Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Seeking Economic Justice for All, Hawaii First State to Consider Basic Income

"In a state with more homeless per capita than nearly anywhere else...it's time to start thinking ahead," wrote Hawaii State Rep. Chris Lee (Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

Seeking Economic Justice for All, Hawaii First State to Consider Basic Income

The move "boldly declares that all families in Hawaii deserve basic financial security," said State Rep. Chris Lee

Jake Johnson

Hawaii has become the first state to officially begin exploring the possibility of a universal basic income (UBI) after a bill requesting the creation of a "basic economic security working group" recently passed both houses of the state legislature.

The bill "boldly declares that all families in Hawaii deserve basic financial security."
—State Rep. Chris Lee (D)
A UBI would, if passed, guarantee every resident a fixed income, regardless of their employment status or any other factors that come into play with welfare programs like food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Numerous countries have experimented with a basic income, but the idea has never gained much traction in the United States.

The Hawaii bill was put forth by State Rep. Chris Lee (D), who in a Reddit post on Thursday explained the motivations behind the measure and the ambitions driving the movement demanding economic justice for all.

"I introduced House Concurrent Resolution 89 this year to start a conversation about our future," Lee wrote.

He continued:

HCR 89 does two things. First, it boldly declares that all families in Hawaii deserve basic financial security. As far as I'm told it's the first time any state has made such a pronouncement, but I think it's an important statement of our values here in Hawaii on which we seek to act.

HCR 89 also establishes a Basic Economic Security Working Group co-chaired by the Department of Labor and Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to analyze our state's economy, and find ways to ensure all families have basic financial security, including an evaluation of different forms of a full or partial universal basic income. The group will eventually be reporting back to the State Legislature with further recommendations and next steps.

While acknowleging there is much work to do before a UBI becomes reality, Lee concluded the dire economic circumstances faced by so many in Hawaii, and throughout the country, demand urgent action and radical solutions.

"In a state with more homeless per capita than nearly anywhere else, a growing divide between those who have and those who have not, and a service-based economy with tremendous exposure to disruption, it's time to start thinking ahead," Lee concluded. "As innovation and automation displace jobs and transform the marketplace, it will require a paradigm shift in policy to ensure that the economy remains stable, everyone benefits, and no one is left behind."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Corporate Dems of US Senate Blamed as GOP Texas Governor Approves 'Rigged' Voting Maps

"We must protect our democracy with federal legislation immediately and defeat these cynical politicians at the ballot box."

Jessica Corbett ·


'An Act of Cowardice': 21 Israel-Based Groups Condemn Terror Label for Palestine NGOs

The organizations called the designation "a draconian measure that criminalizes critical human rights work."

Brett Wilkins ·


The Facebook Papers Spur More Calls to 'Break Them Up!'

Other critics are demanding a "full, independent, outside investigation" of the tech titan as whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to the U.K. Parliament.

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is an Emergency': Oxfam Says Rich Nations' $100 Billion Climate Pledge Not Good Enough

"Time is running out for rich nations to build trust and deliver on their unmet target."

Andrea Germanos ·


Progressives Vow to 'Push Very Hard' to Keep Agenda From Being Gutted Beyond Recognition

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said House Democrats "are fighting to tackle the climate crisis, expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing, and guarantee family leave in America."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo