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  • basic income

    The Canadians are about to start giving away money

    The Huffington Post

    Shane Ferro

    4 hrs ago

    If people know for sure they'll have enough money for essentials, will they contribute more to society? That's one of the many questions Canada aims to answer with a new pilot program that will give free money to citizens for doing nothing.

    The Canadian province of Ontario is getting ready to start an experiment in which it pays people a little bit each month to cover basic expenses. It's a type of social safety net called basic income, and it's an idea that's gaining steam in both progressive and libertarian economic circles (albeit in different forms) as a way to support the poor and the struggling while boosting economic growth.

    The basic income trial is included in Ontario's 2017-2018 budget, which was introduced by the government in late February and is expected to pass soon. There are no specific figures yet for how many people will participate or how much money they would receive, but recent trials in Finland and the Netherlands have proposed between $800 and $1,000 per month.

    The plan is part of a larger push to reduce poverty and expand the safety net in Ontario. The budget also includes a proposal to give free university and college tuition to low-income students.

    Ideally, basic income is large enough to allow a person to live very sparsely if he or she can't or doesn't want to work, but small enough that most people will still choose to have jobs. Unlike something like unemployment benefits -- which generally require proof that a person has lost a job in a specific way or for a specific reason, and also that he or she is looking for a new one as soon as possible -- basic income doesn't have strings attached.

    Theoretically, a basic income gives people a cushion to spend longer periods of time finding the right job for them, as well as encouraging things like education and entrepreneurialism. At the same time, it supports the injured, the disabled and people who need extended time off to care for children or the elderly.

    Essentially, it's the most basic form of redistribution.

    "The poor are not unable, they are unfree to use the resources of the Earth to meet their own needs. We can restore that freedom without a big change in the system, just by taxing property to [compensate] the propertyless in the form of a basic income," Karl Widerquist, a basic income expert and political philosophy professor at Georgetown University's Qatar campus, told HuffPost.

    One of the only real-life tests of basic income happened in a different part of Canada back in the 1970s. Dauphin, a city in Manitoba, nearly eliminated poverty between 1974 and 1979 under a program then called mincome, or minimum income. During the time the program was active, individuals received about $15,000 a year maximum (in today's American dollars), and families received about $18,000 a year maximum. Those base amounts were adjusted as the individual or family made more money: Every dollar a person or family made subtracted 50 cents from the basic income check. However, the program was shelved in 1979 after a change in Canadian government made it politically unpopular.

    But the political winds have shifted again, and Ontario is ready to give basic income a try. Near the bottom of the "social assistance" subsection of the province's 2016 budget, this humble paragraph appears:

    One area of research that will inform the path to comprehensive reform will be the evaluation of a Basic Income pilot. The pilot project will test a growing view at home and abroad that a basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support in the context of today’s dynamic labour market. The pilot would also test whether a basic income would provide a more efficient way of delivering income support, strengthen the attachment to the labour force, and achieve savings in other areas, such as health care and housing supports. The government will work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot.

    The idea of studying basic income idea is catching on in other nations as well -- including here in the U.S.

    Y Combinator, the famous tech startup accelerator in California, recently announced it will fund a basic income study in order to answer the question: "Do people, without the fear of not being able to eat, accomplish far more and benefit society far more?”

    The country of Finland similarly announced a basic income study several months ago, after yet another year of sluggish economic growth. It plans to give a small test group of citizens 800 euros (about $880) per month. It joins the Dutch city of Utrecht, which is also conducting a study on basic income this year. Several other Dutch cities are set to follow. The Dutch basic incomes are around $1000.

    Neither libertarian Silicon Valley nor the socially democratic countries of Finland and the Netherlands are ready to say that they think giving money out to everyone without any strings attached is the right move -- but they are ready to spend time and money testing the idea out.
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/marke...4jt?li=BBnbfcL

    I am actually for this, under 2 conditions:

    1. remove all other forms of welfare from social security to medicare to unemployment insurance to housing allowance to food stamps...etc.
    2. everyone gets it, be it the rich, the poor, the middle class,...etc

    Economics is often counter-intuitive. This idea just might be crazy enough to work.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  • #2
    I am intensely curious to see the results of this.
    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

    Comment


    • #3
      I use a very similar point against a Bernie supporter. I suggested to them if it was about empowering and helping their fellow men, rather than power over them, then end all welfare and just cut the poor a check to spend, save or invest as they wanted.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the greatest savings is in the trimmed down bureaucracy.

        330,000,000 population x $1000/month x 12 month/year = 3,960,000,000,000

        This may not work. $3.96 trillion is pretty much the federal budget right now. That's not much left for defense, courts, state department, and the mint.
        "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

        Comment


        • #5
          the idea of a basic income's been seriously toyed with for fifty years, especially under nixon. it's not really a crazy or new idea, it's been well explored by economists such as Milton Friedman.

          from a purely economic standpoint, it's not a bad idea, especially if you combine it with universal healthcare and some form of mandatory retirement savings (to prevent hucksters from defrauding the disabled/old/poor/financially challenged). or keep Social Security as well.

          This may not work. $3.96 trillion is pretty much the federal budget right now. That's not much left for defense, courts, state department, and the mint.
          given housing costs, $2000/month would probably make more sense, really. you could toy with the idea of only giving it to citizens over the age of 21. then it's pretty close to workable; you'd "just" have to eliminate deductions and probably do a small increase in taxes to make up the difference. of course in this political climate nothing of the sort will happen.

          but it WOULD certainly shrink the federal workforce and give more autonomy to people.
          Last edited by astralis; 10 Mar 16,, 03:32.
          There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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          • #6
            How is this not going to produce inflation, since it is already on top of the other benefits?
            "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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            • #7
              well, the point is that you're substituting a basic income for all/most of the other benefits.

              you'd probably end up spending a bit more in the short-term but saving in the long-term just from efficiency and working man-hours. frankly what little extra inflation that would result would be beneficial in today's highly deflationary environment.
              There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

              Comment


              • #8
                How would it lower the admin if you need an agency to sort it out?


                What if it doesn't work? You can't say hey we were kidding. I see riots.

                On the other side, it might lower the wages. Companies will have more for taxes and investment. Banks will get extra new clients, some will just spend the money on fancy food, clothing, tech, the others will invest in some small/medium biz not worrying if they fail.

                Could work, but will surely create a bubble somewhere.
                No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

                To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I’m not on top of the details of the Canadian proposal, but here’s two things that I’ve seen elsewhere that are probably major issues.

                  First, the usual approach is not to ADD basic income on top of other subsidies, but to use that other subsidy money to finance part of the basic income. If you get disability payments, you’ll see that amount contributed toward the basic income.

                  Second, there are only so many dollars (loonies) to go around, so giving the money to everyone regardless of need is unnecessarily expensive. Basic income programs are expensive, so this idea is likely to be qualified: “Everyone who needs it.” That requires means testing, which for a place like Canada shouldn’t be too difficult.
                  Trust me?
                  I'm an economist!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The automatic reaction in the rural communities are for the welfare people, yay, more money. For the farmers around me, the Liberals just lost any chance at being elected here. Not that they had any chance at all.
                    Chimo

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting idea for sure, and while it could replace a most of our existing social safety net programs, I'm not sure it will work for medical related things. Medical tends to get weird because it is one of those things that some people need more than others, or you don't need it at all until suddenly you REALLY need it.

                      Anyway, props to Canada for taking a gamble and trying it out!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                        For the farmers around me, the Liberals just lost any chance at being elected here.
                        Over here the farmers in particular* would be glad for a basic income. Most family-held farms here are merely part-time jobs for the current generation, often - if intended to turn a profit - laid out to take advantage of specific EU subsidies (and shifting and turning with those - e.g. currently with a focus on planting energy crops, and next to no small farms still keeping animals). A basic income would allow that farmers could actually live with their farms "as a job" again. The farmhands are seasonally bought in Eastern Europe anyway, so they'd still work for next to nothing.

                        * speaking from the viewpoint of my own relatives in that business.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Over here is regulation or what is seemingly over regulation. A slaughter barn just closed about a month ago because he was being forced to go all stainless steel including the floors in his walk in freezer and he can't sell what he had to make a small dent in the upgrade because they no longer meet code.

                          Then you got this being slapped in his face. He has to fire people because he's closing and then the government is doing this for the drunks in town.
                          Chimo

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kato View Post
                            The farmhands are seasonally bought in Eastern Europe anyway, so they'd still work for next to nothing.
                            Sounds like our Mexican migrants out here in California . . .
                            "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DOR View Post
                              Second, there are only so many dollars (loonies) to go around, so giving the money to everyone regardless of need is unnecessarily expensive. Basic income programs are expensive, so this idea is likely to be qualified: “Everyone who needs it.” That requires means testing, which for a place like Canada shouldn’t be too difficult.
                              But the problem comes back to the "need" part. Someone somewhere has to determine what the "need" is. And we will have to set up a bunch of gigantic bureaucracies to make sure money is not wasted. That in itself is a waste. And since government has no profit incentive, fraud is rampant.
                              "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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