Guaranteed Income

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Unionist

Ah, I see, yet another thread where all my posts have been deleted. I should thank Sean in Ottawa for having quoted and thereby preserved a significant part of my argument against the guaranteed income notion. I wonder how he's doing these days...

ETA: Thank you, Catchfire, for un-disappearing my old posts!

Francesca Allan

Unionist wrote:
Carefully try to do what Andrew Jackson suggested in the 2008 discussion I cited above: Make guaranteed income a replacement for welfare (essentially), but don't eliminate a single other program (EI, CPP, minimum wage laws, etc. etc.).

Wouldn't it be more efficient to merge a guaranteed income with CPP, EI, disability welfare, any other similar source? I think it's a bit silly to say, okay, EI is responsible for $X because you worked X hours, and CPP $X because you were employed for X number of years and disability welfare $X because your paperwork is accurate and completed. Why don't we just have one thing (and, no, I can't think up a good name for it at the moment) and, if you need it, you get it and who gives a shit why you need it. It would be strictly based on your taxable income.

Quote:
I still think it's dangerous, though, because it will provide neoliberals with a pretext to wipe out everything in exchange for the guaranteed income - in other words, guaranteed poverty.

That kind of depends on the level of income we're talking about. If it's $2,800 net, then that's way, way too high.

Francesca Allan

Arthur Cramer wrote:
What a screwed up world. All this wealth and we think its ok if a few people have most of it and a lot have almost none of it.

And, of course, that just identifies one thing that's screwed up about it.

janfromthebruce

Unionist wrote:

Arthur Cramer wrote:

So then how do we come up with a system of income support that helps people without giving Libs and Tories an excuse for sticking it to the people who need this help the most? (this could include neo-lib NDP governments at least like those on the pairies, as well).

Carefully try to do what Andrew Jackson suggested in the 2008 discussion I cited above: Make guaranteed income a replacement for welfare (essentially), but don't eliminate a single other program (EI, CPP, minimum wage laws, etc. etc.).

I still think it's dangerous, though, because it will provide neoliberals with a pretext to wipe out everything in exchange for the guaranteed income - in other words, guaranteed poverty.

 

agreed.

lagatta

Francesca, the cost of living in Switzerland is very high.

 

Francesca Allan

lagatta wrote:

Francesca, the cost of living in Switzerland is very high.

Oh, okay. I was being Vancouver Island-centric again. I guess it's like the concept of a liveable minimum wage -- doesn't really mean anything unless you know what it costs to live.

lagatta

And of course, in that case, where in Vancouver Island? I imagine Victoria is fairly pricy, with the government there and all the seniors seeking a milder climate (I'm old enough to want that too, but no, not so far from friends and family here and in Europe).

Aristotleded24

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
Yeah, I'm with you. I'd much rather see a higher minimum wage, better job benefits, and job creation through public works and infrastructure. As much as I find it interesting when some principled right-wing intellectuals sympathize with the left, particularly on civil liberties... I can't help but be cynical and see it as a trojan horse. Like, as soon as we obliterate our social safety net for a guaranteed minimum income, that's when the right wing starts whittling away the guaranteed minimum income.

I take that point. However, I think that has more to do with the right than with the guaranteed minimum income. We have CPP, EI, and all sorts of other social programs, and yet the right has been whittling away at those as well.

Francesca Allan

lagatta wrote:
And of course, in that case, where in Vancouver Island? I imagine Victoria is fairly pricy, with the government there and all the seniors seeking a milder climate (I'm old enough to want that too, but no, not so far from friends and family here and in Europe).

I'm in Victoria where you can rent a decent one-bedroom in a nice part of town for about $800. IMO, a reasonable guaranteed income here (for a single person) would be $1,600 to $1,800. With a full-time (40 hours) minimum-wage job, you'd clear about $1,775. So either the guaranteed income would have to go down or the minimum wage would have to go up. I sure as hell wouldn't fault anybody for choosing to live a meaningful life (perhaps volunteering or writing or doing whatever) over slaving at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

lagatta

Francesca, the minimum wage has to go up there. Why? Because at 1,600$, the person is spending half her or his income on rent. That is a very high percentage of household income (in French, "taux d'effort"). It means an emergency can put the person in danger of homelessness.

Francesca Allan

lagatta wrote:

Francesca, the minimum wage has to go up there. Why? Because at 1,600$, the person is spending half her or his income on rent. That is a very high percentage of household income (in French, "taux d'effort"). It means an emergency can put the person in danger of homelessness.

Certainly the minimum wage should go up. If the choices are working F/T for merely $175 more (whittled away by transportation, etc.), then people (quite reasonably) are going to opt for the GAI. Spending half your income on rent doesn't appall me. Having good food cost about twice as much as crap food does, however. The way things are set up now for low-income people is soul-destroying. I live below the poverty line indepently but I am always aware that I have my friends and family to rely on so I really don't have the true experience of poverty except when I'm very ill and unable to accept others' help. Our society has shitloads of money; we just choose to spend it on really, really stupid things like ineffective and harmful medical care (don't get me started) and inane bureaucracies that help nobody but the people employed by them.

socialdemocrati...

Here I was thinking that the Swiss proposal was to start with $2800 per year? As in $200 or so per month, as an income supplement for the working poor, a tax dividend for the middle class, and a stipend (on top of other social services) for those unable to work.

lagatta

It would be important to see which it is, but I think 2800$ monthly is more likely, as salaries are usually expressed thus in Europe, and it would replace various types of welfare benefits. For higher income earners, it would be taxed back.

Remember, we are talking Switzerland. Prices are much higher than in neighbouring countries, and Swiss near borders tend to shop outside their country if they have a car or are so close that it is worth it to take public transport or cycle (it isn't Alpine everywhere). I don't know if there are duties on groceries brought from neighbouring countries.

I think spending half one's income on rent is extremely high. It could be worthwhile for a mortgage, as that is also an investment, but a sudden change in circumstances can make it risky. I've worked in tenants' associations and people spending that much often find themselves in serious trouble.

Unionist

Here's the secret:

Quote:

The initiative's organizing committee said the basic income could partly be financed through money from social insurance systems in Switzerland.

[url=http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/04/us-swiss-pay-idUSBRE9930O62013...

I love it! Eliminate social spending and give the money back to the "people" to spend as they like! I think that's what the erstwhile babbler economist had in mind.

Road, rail, air, and marine transport should be eliminated too, and the savings added to guaranteed income. Not everyone uses those means of transport.

I have other good ideas for the Swiss too!

 

socialdemocrati...

Ugh, that's very telling Unionist, and confirms my worst fears about the proposal.

lagatta

I'm not surprised at all. Bit like "school vouchers"?

socialdemocrati...

lagatta wrote:

I'm not surprised at all. Bit like "school vouchers"?

Yes, exactly. From the same conservative thinktanks.

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/guaranteed-20k-income-for-all-canadians-en... $20K income for all Canadians endorsed by academics[/url]

 

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

XXX wrote:

I wasn't taiking about thatcherism or selling off public assets. I was talking about helping families and individuals who want to own a home or apartment get a mortgage at a cheap rate without jumping through bank hoops.

What's wrong with owning the house you live in?

 

Our housing co-op is scheduled to pay off our mortgage in 2017.

Geoff

From reading this thread, I've heard enough supporters make a good case for a GAI that I think I too could be persuaded to support it. However, I've also read enough about the potential dangers that I would agree that we must be cautious in what form any GAI takes. 

Therefore, I'd like to know what babblers think a truly progressive GAI would look like and how Canadians might be persuaded to "get on board".

Aristotleded24

Geoff wrote:
From reading this thread, I've heard enough supporters make a good case for a GAI that I think I too could be persuaded to support it. However, I've also read enough about the potential dangers that I would agree that we must be cautious in what form any GAI takes.

I think with anything there will be merits and fall-backs, and we have to look at those honestly and make a decision.

Rokossovsky

Why give social assistance to the rich?

Geoff

Rokossovsky wrote:

Why give social assistance to the rich?

I can think of no good reason, so tax it back.  Takes care of that problem.

Rokossovsky

That is my point, really. The premise is largely based on the efficiency of the system because it elimnates wasteful bureaucracy, but in reality, it too would have to be balanced and suplemented to account for a variety of factors, for example "disabilities', so I think some of the efficiency is lost. The need to tax the rich to get the money back is one.

Why not just have a robost welfare system of guaranteed housing and basic income?

The appeal of GAI seems largely to be the appearance of "fairness" to the rich.

Jacob Richter

Geoff, a truly progressive basic income would have to be a top-up program, not just on top of existing social benefits, but more importantly on top of out-of-the-box programs as well.  Three out-of-the-box programs that come to mind are government-run job guarantee programs (gets rid of structural and cyclical unemployment), universal food "stamps" (helps not just with combatting hunger, but also with combatting obesity and promoting healthy eating), and educational training income (forget student campaigns for "tuition freezes" and even "zero tuitions" if you're studying in a career-related post-secondary program).

Otherwise, count me out on the risks of "basic income" putting downward pressure on wages.

Geoff

I see the makings of a progessive GAI (or whatever we prefer to call it) coming from the points made by Rokossovsky and Jacob Richter.  Indeed, if the GAI proposal that eventually comes to the table is nothing more than a means of making life worse for the 99%, then count me out, too.

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