Here are two words I never thought I would type in the same sentence: Texas and socialism.

Yet, because 2022 never ceases to amaze, at least in terms of crazy political stories, here I am writing about a socialist toehold in Texas!

On May 5, the Austin City Council voted in favor of a Guaranteed Income pilot program that will send $1,000 per month to 85 Austin households for the duration of one year.

Of course, the pilot program will be run by Austin’s Equity Office. As Austin’s Chief Equity Officer Brion Oaks writes, “The administration of a guaranteed income pilot and distribution of unrestricted funds represents a public purpose for the City of Austin. Studies and program evaluations have shown that one of the most effective and efficient methods to assist households in advancing economic development, public health, and public safety is the use of direct cash assistance programs which put the decisions for utilization of funds into the hands of those directly impacted.”

Oaks also notes, “These unrestricted funds do not represent a ‘gift,’ but rather a critical investment in families and individuals to improve their economic stability, mental and physical health, social capital, and prevention of displacement. The investment provided by a guaranteed income helps ensure that households facing housing and economic insecurity have the resources and ability to build a foundation from which they can springboard into better-paying jobs, increased savings, and ability to live full lives.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a strong proponent of the cash giveaway program, tweeted before the vote, “I am supporting a guaranteed basic income pilot program in Austin to help working people and families become more resilient to financial emergencies, make rent, cover childcare and put food on the table.”

One question immediately comes to mind: How does giving $1,000 a month to a family increase resilience? Surely, it does not. Handouts never do.

On the other hand (no pun intended), the handouts are highly likely to increase government dependence, which is what socialism is all about.

Sadly, Austin is just one of many American cities that have created Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot programs in recent years. From Seattle to Chicago, UBI programs are gaining momentum at a frightening pace.

Yet, perhaps we should not be surprised with this disturbing development. After all, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government wantonly sent “stimulus” checks to Americans, regardless of their need for such funds.

And, for all those who are saying “don’t worry, this is just a pilot program,” give me a break. If I had a dime for every so-called pilot program that morphed into a permanent entitlement program, I would be a very wealthy man.

Austin’s UBI, like every other, is just another socialist wealth redistribution scheme. However, as Margaret Thatcher famously said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

PHOTO: Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Photo by Austin Community College. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Chris Talgo (CTalgo@heartland.org) is an editor and research fellow at The Heartland Institute and a researcher and editor at StoppingSocialism.com.