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    Cook County Launches Largest Guaranteed Income Scheme in the US


    Cook County, including the city of Chicago, has launched an unprecedented guaranteed income scheme.[0] 3,200 residents will receive $500 a month with no strings attached.[1] The Cook County Promise is a $42 million county pilot program that began in December.[2] This is the largest experiment of its kind in the nation and is intended to provide a basic level of subsistence to those in need.[2]

    The National Association of Counties (NAC) has announced a network of county-level basic income programs in response to the 50 cities that have started their own initiatives.[3] [4]

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $31.5 million Resilient Communities Pilot selected 5,000 city residents in August to receive a guaranteed cash income for a year.[2] Robert Rector, a conservative public assistance expert at the Heritage Foundation, expressed concern for the program, saying that “there’s no indication that I see that the American public thinks what we really need is more aid to people who choose not to work.”[3] Lightfoot countered, saying “I’m the mayor of the city of Chicago. I know what our people need.”[3] She believes that this program will eventually be adopted by the federal government, saying “what’s happened in this country historically is these ideas get tried out at the local level, in cities and counties and states, and when there’s enough momentum, they get adopted by the federal government. So that’s what we’re hoping will happen.”[3]

    Cook County’s guaranteed income scheme is a bold, innovative experiment that will provide a level of subsistence to those in need.[4] Whether or not the program will be adopted by the federal government remains to be seen.

    0. “Ramsey, Hennepin county board chairs join Counties for Guaranteed Income coalition” St. Paul Pioneer Press, 14 Feb. 2023,

    1. “America's biggest counties push to expand guaranteed income across US” Daily Mail, 14 Feb. 2023,

    2. “$500 a Month, No Strings: Chicago Experiments With a Guaranteed Income | BIEN — Basic Income Earth Network” Basic Income News, 13 Feb. 2023,

    3. “$500 a Month, No Strings: Chicago Experiments With a Guaranteed Income” Yahoo News, 13 Feb. 2023,

    4. “Guaranteed Basic Income Gets Boost from County Leaders in LA and Chicago” Bloomberg, 13 Feb. 2023,

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