Another Idiotic "Free Money" Proposal, This One From Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel


The economic lunatics are out in force, each upping the scheme previously proposed.

The Chicago Resilient Families Initiative Task Force, sponsored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has an asinine proposal on the books.

I picked this one up from ZeroHedge. My analysis follows.

The report is 50 pages long and you have to wade through 37 pages of sob stories, anecdotes and other sheer garbage, to get to the bottom line.


  • Sample: The "sample" will be 1,000 low-income Chicagoans.
  • Amount: Participants will receive $1,000 per month.
  • Use of Funds: Use of the funds would be unconditional. Recipients can decide how the income can best meet their unique needs and goals.
  • Duration: Participants will receive the disbursements for 1.5 years.
  • Benefits: We want to ensure that the pilot does not make people who are most vulnerable worse off by preserving eligibility for existing benefits such as SNAP, child care assistance, and Medicaid.
  • Cost: A minimum $12 million per year will be needed for the cash disbursements. An additional stipend for participation in interviews, ethnographic studies, and surveys can be provided to those who give consent. Operations cost to be determined.

Pilot 100% Guaranteed Success

The pilot will undoubtedly a success. How can it not be? If you give 1,000 poor people an additional $12,000 a year their lives are 100% sure to improve.

The Problem

It's easy to improve the lives of 1,000 people by giving the free money no strings attached. The obvious problem is that it cannot possibly scale.

The population of Chicago is roughly 2.716 million. Give everyone 1,000 a month and that comes to $26.1 billion a year.

OK So let's not give the money to everyone. It will no longer be "universal" income as discussed in the report, but something less.


The Census dept has Chicago Demographics.

If we exclude those under the age of 18 and throw those over the age of 65 under the bus, then we can lop off 33.2% of the bill.

If we further restrict the "free money" handout to those at the poverty rate then only 12.4% of the population gets free money.

But we are seriously getting away from the concept of "universal" aren't we?

Nonetheless, let's start there. The cost would be a mere $3.2 billion.

Chicago Budget

The Chicago Tribune reports "The $8.9 billion 2019 package included no vote on new tax or fee hikes, music to the ears of the council members who will be up for re-election in February and don’t want to give opponents that cudgel as they try to defend their seats."

Bottom Line

Even if we only give money to those at the poverty level, 12.4% of the population, light-years away from "universal income" the Chicago city budget would go up by a mere 36%.


One of the goals of the "study" was to prove the plan is scalable.

Scrap the study as nonsensical.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

No. 1-24

I love these "do with it as you want" proposals coming from big govt. control freaks. Yeah, gifts are MEANT to be wasted and thrown away. Who wants a practical spatula for Christmas, and who would prefer a colorful Yankee Candle that smells like vanilla? The people getting this money have no intention of spending it on heating and milk for the kids. But lottery tickets? Welllll.....


A junkie's dream.

Christian dk
Christian dk

MISH, They tried that in finland, but have just terminated the experience. People were still out of the work force,...why bother getting up in the morning... BUT they were much...happier..... Give me 1000 $ per month, and you can have my job.... Mike


In a free market, increasing demand signals the need to increase supply. Automation drives down the supply of labor. This presents a moral question: What does society do with its surplus of labor?

Welfare, government employment, and drafting people into military service for war are some strategies of the past. The first two involve taxing/borrowing, which leads to a false signal to continue creating more labor. War is definitely not the answer to labor surplus.

The Chinese have used forced abortion, which completely flies in the face of a free society of the US. It has also lead to chosing to letting a son be born. The imbalance of males in leads to a testosterone filled, agressing society that we are witnessing spilling into the rest of the world.

I would like to propose a reproductive buyout. The poor have a tough time pulling themselves up. It gets even worse if the family has children. By offering money that can be used for college and surgically preventing births into poverty, the negative feedback of poverty can be reduced significantly. Poverty will never be eliminated since someone will always make bad personal decisions.



Carl: "I'll offer a radical alternative. First, eliminate the minimum wage, so that everyone can get a job, regardless of their skill level or ability. Second, supplement their income, but in order to receive the supplement, they have to have a job."

Mish: Actually, point two is the basis of EIC Earned Income Credit - Republicans increased EIC.