Controversy Erupts as Mayor Allocates Funds for Luxurious Miami Trip

( – In January of 2022, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the launch of a direct cash transfer program to help new or expectant mothers called “Strong Families, Strong Future”. It was funded with $1.5 million and limited to 132 people in 3 of D.C.’s low-income wards. The program was unique for such cash programs in that it allowed the beneficiaries to choose whether to receive the money in monthly increments of $900 or in one lump sum of $10,800.

There are two arguments in favor of cash programs like this. The first is that a simple infusion of cash can lift impoverished people up enough that they can clear debt and be able to move forward on their own without assistance, and the other is that in a modern society, everyone should have a universal basic income (UBI) provided by the government. Limited test programs like this are often used to gauge the effectiveness of the short-term assistance idea, or to test the feasibility of UBI programs on a small scale, which, if successful, could provide a foundation for expanding it nationwide.

However, like many such programs, the “Strong Families, Strong Future” program showed that people do not always behave rationally when they receive a sudden windfall. While 34-year-old Erika James spent the money on paying bills and providing for her children, others were dazzled by the large sum and spent it on luxuries. Canethia Miller, a 27-year-old stay-at-home mom, spent over half on a five-day vacation for herself, her partner, and her children, as well as clothes, toys, fancy dinners, and a makeover. By the time she got back from her holiday, paid a few bills and bought a used car, she had about $50 left of the money.

Miller indicated that in the communities in her area, there isn’t a culture of saving money, or putting aside anything to leave to your children. Joel Griffith, an economic research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, referred to the program as essentially a lotto for residents of the city. He said that the amount spent on the program could have funded about 25 additional full-time police officers, which would have made the neighborhoods safer for all, rather than just benefiting the few who participated in the program.

Copyright 2024,