Has coronavirus changed the basic income debate?

BBC News

A basic income system would provide every individual in the country with a cash payment at regular intervals, without any requirement to work or qualify for it.

This payment would be given to every citizen regardless of their wealth, employment or personal status. A range of different figures have been suggested, but it would be enough to cover the basics of life and would serve as a replacement for all existing benefit payments.

There have long been debates about whether this would be a guaranteed safety net that would expand freedom of choice and cut bureaucracy in the welfare system, or a ruinously expensive incentive for people to do less work.

Up until now, in the UK at least, it has chiefly been chin-stroking fodder for think tank round-tables and discussion papers.

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South Korea Mulls Universal Basic Income Post-COVID

The Diplomat

The concept of universal basic income (UBI) is simple: provide a set amount of “basic income” for survival to every citizen regularly with no strings attached.

Supporters on the left believe that it will lift people out of poverty and increase the quality of life. On the right, supporters believe that UBI could reduce the burden on the state’s welfare system and maximize individual choices instead. 

In recent years, UBI has attracted more considerable attention with increased concerns over growing economic inequality and the effect of automation upon the labor market.

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Billionaires equate to failed public policy

Roderick Benns


As our people and small businesses hold on for their lives and livelihoods, many are wondering what happened to the grand promise of unfettered capitalism. What happened to the promise of endless growth? Of the greatness of the free market?

The sheer inadequacy of the market to respond to this pandemic, the utter weakness of big business to pull us out of this mess is itself a master lesson in economics. It’s also an indictment of extreme capitalism.

It’s not the markets that are saving us now; it’s our governments, led by a prime minister and premiers and talented bureaucrats who have learned that they have the tools at their disposal to chart a course for the public good. And how silly we ever once thought that hundreds of corporations, all working in their own self-interest, could a country make.

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Mayor urges Ottawa to start a guaranteed basic income

The Sarnia Observer

Sarnia’s mayor says the time has come for Canada to implement a guaranteed basic income.

The concept of a new and simplified income security program has gained traction during the pandemic, with the federal government’s Canada Emergency Relief Benefit, or CERB, coming close to a basic income measure.

Last week, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for both a municipal assistance program and a basic income plan.

A basic income top-up would eliminate the bureaucracy and provide stability for people living below the poverty line, he said.

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BICN Brief - Advocating for a Basic Income in the wake of COVID-19

BICN, over the years, has encouraged a wide range of thought and work on basic income concepts, research, pilots and policy proposals. In our own modelling we developed three different progressive policy options and refrained from advocating just one.

The COVID-19 health and economic crisis has changed that. We must be more directive.

Our concern for human life and wellbeing has led us to the conclusion that the federal government must act decisively now and that the best available evidence in Canada at this moment argues for a basic income guarantee model for 18-64 year olds, consistent with programs for seniors and children that have demonstrated success.

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B.C. explores universal basic income for post-pandemic world

Vancouver Sun

Mass unemployment and the shutdown of entire sectors of B.C.’s economy due to COVID-19 has put a renewed interest on the idea of a government-supplied basic income, says the province’s social development minister.

Shane Simpson said it’s particularly opportune that a panel of three academics hired by the province in 2018 to study the issue is preparing to deliver its interim report this summer, while B.C. is slowly reopening its economy from the coronavirus. The pandemic experience will be included in the study on basic income and add a new context to the report, said Simpson.

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Is now the time for a universal basic income in Canada?

The Guardian

Canada is a country with no shortage of government programs aimed at assisting individuals and families in need.

Decade after decade during the 20th century Canada built the architecture of a welfare state to eradicate social and political injustices.

Bits and pieces of policy at the federal and provincial level now make up a fortress of legislation to address the basic needs of individuals and groups.

For example, at the federal level in 1942 Unemployment Insurance would become Employment Insurance, followed by Family Allowance Act 1944, Old Age Security 1951, 1954 Disabled Persons Act, 1956 Hospital Insurance, Old Age Security Act, 1965, 1966, Canada Assistance Plan (grants to provinces), 1967 Guaranteed Income Supplement, 1979 Child Tax Credit.

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