Who knows best? The case for basic income

Judy Paul

The Lindsay Advocate

Fresh from the North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) conference held in Hamilton at the end of May, I have been thinking about the stories I heard from people who benefited from a basic income.

What jumped out was how the money made a difference, and the stories confirmed for me that people know what is best for themselves and their families.

At a plenary session, we listened to two women involved with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. Jodi, a sole support mother of three told us that one of her children has autism and “brittle bones” syndrome. Hospital visits are frequent and the cost of hospital parking caused considerable hardship in this low-income family.

What is the first thing this mother did when she received the basic income?  She bought a bunch of parking passes so that when another hospital visit comes up suddenly, she can focus on her daughter instead of worrying out how to get her car out of the parking lot. With obvious delight, Alana described how her cupboards and fridge were now full of food.  She began eating vegetables that she had never seen before, often asking others how to cook the unfamiliar foods. Encouraged by this abundance and the fact that her mental health has stabilized since receiving the basic income, she is thinking about going to college to study social services.

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