Rep. Ilhan Omar closed out July with radical legislation calling for certain Americans to receive a “guaranteed income.”
The Sending Unconditional Payments to People Overcoming Resistances to Triumph (SUPPORT) Act requests $2.5 billion for a program that would send $1,200 per month to Americans in “hundreds of communities” across the country from 2023-27.
Afterwards, the program would be implemented nationally for individuals earning under $75,000 per year and families making below $112,500 annually.
Omar endorsed a “universal basic income” — an idea first promoted nationally two years ago by failed presidential and mayoral candidate Andrew Yang — over 15 months ago.
It’s time for a universal basic income.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) April 26, 2020
According to the Huffington Post, some “undocumented people” would be eligible.
“Poverty is a choice. For too long we have prioritized endless growth while millions are homeless, hungry or without healthcare,” Omar said in a statement.
“We as a nation have the ability to make sure everyone has their basic needs like food, housing and healthcare met. Building off successful pilot programs in my home state of Minnesota, I am proud to introduce a guaranteed income that will put money directly into the pockets of Minnesotans,” she continued.
Her cosponsors are a who’s who of socialists, including Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, and Pramila Jayapal.
The Huffington Post lauded the bill, noting in part, “The idea of a guaranteed income, or free money with no conditions, to improve economic and other outcomes for low-income people is not new. It’s been tested at significant scale in countries such as Kenya and India with positive results, including improved nutrition, and in Finland, where preliminary results showed improved health and well-being.”
It actually failed in Finland, and was abolished after only two years.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter launched a pilot guaranteed income program last year that is providing 150 families with $500 per month for 18 months.
Before Omar was in Congress, the Heritage Foundation’s Vijay Menon explained how this idea hurts those it supposedly intends to help. He discussed the federal government’s “negative income tax” experiment from 1968-80, which consisted of four random, controlled trials across six states designed to guarantee a minimum income.
“Evaluations of the experiment found that the negative income tax reduced desired hours of work by 9 percent for husbands, by 20 percent for wives, and by 25 percent for single female heads of families,” Menon reported.
“For single males who were not heads of households throughout the experiment, the reduction in hours worked per week was a staggering 43 percent. If recipients lost their jobs during the experiment, they experienced significantly longer spells of unemployment compared with non-recipients,” he said.
Some Democrats understand this and therefore doubt the legislation’s future.
“We’ve had three rounds of direct payments made to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, so this idea is not a plan mainstream Democrats will support,” a left-leaning analyst told Alpha News Saturday. “With many of the aforementioned politicians refusing to extend the eviction moratorium, remove the filibuster, add states, or get on board with other progressive goals, I think this bill is a pipe dream that won’t garner much interest outside the party’s fringe.”
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.