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Research indicates that Americans will choose government-sponsored skills and job training instead of the universal basic income if given a choice. Universal basic income is a program in which qualifying adult Americans regularly receive a monthly check. 

Americans prefer skills and job training to free money 

A survey by Pew Research Centre has found that 75% of Americans will like the government to offer more skills and job training for workers. This is more than double the number of adults (31%) who see the universal basic income as “very important.” The researchers surveyed over 1000 American adults. 

Some critics of the universal basic income regard the program as “free money,” and it is a concept countries such as Denmark and Finland have experimented with. Average American households received $5,500 in stimulus checks in three rounds during the pandemic. According to the Economic Security Project, the checks kept several Americans out of poverty and helped millions to keep up with their spending habits despite being unemployed. 

Los Angeles mayor introduced his version of universal basic income 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has included a universal basic income version as part of his $24 million budget proposal. Garcetti’s proposal that needs the City Council’s approval offers $1,000 per month to 2,000 households. Like the stimulus checks, there will be no requirement for how the families will spend the money.

Garcetti indicated in a tweet that they demonstrate what it takes to meet Dr. King’s call for basic income. He added that the small but steady investment for the households in Los Angeles would pay large benefits for health and stability nationally. Universal basic income proponents such as Garcetti have been optimistic that the three stimulus check rounds could boost the case for similar permanent stimuli checks. 

Recently 21 Democrat senators signed a letter to the President calling for the inclusion of recurring stimulus payments to Americans as part of the Build Back Better package to launch soon. President Biden is yet to respond to the issue, but the proposition doesn’t seem to have enough support to pass Senate even by a simple majority.