Commentary

Legal Voice


Legal Voice is a nonprofit based in the northwest United States with all the classic woke trappings—it claims “white supremacy is deeply embedded in every system we both work and live within” and is striving for something called “gender liberation,” which involves “challeng[ing] patriarchal and racist power structures.”

This isn’t your typical woke organization. Legal Voices goes further than much of the Left. One of its 2024 legislative priorities in Washington State included extending unemployment insurance benefits and funding a “Medicaid-like program” for an additional 25,000 illegal immigrants. The group also supports HB 1045, which proposed a pilot program of unrestricted cash payments for two years to eligible low-income or homeless Washingtonians and those experiencing domestic violence.

Guaranteed Basic Income

This policy proposal, Evergreen Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot (HB 1045), poses many questions. First, why would anyone attempt to get a job before the two years of unrestricted cash payments end? How much is giving away free money going to cost the working people of Washington State? Domestic abuse is not confined to any particular income level. So if someone experiencing domestic violence happens to have a well-paying job, would this program give free money to someone fully capable of financially supporting herself? Would people, such as college students or recent graduates, who may be earning very little money but receive plenty of money off the books from their parents be eligible? Are recipients of free money going to be taught financial literacy? Will there be any repercussions should they choose to spend their free money on drugs, alcohol, or gambling?

While U.S. taxpayers should certainly not be footing the bill for people who are illegally in this country, much less two years of unrestricted cash payments for anyone, even citizens, HB 1045 has a precedent in San Francisco and New York City.

The City of San Francisco announced in November 2022 that low-income transgender people can apply for a monthly stipend of $1,200 simply for being transgender. How does the government verify that these people are “actually” trans and not simply low-income people who decided to identify as transgender in order to get the stipend? If there’s no “verification” system, why would anyone who is truly poor and desperate not suddenly begin to identify as transgender for a sweet $1,200 per month? And most importantly, isn’t it illegal to limit who can apply for the stipend based on gender?

Similarly, New York City is giving debit cards to migrants, with which they will reportedly only be able to buy food and baby supplies at grocery and convenience stores, costing local tax payers a negligible $53 million without an ID check, restrictions, or fraud control. Even if you believe that handing free money to potentially illegal migrants is a good idea, how do we know that the debit card recipients are actually needy migrants who need up to $15,000 per year for a family of four? Could I borrow my friend’s baby and claim I’m a needy migrant mother with a small child and that I, too, am in need of several thousand dollars of free money?

“Safety”

The first sentence on the Legal Voices website’s “About Us” page is, “We believe that all women and LGBTQ people should be able to live their lives with dignity, safety, and autonomy.” Living off of taxpayers’ money for up to two years without having to demonstrate enrollment in school or a job training program isn’t dignity or autonomy. But it is “safety” of a sort from the real world.

Naomi Grant

Naomi Grant is a former research intern at Capital Research Center.
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