, told Payne, referring to the whole concept as a scheme. “A place like Italy is in recession, in debt, they’re going into more debt to do this, and all they’re doing is changing the chairs on the titanic.”
Italy’s basic income program will reportedly cost the government $7.1 billion euros ($8.1 billion) this year alone.