Italy's government rolled out a new "citizens' income" program that's designed to grow the economy, alleviate poverty, and address unemployment by providing people with dosh for monthly necessities.

The program comes from the Five Star Movement, which entered into a coalition with the far-right The League after the 2018 election.  It is expected to cost 7.1 Billion Euros this year, 7.8 Billion Euros in 2020, and 8.0 Billion in 2021.  That's roughly AU$11.4 Billion, $12.5 Billion, and more than AU$12.8 Billion respectively.  The European Union has its undies in a bunch over the plan over fears it will increase Italy's public debt, which is currently 130 percent of Gross Domestic Product - way more than twice the EU's debt ceiling of 60 percent of GDP.

Now that we've got the super-elite capitalist nay-saying out of the way, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has high hopes that putting the money into the economy from the household level will rev up Italy's perpetually moribund economy: "It will have a positive impact on domestic demand," he says.

To quality for the monthly payment of up to about AU$1,250 on a pre-paid card, recipients must be Italian or EU citizen, or have lived in the country for at least ten years.  Annual household income must be below AU$15,000, savings under $9,600.  Participants cannot own pleasure boats, second homes worth more than $48,000 or have bought a car in the six months prior to applying. 

But most of all, able-bodied workers must sign up for job placement or training programs.  A similar program in Finland was scrapped in January because although recipients generally experienced a boost in personal well-being, there was no evidence of an increase in the unemployed looking for work.  However, Finland tested the program on only 2,000 unemployed people, and did not spread that wealth around to the entire lower income spectrum - the Italian plan will have them taking those payments and pumping it straight into the economy by purchasing groceries, pharmaceuticals, utility bills, rent, and other essentials.