Basic Income basics -- it's not impossible

Halifax Examiner

Evelyn Forget has quite literally written the book on basic income for Canadians.  It’s called, you guessed it, Basic Income for Canadians.

As a health economist at the University of Manitoba, Forget re-discovered the Manitoba Mincome experiment of the 1970s, and undertook to analyze some 1800 cubic feet of data from the decades-old experiment. She found evidence of improved health and high school completion, and even an overall improved sense of community in the town of Dauphin, the one and only saturation site for the Mincome experiment.

In advance of her talk at this year’s Basic Income NS conference on Saturday at the Central Library,  I called up Forget to ask her about the basics of basic income.

The interview has been edited for length & clarity, and to make my rambling questions sound snappy and to the point.

What is basic income? 

When we talk about basic income in Canada, we’re almost always talking about something that looks sort of like the Canada Child Benefit. That is, it’s a very targeted program. If you have no income from any other source you receive a certain amount of money, and as your wage income increases, your benefit declines, but it declines less than proportionately.

And that’s a bit different from what some people are talking about in other parts of the world, where they talk about everybody, no matter how rich you are, receiving $500 dollars a month or 500 euros a month or whatever they happen to be talking about.

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