by Robin Boadway, Katherine Cuff and Kourtney Koebel
The idea of a basic income – or a guaranteed minimum income for all adult Canadians regardless of employment status -- has evolved from a niche interest among policy geeks to a topic of mainstream political discourse.
Once advocated as a means of restructuring income supports and relieving income security more generally, a recent wave of public interest is being sparked by people like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, who see it as the basis of a new social contract in the event that artificial intelligence and automation lead to mass unemployment.
Many people see the merits of a basic income, yet some, believing a basic income is too expensive, remain skeptical. In the case of a universal, unconditional income that gives every Canadian $20,000, they should be.Read more
By Robin Boadway
The pursuit of a basic income guarantee (BIG) is gathering momentum, but much of the emphasis has been on setting up pilot projects.
This is fair enough given that implementation of a full-fledged BIG is a major undertaking. But, approaching BIG using pilot projects alone would be unfortunate. Pilots take time, and by focusing on the response of project participants they are unlikely to give a comprehensive account of BIG, which of necessity would involve significant reform of existing tax-transfer systems. A two-track approach could move incrementally in the direction of BIG. It would involve exploiting refundable tax credits in new and innovative directions.Read more