By Roderick Benns
Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site
In this series, we examine the value of a basic income guarantee to various sectors of society. In today’s column, we look at three reasons why it’s a great policy idea for business owners.
A basic income should be Canada’s next great social program. If you are a business owner, there are many reasons to support a basic income guarantee. We’ll talk about just three of them below.
But first, what is a basic income guarantee?
A basic income would ensure that no Canadian would ever drop below the poverty line. Let’s say it was set at $20,000 per year. If someone earned $14,000 in one year, then at tax time an additional $6,000 would be given to that person, spread out over 12 months using the existing income tax system.
Clean and simple and minimal bureaucracy. No one is overseeing the process to determine if it is ‘deserved.’ We could scrap the entire welfare system and review other levels of bureaucracy, too.
In addition to the bureaucracy savings, Canada already spends up to $86 billion a year in combatting poverty…and yet we still have poverty. Basic income is simple in design and effective in that no one gets left behind.
Now, on to those top three reasons…
Top Three Reasons for Business to Speak Up for Basic Income
1) It would ensure more people have more money to spend. People who earn lower incomes inevitably need to spend all of their money, and they do so locally for the things they need. They don’t have big savings accounts like middle class and wealthier Canadians. More dollars to spend is great for your business and the economy.
2) With the help of some other interventions, a basic income guarantee would virtually eliminate homelessness. That’s great from a public health perspective and it also means a better business environment when people are taken care of. It would virtually eliminate begging in front of businesses which creates a more comfortable environment for everyone.
3) It would help to significantly reduce crime. When people are taken care of, there will be less crimes committed by desperate people because there will be fewer desperate people to begin with. More social cohesion is good for everyone and should help businesses be more secure and safe.
Other ideas, like forcing businesses to jack up minimum wages, puts the burden on businesses. Creating a healthy society is everyone’s responsibility, and government must take the lead. If these arguments make sense to you, share this column and sign the petition to support a basic income guarantee for Canadians here.