Mother Spends D.C. Guaranteed Income on Luxurious Vacations and Makeover

The COVID pandemic led to the distribution of stimulus checks to millions of struggling Americans, providing financial relief to those impacted by government actions. With the end of the pandemic, concerns arose about the financial stability of families once the stimulus payments ceased. Inspired by Andrew Yang, many cities and states introduced universal income programs to support residents. However, the decision of a D.C. mother to spend a significant portion of her taxpayer-funded lump sum on vacation expenses raised questions about the efficacy of such programs.

The mother, Canethia Miller, received $10,800 from the Strong Families, Strong Future program in D.C. She chose to spend over half of the funds on a luxury vacation to Miami for herself, her children, and their father. The program provided recipients with no restrictions on how the money could be used. In addition to the vacation, Ms. Miller also invested in a makeover and some other expenses. She explained that she wanted to enjoy the money and provide her children with a glimpse of success.

While guaranteed income programs like the one in D.C. offer temporary relief to families, critics argue that they may have long-term negative effects. Oren Cass from the American Compass think tank warns that a widespread system of providing for everyone could undermine the social contract and discourage personal responsibility. Ms. Miller acknowledged the financial struggles in her community and emphasized the importance of financial literacy.

Data indicates a decline in overall financial literacy among Americans, with minority groups scoring lower on average. As sources of financial education diminish, the question arises whether providing free money without strings attached is the best solution. Instead, some advocate for enhancing financial literacy programs in schools and workplaces to equip individuals with the skills needed to navigate financial challenges.