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Should the poor be able to splurge with their no-strings attached aid?

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A 2022 report on how individuals participating in the guaranteed income programs spend their money has shown that they spend only 3% on travel, leisure, or entertainment.

CalMatters, a nonprofit news organization, identified more than 40 guaranteed income-type programs in that state that offer cash with “no strings attached” to recipients.

Guaranteed income programs have popped up across the country since the pandemic, and many have been funded by federal emergency COVID funds.

Another study on a guaranteed income program in Stockton, California, found that recipients spent the money on basic needs such as food (37%), clothing and home goods (22%), utilities (11%) and auto costs (10%). Less than 1% was spent on alcohol or tobacco, according to the report.

However, a recent Washington Post story sheds light on how some of the money in guaranteed income programs has been spent.

One D.C. pilot taxpayer-funded program offered 132 low-income, new, and expecting mothers $10,800 throughout one year, no strings attached. The program allowed participants to choose to receive the money in payments of $900, or like 75% of participants chose, one lump sum of $10,800.

That Washington Post story in February detailed how one single mother who qualified for a guaranteed income program spent over half the lump sum on a cruise for herself, three sons, and their father.

“Some of it I just left alone. The other side is, I wanted to blow it. I wanted to have fun,” she said “My kids got to experience something I would never have been able to do if I didn’t have that money.”

The trip included a boat tour of mansions and luxury yachts, a trip to a dinosaur museum, and seeing animals throughout Florida swamps, according to the Washington Post.

Once it was published, other media outlets started reporting on the trip and had a difference of opinion on how the taxpayer-funded money was spent.

The New York Post and Fox news also jumped on the details of how Canethia Miller spent the money on a five-day $6,000 vacation where they indulged in steak dinners and fine dining, 15 pairs of new clothes for her children, a $180 makeover for herself, purchasing toys and gadgets, and opening a savings account in the hopes of keeping $50 in it.