A basic income guarantee should be a human right, advocates say

By Roderick Benns

On International Human Rights Day, a Perth, Ontario man says he believes a basic income guarantee for all should be one of those human rights.  

Rob Rainer, a well-known basic income advocate, says he believes that basic income is a means “to help ensure that such internationally recognized social and economic rights as the right to food, housing and a standard of living adequate for the health of oneself and one’s family, are honoured and protected.”

A basic income guarantee is known by many names, including a guaranteed annual income, a minimum income and a negative income tax, among others. 

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Minimum wages do not offer security in a post-industrial age: Standing

Could a state-funded universal basic income eliminate poverty? One of its most outspoken proponents, Professor Guy Standing, certainly thinks so. As well as teaching economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, Standing is the co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network. His 2011 book The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class blames globalization for an emerging social class without job security. He speaks to Equal Times about why a basic income makes sense to him.

Why is there a need for a basic income in developed regions like Europe?

Basic income is essential in Europe because of the growth of the precariat. And the fact is our existing social protection system doesn’t reach the precariat. The system puts people in horrendous poverty traps. A poverty trap means that if you go from receiving a state benefit to a low-wage job available to the precariat, in many European countries and elsewhere, you face in effect a high marginal tax rate, if you factor in the loss of state benefits for taking a paid job. 

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Finland to pay every citizen $1,100 per month

Finland’s government is drawing up plans to pay every citizen a basic income of euros 800 ($1,165) each month, scrapping benefits altogether.

Under proposals drafted by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela), the tax-free payments would replace all other benefit payments, and would be paid to all adults regardless of whether or not they receive any other income.

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Why the Liberals should institute a basic income guarantee

From The National Post:

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave his ministers their marching orders shortly after taking office, he instructed Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos to make relieving poverty on a national scale a top priority. But did he mean for that to eventually take the form of a basic income guarantee?

A basic income guarantee is known by many names, including a guaranteed annual income, a minimum income and a negative income tax, among others. But the essence is that it ensures everyone an income that is sufficient to meet their basic needs, regardless of work status. It provides a direct cash transfer to the people who most need economic security. 

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P.E.I. has lowest average hourly wage for jobs listed April to June: Statistics Canada

According to CBC News, Prince Edward Island's "help wanted" listings for April to June 2015 "offered the lowest average hourly wages in the country, according to a recent Statistics Canada report."  

They also report that "the wages offered in 1,500 job listings on P.E.I. in the second quarter, and found the money averaged $13.70 an hour. That's almost $2 less than the average for jobs listed for the same time period in neighbouring New Brunswick." 

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Edmonton and Calgary minimum income pilots would be messy, but should be tried anyway

Guest blog by Carter Vance


One of the more curious, and encouraging, effects of the Alberta NDP's recent electoral victory has been the seemingly uncorked enthusiasm in the province for new-thinking legislative initiatives, from the hard limits on corporate and union donations to the open floating of a carbon tax as an emissions-reduction solution. It's a classic version of cut-the-knot politics, where roadblocks previously caused by a wound-together set of interests from a longstanding political dynasty and its intimate enmeshment with a variety of stakeholders and lobby groups are now much more easily overcome due to the presence of relative outsiders.

Though Rachel Notley and Co. have gone to great lengths to reassure businesses and moderate voters that they're no radicals, and indeed the rhetorical wet kiss Ms. Notley gave to the oil industry in a recent speech struck at least some progressives as a bridge too far in this direction, they are nonetheless showing a willingness to think outside the box. Whatever one thinks of these policies, and those yet to come, it can scarcely be denied that Alberta seems the place where fresh policy thinking is most likely to get an open ear from government decision makers.

No more so has this been clear than in the enthusiasm shown by finance minister Joe Ceci for the notion of a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) program. Calgary and Edmonton Mayors Naheed Nenshi and Don Iveson have offered their cities as test cases for implementation, each showing a wonkish spunk for the idea belying the conventional wisdom that such a program would never go over with voters. Ceci should reward this interest by appropriating the necessary funding for city-based pilots in the upcoming fall budget. The main barrier to widespread implementation of a GMI, or even the investigation of its potential viability, is a lack of available test cases, especially on a large scale. Anything that tests the viability of such a proposition is to be welcomed, whatever the results might be.

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Would a basic income 'corrupt' the poor?

By Tyler Prochazka

In the 90s, the United States implemented some of the most far-reaching changes to welfare in modern American history. Bill Clinton worked with Republicans to “end welfare as we know it” and eliminate welfare’s supposed corrupting influence on the poor. Except the “corrupting influence” of government assistance never existed.

A recent article by the New York Times pointed out that recent research contradicts the theory that a social safety net undermines positive behavior among the poor.

 

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