Hawaii First U.S. State to Declare Everyone Deserves Basic Financial Security

With the passing of a new bill, Hawaii has officially become the first state in the US to seriously consider taking on the responsibility of providing all its residents with 'basic financial security'.

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The bill is known as House Concurrent Resolution 89 (HCR 89). It was introduced earlier this year by Hawaii state representative Chris Lee and was meant to ‘start a conversation about our future’. Just two months later, it has unanimously passed both houses of the Hawaii State Legislature.

Rep. Chris Lee made the news known through a Reddit post he personally wrote. Aside from providing an overview of what HCR 89 is all about, he also mentioned the driving force that prompted him to come up with his proposition. Simply put, he was concerned that our economy was being transformed by ‘innovation, automation and inequality’, which is why he wanted to initiate a ‘more public discussion’ so actions can be taken to ensure that as the economy changes and progresses, everyone gets to benefit from it and no one gets left behind.

As he explained to Mother Jones: “It’s past time that we had a serious talk about not just tweaking our economic policies but having a new discussion from the ground up about what our values and priorities are. We need to take proactive action to chart a stable path forward for our economy and all of our residents.”

HCR 89 has 2 main provisions. First, all families in Hawaii will be entitled to basic financial security. Second, a Basic Economic Security Working Group will be established for the specific purpose of analyzing the state’s economy and finding ways to ensure that provision 1 will be enforced. The group’s task will include evaluation of various UBI-related forms, reporting findings back to the State Legislature, and providing recommended courses of action.

Universal Basic Income is a system of income distribution wherein every citizen regularly receives a fixed amount of stipend from the government. The income is given without any strings attached, regardless of age, gender, employment standing or social status, and should ideally be sufficient to cover one’s most basic expenses like food, clothing and shelter.

While UBI isn’t an entirely new concept, it has recently been gaining ground as technological advancements, especially automation, has been spurring the threat of mass unemployment. So far, Finland has already started a UBI program, while trials may soon begin in Canada, India and Kenya. Private UBI initiatives are being planned in some other locations too.

In the U.S., Alaska has already been running a UBI-ish program since 1982 — giving its residents a variable annual payout funded by revenues from its oil industry. That means if Hawaii’s UBI program becomes a reality, it will technically make the 50th state of the US of A to be the second one to implement such program. Which still won’t be so bad, right?

By the way, aside from embracing the idea of UBI, Hawaii also happens to be the first state to formally commit to the provisions of the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty even after President Trump decided to withdraw from it. For Hawaii residents, those are clear indications of the kind of leaders they have — not just looking out for their constituents’ welfare, but obviously concerned about the world’s plight as well.

9 Comments on Hawaii First U.S. State to Declare Everyone Deserves Basic Financial Security

  1. Nonsense. In Alaska the natural resources are considered to be owned by all residents. Oil companies pay big taxes to the state and much of that money is invested in something called the ‘Permanent Fund”. That fund invests in different things around the world. The fund was established to fund government after oil is gone. In the mean time, a portion of the fund’s earnings is distributed in a dividend like any stock holder might receive. It amounts to a once-a-year check that is now capped around $1000 per person. This is not financial security and it is not guaranteed. The amount varies year to year based on the performance of investments. With economic crisis now confronting Alaska, many say the dividend will have to go away so the Permanent Fund can be focused on funding government. Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security already consume half of federal spending even as federal government continues to rake in record tax dollars. It still borrows $2 billion every single day. People are just morons and have no idea how government functions or what things cost.

  2. I wondered how long it would be before slavery was once again legalized. Congratulations Hawaii! When one person is forced (taxed) to provide income for someone who could work but doesn’t, it is slavery.

    Now, if you are going to provide some level of real work for the unfortunate or lazy, that is another matter. Russia had the Bush’s (sp) who kept a tiny part of Moscow clean in exchange for a modest pension. It allowed them to survive with a modicum of dignity. You are going to create a population of Californians with your enslavement of the producing class for the benefit of the Eloise class.

    • You’re missing the point, Skrying. “Real Work” is getting more and more scarce, due to automation. Eventually, as computers and technology in general get more powerful, it will disappear entirely. This is what keeps economists awake at night.

      UBI is one solution to the problem. It is not the only solution, but it is one. It isn’t even a solution that I’d call ideal, and I think that there is another solution: to establish cooperatives that provide goods, services, and perhaps dividends, are owned by the users, and gradually replace the corporations with them. The third alternative, which is what’s happening now, is that more and more people commit suicide, or live risky, miserable lives, as human labor becomes obsolete.

  3. Read the book “Poor Economics” and you can learn how easy it is for society to maintain a “base minimum” living level for all humans without straining the financial system. Poverty is simply a control mechanism for the most wealthy.

  4. and they have no clue on where the MILLIONS of dollars required will come from..oh right, they will just switch to communism cause it works so well

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