Universal Basic Income: how a universal basic income helps

Universal Basic Income: how a universal basic income helps

Universal Basic Income: how a universal basic income helps

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A universal basic income is also known as a “guaranteed income” or “unconditional income” or “minimum guaranteed income” or a “basic income guarantee” or “social wage credits” or “negative income tax”. We look in this brief post at what it is, whom it is for and how helpful it could be to recipients and the economy.

What is a Universal Basic Income?

A universal basic income (UBI) is also known as a “guaranteed income” or “unconditional income”. Sometimes it is called a “minimum guaranteed income” or a “basic income guarantee” and so on. It is a minimum fortnightly or monthly guaranteed income payment that can be one or two thousand dollars at the minimum.

The idea of a basic income has been around since early last century. Google “The State Bonus scheme” by Dennis Milner as an example. It was never really taken seriously. However, people with much more common sense and intelligence started waking up in the late 1990s. They figured out that as globalisation continues to reduce jobs and make the employment market more unreliable some form of base living wage would be required for all. I disagree with the need to fund rich people but the theory of a UBI is that everyone gets it.

The theory of a modern UBI is that it is paid to all without any prejudice or any conditions or deductions like tax. So it would be paid to the common street criminal through to the “upper class” descendants of the Landed Gentry in South Australia’s case just the same. It would not be means-tested or taxed so that they give to you with one hand and rob you blind with the other. The latter is what current forms of smoke and mirrors welfare is like. It attracts discredited “no net tax” theory criticism these days. A UBI needs to be seen as a dividend rather than welfare. More about that below.

Whom is it for?

The theory is that a UBI is for all. However, current trials and upcoming ones will offer a UBI to several thousand citizens in some countries. Some countries have held and may soon hold a referendum on whether or not all citizens in a country should receive a UBI.

How does a UBI help?

A universal basic income (UBI) for the poorest, including casual and part-time workers, benefits job creation, wage growth and economic growth. It is not about making people more dependent if they already work a little bit.

The economy continues to shed jobs and more part-time jobs have been created in 2016 than full-time jobs. Having a UBI in addition to part-time work is about giving people an opportunity to pay bills and save a little bit of money to start a small business for example if they choose to do so. Once that business takes off then I believe that a UBI payment should switch to the next person in need. However, the theory behind a UBI has it that it should continue indefinitely regardless of whether or not a recipient has a job.

The narrative

I will update and expand on this topic here soon but for now the above is a basic introduction. Let us look at the narrative shift that is needed. Automation is one driver of the topic in the media in the last year or so. However, it is doubtful that Australians will see a UBI until a long term crisis for jobs changes the toxic, callous nature of the narrative. This comes from government, media and ignorant hypocrites. We can at least look at how a UBI goes in other countries for now and use a positive outcome to counter the current narrative from those groups of critics.

Burden or asset?

The disadvantaged have long been seen as a “budren” on the tax payer. This is despite plenty of them, like pensioners, having slaved away for years to make someone else rich and paid taxes for the government to waste. This “burden” narrative from parasites in government and the media needs to change before a UBI could ever be introduced. All citizens that are willing and able to work in some capacity should be seen as constructive citizens of the world. It should still be seen as such even when they are unemployed. The unemployed are still an asset for the future. A UBI can help the disadvantaged to “break the poverty cycle” if they are still of working age. It can even help pensioners who would be better able to afford to spend money in their local economy (which creates jobs).

Ignorant hypocrites

You would think that wealthy business owners would want more customers? However, some of these are the very same ignorant dimwits who criticise the unemployed and underemployed. Imagine how that would change if a UBI was paid to all? It is the same with other ignorant and callous people who talk about “my taxes are paying these bludgers”. It is as if previous taxes paid by “bludgers” were never used in any way to fund anything for the ignorant hypocrites that criticise. The same applies to business owners who criticise the unemployed while they rort the tax payer in some way as they all do. Everyone accesses government services that are paid for by all one way or another. If you cut the ignorant off from those services then watch what happens. You would see that they are among the first to cry and be laughed at by the rest of us.

Their selfish attitude of being unwilling to see the disadvantged get a leg up needs to change. We waste billions on Jobactive that can do nothing in the current jobs crisis. Some of that money is siphoned out of Australia by parent companies. So why would the ignorant not criticise that waste? They are happy to criticise their taxes keeping the unemployed alive (barely) until they find work. But they remain silent on other examples of waste of our money. Strange people indeed. The “dole” is below the poverty line. There is nothing generous about it like the media would have the ignorant believe. A universal basic income, in theory, pays even more than the dole. It should at the very least be seen as a “dividend” for previously paid taxes from slavery for a pittance in the workforce.

Further reading

APH.gov.au, Basic income: a radical idea enters the mainstream by Don Arthur on 18 November, 2016.


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