Hawaii Passes Bill Supporting Universal Basic Income

1 money

A bill supporting efforts to study Universal Basic Income unanimously passed both Houses of the Hawaiian legislature in mid-June. This makes Hawaii the first state to support legislation in favor of basic income

The program would provide citizens a minimum amount of income each month to provide for basic needs in an effort to combat the rising tide of job replacement due to mechanization. CNN describes UBI as “The idea is that a universal income offers workers greater security, especially as technological advances reduce the need for human labor. It will also allow unemployed people to pick up odd jobs without losing their benefits.”

State Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced the bill, emphasized that “As automation takes over the economy, you’re able to ensure that everybody is provided some basic means of living, kind of like a monthly Social Security check for everyone.” Since Hawaii’s economy is largely based on tourism and service, Lee feels that looking into a basic income program is especially important for the future of the state.

Hawaii would be joining Finland, who is experimenting with a two-year UBI program for 2,000 citizens, Canada, and Germany in experimenting and studying the effects of a state implemented income program.

Critics of the program say that it will drastically change the role of the government to being the sole provider for its citizens and that the costs of implementing it would be astronomical. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities believes it may increase poverty (opposite of its intended goal) and that if every American citizen were given $10,000 a year, it would cost ¾ of the federal budget.

Groups of libertarians support this initiative because funding it would require to eliminate most or all welfare programs, shrinking the government to a grand degree and increasing the incentive to work. Many argue that UBI would also be a massive improvement to our current welfare system and could offer more choice to the working poor.

Author: Luke Henderson

Since joining the Libertarian Party in 2016 (after discovering Gary Johnson as a disaffected Bernie Sanders supporter), Luke Henderson has been active in the liberty movement through journalism, and political activism. At the beginning of 2017, Luke had his first piece of writing published by Being Libertarian and quickly became a contributor to the libertarian news site, The Libertarian Vindicator. Through the Vindicator, Luke discovered his passion for addressing critics of the philosophy and bringing together different factions of liberty lovers which compelled him to become an editor for The Libertarian Coalition, a forum dedicated to an open-minded discussion of libertarian ideas from all walks. After many guest contributions to Being Libertarian, Luke was asked to join the website as a contributor, where he writes his column Scoring For Liberty, which discusses sports, politics, and economics from a libertarian lens, and his Educator series that seeks to strengthen libertarian’s understanding of educational techniques and policy to better arguments against public education. Luke is one of the District 1 Executive Committeemen for the Missouri Libertarian party, and the founder of the Missouri Chapter of the Libertarian Positivity Caucus. Outside of politics, Luke is a paraprofessional for the Special School District of St. Louis, a musician, composer, and a loving husband and father.

2 thoughts

  1. Groups of libertarians also like UBI because Milton Friedman had a similar idea. It is also superior to a high minimum wage which stifles new businesses and entrepreneurship. If you want to help the poor, help the poor; if you want to regulate the economy because “Walmart can afford it,” then eventually, the only business left will be Walmart.

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