The old line on the guaranteed annual income, or as it’s called nowadays the basic income guarantee, was that it had support across the political spectrum. Conservatives, it was said, liked it for its emphasis on reducing the traditional welfare system’s punitively high clawback rates on benefits, while liberals were attracted by its promise of a social safety net that was simpler to navigate and intruded less on people’s lives.
These days, it seems like the basic income enjoys something closer to bipartisan hostility. Not a day goes by without another piece attacking the idea as either a utopian fantasy or a Dickensian nightmare.Read more
By Robin Boadway, Alan Gummo, and Roderick Benns
Andrew Coyne gets many things right about a basic income guarantee, writing this analysis for the National Post recently.
He gets that a basic income would not replace social insurance programs like Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan. He also gets, albeit with undue pessimism, that the provinces need to be involved. He acknowledges that the level of the guaranteed annual income program proposed by the Macdonald Royal Commission was inadequate, and he implicitly accepts that a basic income of reasonable scope could be afforded by combining the appropriate basic benefit amount with a suitable rate of claw-back as incomes rise. He even observes that a basic income need not deter work incentives; on the contrary, it will be enhanced compared with existing welfare schemes.Read more