South Dakota Republicans: Universal Basic Income program disincentivizes work
04/22/2024 // Belle Carter // Views

South Dakota state Sen. John Wiik and other Republicans have criticized the Universal Basic Income (UBI) program. They argue that handing out "no-strings-attached cash" disincentivizes work.

Wiik likes to think of himself as a lookout of sorts. He keeps an eye on new laws, programs and ideas brewing across the states. "I don't bring a ton of legislation," he said. "The main thing I like to do is try and stay ahead of trends and try and prevent bad things from coming into our state."

"The economic gut punch of the pandemic and related assistance efforts such as the expanded child tax credit popularized the idea of directly handing cash to people in need," Stateline reported. According to the news agency, advocates think the programs can be administered more efficiently than traditional government assistance programs, and research suggests they increase not only financial stability but also mental and physical health.  (Related: JOBS CRISIS: Almost 107 million Americans are not in the labor force.)

UBI has been around for decades. However, in a 2019 experiment in Stockton, California, a major expansion was set off. One hundred twenty-five individuals received $500 per month with no strings attached for two years. Independent researchers found the program improved financial stability and health, but concluded that the pandemic dampened those effects.

GOP lawmakers think experimental programs like UBI could set a dangerous precedent. "What did Ronald Reagan say, 'the closest thing to eternal life on this planet is a government program?'" Wiik said. "So, if you get people addicted to just getting a check from the government, it’s going to be really hard to take that away."

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Democrats don't want people to be self-sufficient

Blue state lawmakers, meanwhile, seek to expand pilot programs. The Land of 10,000 Lakes could become the nation's first to fund a statewide program. Meanwhile, elected officials in red states are working to thwart such efforts, not only by fighting statewide efforts but also by preventing local communities from starting their own basic income programs. Moreover, democratic governors in Arizona and Wisconsin recently vetoed Republican legislation banning basic income programs.

In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Harris County earlier this month to block a pilot program that would provide $500 per month to 1,900 low-income people in the state’s largest county. Paxton argued the program is illegal because it violates a state constitutional provision that says local governments cannot grant public money to individuals. Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee, a Democrat, called Paxton's move "nothing more than an attack on local government and an attempt to make headlines."

Meanwhile, Washington state lawmakers have debated a statewide basic income bill during this year's short session. Minnesota lawmakers have also debated whether to spend $100 million to roll out one of the nation’s first statewide pilot programs.

The public's natural reaction is to fear that free cash would dissuade people from working. That hasn't been the case, said Sara Kimberlin, the executive director and senior research scholar at Stanford University's Center on Poverty and Inequality. "There isn't anywhere in the United States where you can live off of $500 a month," she said. "At the same time, $500 a month makes a tremendous difference for someone who is living close to the edge."

Kimberlin said the research on basic income programs has so far been promising, though it's unclear how long the benefits may persist once programs conclude. Still, she said, plenty of research shows how critical economic stability in childhood is to stability in adulthood – something both the basic income programs and the pandemic-era child tax credit seek to address.

But many people say beneficiaries may simply blow their funds on drugs and alcohol and encourage them to quit their jobs.

Visit to read more stories like this.

Watch the video below that talks about 200 plus cities that already signed the UBI.

This video is from the SecureLife on

More related stories:

CLOT SHOT COERCION: In Brazil, all Universal Basic Income (UBI) recipients must show proof of vaccination.

Nearly 107 million Americans do not have a job right now.

Chicago holds JOB FAIR for MIGRANTS amid rising number of unemployed Black residents in the city.

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