Hawaii Considers A "Universal Basic Income" As Robots Seen Stealing Jobs, There's Just One Catch...

Tyler Durden's picture

Forget social security, medicaid and WIC, today's progressives have moved well beyond discussing such entitlement relics of the past and nowadays dedicate their efforts to the concept of a "Universal Basic Income" for all...call it the New 'New Deal'.  You know, because having to work for that "car in every garage and chicken in every pot" is just considered cruel and unusual punishment by today's standards.

Of course, it should come as little surprise that the progressive state of Hawaii, which depends on easily automatable jobs tied to the tourism industry, is among the first to pursue a Universal Basic Income for its residents.  And while the idea of passing out free money to everyone seems like a genius plan, if we understand it correctly, as CBS points out, there is just one catch...figuring out who will pay for it.

Driverless trucks. Factory robots. Delivery drones. Virtual personal assistants.


As technological innovations increasingly edge into the workplace, many people fear that robots and machines are destined to take jobs that human beings have held for decades--a trend that is already happening in stores and factories around the country. For many affected workers, retraining might be out of reach —unavailable, unaffordable or inadequate.


Over the past two decades, automation has reduced the need for workers, especially in such blue-collar sectors as manufacturing, warehousing and mining. Many of the jobs that remain demand higher education or advanced technological skills. It helps explain why just 55 percent of Americans with no more than a high school diploma are employed, down from 60 percent just before the Great Recession.


Hawaii state lawmakers have voted to explore the idea of a universal basic income in light of research suggesting that a majority of waiter, cook and building cleaning jobs — vital to Hawaii's tourism-dependent economy — will eventually be replaced by machines. The crucial question of who would pay for the program has yet to be determined. But support for the idea has taken root.


"Our economy is changing far more rapidly than anybody's expected," said state Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced legislation to consider a guaranteed universal income.


Lee said he felt it's important "to be sure that everybody will benefit from the technological revolution that we're seeing to make sure no one's left behind."

But taking billions from hard working Americans to "spread the wealth around" has never been all that difficult before so presumably this too should prove to be a relatively minor issue.



In all seriousness, where does Representative Lee and CBS figure Hawaii will get the funding for their guaranteed income plan?  Well, as it turns out, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes made a very generous $10mm donation to support programs just like this...the only problem, of course, is that Hawaii would need about 1,000 times that amount to fund Chris Lee's plan for just one year.

For now, philanthropic organizations founded by technology entrepreneurs have begun putting money into pilot programs to provide basic income. The Economic Security Project, co-led by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and others, committed $10 million over two years to basic income projects.


Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a nonprofit dedicated to limited taxes and fairness, has estimated that if all Hawaii residents were given $10,000 annually, it would cost about $10 billion a year, which he says Hawaii can't afford given its $20 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

That said, it's difficult to argue with Karl Widerquist's argument that Hawaiians deserve a "beach dividend" for their heroic efforts in being born and continuing the difficult task of breathing day in and day out.

Karl Widerquist, co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, an informal group that promotes the idea of a basic income, suggests that Hawaii could collect a property tax from hotels, businesses and residents that could be redistributed to residents.


"If people in Alaska deserve an oil dividend, why don't the people of Hawaii deserve a beach dividend?" he asked.

And while we have little doubt that Widerquist has fully thought through his suggestion that Hawaii just raise an incremental $10 billion every year via a tax on hotel stays...we thought we'd run the math just to make sure his plan holds water.  As it turns out, roughly 3 million families visit Hawaii for a little R&R every year which means each family would only have to pony up an extra $3,400 per hotel stay to cover Hawaii's Universal Basic Income plan.  Seem more than reasonable, right?

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Pool Shark's picture

They already have a guaranteed minimum income,
It's called "Welfare."

DownWithYogaPants's picture

When the dollar busts ( ala Jim Willie ) this nonsense is going away.  I would suggest not going to awfully flaccid. The Chinese are setting up to buy oil directly in RMB Yuan and as Jimbo says the dollar with rise and disappear at the same time.

TeamDepends's picture

Hawaii, they paved paradise and put up a commie utopia.

secretargentman's picture

At some point the robot owners will ask why they're feeding all these useless eaters. Then they'll program the robots to cull the herd. No thanks. 

A Nanny Moose's picture

Communists = Math failures.


Keyser's picture

When the dollar busts ( ala Jim Willie ) 

Never has there been a bigger purveyor of bullshit than Jim Willie... I lost count of the number of lies I have caught him telling in his diatribes on various internet channels... That is until I quit listening to his doom porn altogether... 

sickavme's picture

How did these people get so fucking stupid?



Keep stackin bitchez!

HockeyFool's picture

"It helps explain why just 55 percent of Americans with no more than a high school diploma are employed, down from 60 percent just before the Great Recession."

The real explaination is the purposeful removal of our manufacturing capacity by liberals and globalists over the last 16 years.

mtl4's picture

........as CBS points out, there is just one catch...figuring out who will pay for it.


You kidding me?  That's easy, silicon valley clearly wants to pay more taxes so by all means, let them........either that or force the robots to be programmed to call in sick and go on strike like a normal workforce.

espirit's picture

I'm all for a japanese looking female robot.

Grunts and groans are acceptable language skills.

Crypto Kevin's picture

It's accelerated over the last 16 years but the destruction of the manufacturing sector goes back to the 70's.

govtsucks's picture

The U.S. manufacturing sector is producing more goods than ever. They're simply doing it with fewer workers.

canisdirus's picture

You mean 40+, right? It started moving out of the US in earnest in the 1970s. It was supercharged by Clinton in the 90s with NAFTA and joining the WTO.

tinfoilhat's picture

Simple solution - just tax Zuckerberg $2B a year for island privilege.

exi1ed0ne's picture

UBI is coming in one way or another.  It's the only way to keep the debtor class from defaulting and destroying what is left of the economy.  Hell, we already get three times (and growing) more government than we pay for right now.  Without the debt bonanza this will require, Uncle Sam won't be able to sell to the public growing the debt further as the borrower of last resort.  It won't be enough to fix anything, or even live a marginal existence, but it will keep the shell game going a bit longer.

Whenever Gov't is concerned, betting on stupid is never a loser.

The Cooler King's picture

"How did these people get so fucking stupid?"


When Zuckerberg & Obama move onto your island, you tend to lose all your marbles...


I'm pretty sure Pelosi's hubby has a pineapple plantation there too. (which answers the NEXT QUESTION of how the living dead manage to hold their congressional offices so long).

HockeyFool's picture

Wierd Al is actually a really good musician.

opport.knocks's picture

... I suppose it was lost on most here that the Amish are about as close to a functioning class free, socialist community as you can get.

sparksmass's picture

I totally agree.  He has to say something different, something you never heard before, to get your attention, so he just pulls it out of his ass.  I had a long email exchange with him once challenging him to prove some of the things he had said, he couldn't, and finally gave up and admitted that it was bullshit.

estebanDido's picture

Why are poor capitalist always defending rich capitalists? Multinationals (those who hide all moneys and own the world) are the ones who should pay some for this. 

any_mouse's picture

The multinationals, and the US MIC, use Hawaii.

Sugar cane and pineapples.

Without those commodities, and a strategic mid Pacific location for US bases, Hawaii would have been ignored.

In fact, take a look at a pre WW2 Pacific route map of PanAm.

Hawaii, Wake, Midway, Philippines are all stops (also American military bases) along the flight route to mainland Asia.

Major points attacked by the Japanese when provoked by FDR.

Kim knows to go after Guam early. The Pearl Harbor of the New Age. Think China might have interest in removing American power from the area.

Might be that China wants the US to be aware that Guam is a target. Using Kim to send the message. Back off the South China Sea and China's bases.

Agent P's picture

Very little sugar cane and pinapple are grown in Hawaii anymore.  Not your main point, I know, but just wanted to set the record straight. 

Stuck on Zero's picture

A UBI will attract tens of millions of immigrants to Hawaii. Goodbye paradise.

amusedobserver's picture

It's pretty funny that they can't afford to give $10,000 a year of free money to everyone because of a $20 billion unfunded pension crisis.  How do you "retire" from getting free money?  Since no one would actually retire and take an iffy pension payout instead of a guaranteed payout from the givememunt, this plan actually solves our pension problem!

ejmoosa's picture

They do not trust free markets.  They never will.

Economic education is at the worst levels ever.

And so, the economic pie continues to shrink on a per capita basis, and now it's global shrinkage

Arrow4Truth's picture

The only "free" market that is or has ever been, is exhanging something of value for something else of value. The negotiation is fun... unless there are no options.

Common_Law's picture

Maybe for the natives and not from income taxes.

Look up the invasion of hawaii 1893.

Maybe something like a reverse mortgage by the us and then they get their government/land back. And they can vote for whatever they want to do.

Vigilante's picture

If they kill the useless eaters, who will buy the products the robots make?

Other robots?

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Wait, why would robots need to trade and thus why do they need to make stuff? Oh, that's right, it's their programming. Sure hope the programmers are on their toes.

Took Red Pill's picture

even programmers will be obsolete as they already have AI and robots that build other robots

chubbar's picture

The other part of the equation has been ignored as well. Just who are the business owners planning to sell their goods to? Not the people out of work with no income. When this shit snowballs, like it always does, there will be mass BK's of businesses because they aren't going to need 20 fast food places on the strip or 20 outlet malls or many of the other crap stores they now have. The middle class goes away and so does the majority of the businesses in existence.

Jeffersonian Liberal's picture

And ZHers like to think that Tulsi Gabbard is a secret Libertarian.

She's a Progressive.

She voted for Sanders.

She hides behind her military photo-ops to look liked a common-sense, conservative patriot.

She's a part of all this and only makes it worse.

But she sees herself as the female version of an Obama presidency. Her entire life has been geared towards it.

chubbar's picture

Probably true and I wouldn't vote for her assuming better alternatives. However, she's been a crusader on Syria and all the bullshit the US gov't has tried to accuse Assad of doing, like gassing. Of course Trump was singing the same song before the deep state got to him as well, so it's hard to be optimistic with anyone opposed to these assholes.

BadSpybot's picture

...which is why it's going to be difficult for me to even vote again.

BarkingCat's picture

She had 2 votes recently that proved that she is a useless statist cunt.

One was the Russia sanctions,  because they helped Trump, even though it was already common knowledge that the whole narrative was pure lies.


Chuck Walla's picture

Fuck an A, I'm moving if they provide housing, too! Bye snowy Midwest, Hello Chumps!

Bopper09's picture

A lot of people cut him down, but I like listening to him, and he's right most of the time, it's just that he looks 3-5 yrs into the future, where everyone else doesn't look much further than next week.

HRH Feant2's picture

I like Jim Willie. I hate his whiney fucking voice but that is a genetic defect he can't fix. His mind is brilliant. Is he fucked up most of the time? Yes. Been there, done that. I understand having to be intoxicated in order to handle dealing with idiocy. Growing out of that in my old age, but yes, I understand the need to be completely intoxicated.

Brilliant man, highly underrated. Even intoxicated Willie makes most people sound like low 70 IQ apes.

sparksmass's picture

Willie is a complete fraud, whose purpose is to sell newsletters.  His business model is simple:  say a lot of far out sounding things that he just made up, so when you hear it, you perk up because it's something you have never heard before in any of the usual places (zerohedge, etc.), so you think this guy must have some inside sources or information, I should listen to him.  He even tells you that he has a super-secret inside source know as "the voice", that only gives this secret info to him, LOL.  I challenged him on a number of his made up claims to provide any link, source, or backing for his claim, he was unable to do so.  I have always ignored him since.

HRH Feant2's picture

Fuck off. Most of the information on his site is free.

Keyser's picture

Yeah, and free information that is wrong is important to you for what reason? Never mind, back to your doom porn... 

hedgeless_horseman's picture


and free information that is wrong is important

Who is Dennis Gartman?


sparksmass's picture

Go sign up for a platinum membership to the golden jackass then, be my guest, asshole.

ZeroLounger's picture

On some of Willie's podcasts, he REALLY has a bad case of the 'sniffles'.

MFL5591's picture

Hawaii is a shithole of liberalism!

null's picture

The dollar will not "bust" but Equivalently Correct, to appropriately compensate for China's busting-out being completed ... since the greater fools (those who are more desperate to launder politburo's money) will have been depleted.

Plus ... like they need that much oil when their production will drop to a statistical zero once the dollar "busts."