Sunday , 2 October 2022

Universal Basic Income: Common Myths Debunked

One of the proposed solutions to the unprecedented economic crisis that has gripped most of the globe in the last 2 years is a universal guaranteed basic income program – a “minimum living stipend” in which a person need not necessarily be unemployed to receive the benefit. There are those that say that such a program would be an unfair, complicated, and costly way to eliminate poverty but we challenge those assertions. Words: 615

This version of the original article by Jiaying Zhao & Lorne Whitehead (theconversation.com) has been edited [ ] and abridged (…) to provide you with a faster and easier read. Also note that this complete paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

recent poll suggests nearly 60% of Canadians support a universal basic income (UBI) of $30,000. In another poll, 57% of Canadians agree that Canada should create a basic universal income for all Canadians, regardless of employment.

Despite the majority of Canadians supporting a UBI, however,

  • 54% believe it is too expensive regardless of how it is financed and
  • 55% believe it would create a disincentive for people to work.
    • 61% of those earning >$100K agree
    • 54% of those earning $50-99K agree
    • 46% of those earning <$50K agree

Despite the strong public support, however, there are those that argued that, “A basic income would be an unfair, complicated, and costly way to eliminate poverty” but we challenge those assertions. We argue that UBI can be fair, simple and affordable, as follows:

Basic income can be fair

  • Research from Stanford University suggests that a basic income program can inspire meaningful social integration — greater participation in social and civic activities in the community — while also providing individuals with stability, safety and security.
  • An analysis of Ontario’s basic income trial illustrated that people with diverse needs reported better personal relationships with friends and family with basic income. In turn, their sense of social inclusion and citizenship improved.

Basic income can be simple

  • With careful planning, a basic income system could be designed to be simple, adaptable, reliable and fair. In other words, it could be a type of synergistic solution that involves an optimal mix of different policy programs that yield greater efficacy. For example, a basic income program could be combined with a wage subsidy program.
  • Research has found that basic income has no negative impacts on the labour market. That is, basic income has no negative impact on employment rates or wages.
  • With a basic income program, recipients would be motivated to participate in the labour market and feel empowered to discover the most fulfilling way to work without fearing for their financial security.

Basic income can be affordable

  • Recent cost-benefit analyses have demonstrated that carefully designed cash-based interventions can be cost effective and generate net savings for society. Recipients rely less on social services over time, meaning governments pay less to fund these programs.
  • A well-designed basic income program can provide non-monetary benefits that are typically not captured in cost-benefit analyses, such as improvements in health, education, social cohesion and productivity.
  • Canada can adopt a basic income program without increasing its fiscal debt.

Research supports basic income

There is a considerable amount of research that supports basic income around the world. It is prudent to carry out significantly enhanced research to reduce hesitations on basic income on social and economic grounds. Basic income can be a reliable, powerful component of a nationwide program to reduce poverty and enable all citizens to thrive.

Conclusion

A nationwide guaranteed basic income is essential, because poverty is an unnecessary, cruel abomination because poverty can be affordably reduced as we have argued above. Hopefully, one day future Canadians will look back to 2022 and ask how a just society could ever have tolerated such needless suffering.

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