Universal basic income

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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Universal basic income

I can't seem to quote the article, but basically Switzerland is considering providing a universal basic income of about $2800 (in U.S. dollars) to every adult, rich and poor, just for being a citizen of the country. You could take a leave of absence to care for an injured spouse or elderly parents and still have some income, and so would they. Fast food workers and artists would be able to support their families. The article explains more about what a basic universal income is, why countries are thinking about it, especially now, and also why he thinks the U.S. probably will never do anything like it even though we probably should. Your thoughts? Would you support this in the U.S.?

Rather than savage cuts, Switzerland considers “Star Trek” economics - Salon.com

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

And so everyone is debating with the same information, I pulled some statistics:
The U.S. population for 2012 was 313.9 million people. About 78.5 million are children, and about 48 million are legal and illegal immigrants, which leaves about 187.4 million people who would be eligible for a basic universal income.

Federal poverty line for 2012 is roughly $11,500 for one person.

In 2012, $74.6 billion in food assistance was distributed by the federal government. Most, if not all, states kicked in more but I can't find a total.

In 2012, cash welfare distributions by the federal government totaled $790 billion. Again, most states kicked in more but I can't find a total.

With 187.4 million eligible people at $11,500 a year, the cost of universal basic income would be $2.15 trillion dollars. Eliminating food assistance and cash welfare at the federal level would save $864.6 billion, or about 40% of that total, and state savings could probably bring it closer to 50%.

I think it would be wonderful to bring every citizen of the U.S. above poverty level, to free up people to do a job they want to do rather than what they need to do to barely even survive. The socialist in me would be delighted. I think it's a far better way to spend our money than on prisons ($87.2 billion just at the federal level) and war ($626.8 billion).

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I think that is brilliant. It is probably way cheaper than other social services that are in place now. I wish all countries would do that.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Wow. Strongly against this. Imagine the researchers that would otherwise go on to cure cancer does not because there is no reason to go out and work. I do not even know where to go with this. There are so many reasons this would be a terrible idea I don't even know where to start.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

There are many reasons to go and work besides money. The love of what we do should be the first reason to work. But under the current system, the need to feed ourselves is more important. If we were able to work because we want to we might all be happier people!

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I can't believe that any of you actually think this would work. Where would the money come from? Sure it would be nice if everyone had lots of money, free healthcare, free food, and free everything. That is just not realistic though. If you take away everything from the rich and give it to the poor all you are left with is everyone poor. You might have people who would still work for the sake of working, but they would not make enough to support the entire rest of the country.

Fuchsia - You expressed frustration in another debate with someone getting a smartphone when they could not take care of the one they already had. That the way to teach someone to respect what they had was to earn it. Why does that concept not carry through with this for you? If you want people to be responsible with their money they need to earn it.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I do feel that people need to earn their money. But there are also times when they can't. Life happens and things go wrong. Right now Rob can't work. The cancer took his ability to work away from him. But because I make more than a welfare income we can't get disability allowance. So it is all on me to support out whole family. If there was a guaranteed income then I wouldn't have to worry about whether I can feed us. I feel that we need to support each other as a community and a society. We currently do this with welfare and the system sucks. I would rather everyone have an income and be able to eat regardless as to what life throws at us. Rob would happily work and contribute to society and our family financially but he can't. And the contributions he can make are not enough or financial. So we would be going hungry so the kids wouldn't, except that family, friends and food banks have come through hugely and very kindly. It is all good to say that people need to earn their keep, but sometimes that just can't happen. I am a socialist and an idealist though, so I am ok with taking care of each other.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"Spacers" wrote:

And so everyone is debating with the same information, I pulled some statistics:
The U.S. population for 2012 was 313.9 million people. About 78.5 million are children, and about 48 million are legal and illegal immigrants, which leaves about 187.4 million people who would be eligible for a basic universal income.

Federal poverty line for 2012 is roughly $11,500 for one person.

In 2012, $74.6 billion in food assistance was distributed by the federal government. Most, if not all, states kicked in more but I can't find a total.

In 2012, cash welfare distributions by the federal government totaled $790 billion. Again, most states kicked in more but I can't find a total.

With 187.4 million eligible people at $11,500 a year, the cost of universal basic income would be $2.15 trillion dollars. Eliminating food assistance and cash welfare at the federal level would save $864.6 billion, or about 40% of that total, and state savings could probably bring it closer to 50%.

I think it would be wonderful to bring every citizen of the U.S. above poverty level, to free up people to do a job they want to do rather than what they need to do to barely even survive. The socialist in me would be delighted. I think it's a far better way to spend our money than on prisons ($87.2 billion just at the federal level) and war ($626.8 billion).

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I can't believe that any of you actually think this would work. Where would the money come from? Sure it would be nice if everyone had lots of money, free healthcare, free food, and free everything. That is just not realistic though. If you take away everything from the rich and give it to the poor all you are left with is everyone poor. You might have people who would still work for the sake of working, but they would not make enough to support the entire rest of the country.

Fuchsia - You expressed frustration in another debate with someone getting a smartphone when they could not take care of the one they already had. That the way to teach someone to respect what they had was to earn it. Why does that concept not carry through with this for you? If you want people to be responsible with their money they need to earn it.

The money would come from eliminating things we currently fund but would no longer fund.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Wow. Strongly against this. Imagine the researchers that would otherwise go on to cure cancer does not because there is no reason to go out and work. I do not even know where to go with this. There are so many reasons this would be a terrible idea I don't even know where to start.

You are assuming that people who want to research cancer do so for the money.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

The money would come from eliminating things we currently fund but would no longer fund.

If we all had the money to support ourselves we wouldn't need to fund these things anymore.

If Rob had an income supplement right now we could contribute to the economy by purchasing the things we can't now. We could hire someone to help me clean instead of me doing it all (and being so tired from it that doing my job at work is hard). He could buy a scooter and be able to leave the house and spend money. But he can't. We can't. So we don't contribute to the economy besides basics. Instead we have other people taking care of us and the government will have to fund his scooter and the social services we need. We end up taking instead of contributing.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I do feel that people need to earn their money. But there are also times when they can't. Life happens and things go wrong. Right now Rob can't work. The cancer took his ability to work away from him. But because I make more than a welfare income we can't get disability allowance. So it is all on me to support out whole family. If there was a guaranteed income then I wouldn't have to worry about whether I can feed us. I feel that we need to support each other as a community and a society. We currently do this with welfare and the system sucks. I would rather everyone have an income and be able to eat regardless as to what life throws at us. Rob would happily work and contribute to society and our family financially but he can't. And the contributions he can make are not enough or financial. So we would be going hungry so the kids wouldn't, except that family, friends and food banks have come through hugely and very kindly. It is all good to say that people need to earn their keep, but sometimes that just can't happen. I am a socialist and an idealist though, so I am ok with taking care of each other.

It is terrible when situations like cancer happen. Disability is there to pay for situations like that. It is unfortunate when situations like that happen. That is not the same as paying able bodied people who just don't want to work just for breathing.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

So where will this income come from if everyone decides to stay home? Why wouldn't everyone stay home if they had the choice?

I think a few people need to watch this:

A lesson in Socialism - YouTube

One think to think about... the reason people can only buy FOOD with food stamps is to keep people from spending it all on things they shouldn't so the kids will get fed. So what happens when these people spend their money on drugs or alcohol and the kids are going hungry? Sorry we already gave you your money?

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

Why does the article call it "Star Trek economics"? There's nothing about that on Star Trek.

Anyway I don't get it at all. Why would we pay everybody for nothing when they are ready willing & able to work? I'm a socialist in many ways, I think we need to fix the welfare system but I think we need it. Disability, we need. But I'm also a capitalist and I think there's something great about working for a living. And how does it make sense to hand over money to rich people who don't need it?

Nothing about this idea makes sense to me.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I'm with Laurie, I don't really get it.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I get the Star Trek reference in that in that show people do not earn money. They work, but also everything is free. "They are too evolved to have crime or poverty" That said, Star Trek is make believe and not at all realistic.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I get the Star Trek reference in that in that show people do not earn money. They work, but also everything is free. "They are too evolved to have crime or poverty" That said, Star Trek is make believe and not at all realistic.

But that's the opposite. In this scenario, people would earn money for not doing anything. as opposed to not earning money for doing something noble. And things wouldn't be free. So that's why I don't get how it's a Star Trek scenario.

But whatever, I'm a nerd, so it rankles me. It's not really relevant!

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So where will this income come from if everyone decides to stay home? Why wouldn't everyone stay home if they had the choice?

I think a few people need to watch this:

A lesson in Socialism - YouTube

One think to think about... the reason people can only buy FOOD with food stamps is to keep people from spending it all on things they shouldn't so the kids will get fed. So what happens when these people spend their money on drugs or alcohol and the kids are going hungry? Sorry we already gave you your money?

I'm only going to address the bolded.
It's not human nature to do nothing It often comes up in debates regarding parents who stay at home with their children and those who work outside the home. Not everyone works for a paycheck.

Honestly, it is such a foriegn concept to me that if given the choice most people would choose not to work.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

I'm only going to address the bolded.
It's not human nature to do nothing It often comes up in debates regarding parents who stay at home with their children and those who work outside the home. Not everyone works for a paycheck.

Honestly, it is such a foriegn concept to me that if given the choice most people would choose not to work.

There are a great many that would not. In a scenario like this, the people who are honourable and do work would be forced to pay for the bums that do not want to do anything but watch TV all day.

It would be like if I told my girls to clean their room. Alyssa hurried up and cleaned her room and did a great job. Brianna who doesn't like to clean her room putters around and doesn't clean her room. When Alyssa is done cleaning her room I tell her that she now has to go clean Brianna's room too. It is punishing those that work hard and rewarding those that do not.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

It is terrible when situations like cancer happen. Disability is there to pay for situations like that. It is unfortunate when situations like that happen. That is not the same as paying able bodied people who just don't want to work just for breathing.

But Disability isn't there for us. We have been denied. Once because it could have been a preexisting condition and once because I make too much (the threshold for a couple is less than $2000 a month!). We will try for a pension. If that fails, that's it. No income. Period. The system sucks.

What if I had been able to take time off to care for him? I was useless when he was sick. I had so much on my plate it was crazy! I was told by my docs to take time off...and I couldn't. No income. There are many reasons to not work that are very valid. This is but one. There will always be people who take advantage and are lazy. We currently pay them to breath as they are prime candidates for the welfare system already.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I think there are different things going on here.

My dad is on disability and I am grateful he has it. He did have to get rid of every investment he had other than a place of residence before he could qualify. He gets less than that amount and money is pretty tight but he didn't have enough saved for retirement by the time he had to stop working due to his MS. If something happened to my husband we would have to rethink our lives because even with the amount of disability he would get from his work, we could not maintain our current life on my salary. I think people hit with some kind of disease should get something, maybe comparable to the Canadian mat leave benefits where you get a percentage of your previous salary for a year. By that point, you will either be through the disease and back to work or you have time to adjust your life permanently.

My step brother (self made wealthy) has essentially given that amount to each of his brothers, wives and as their children become adults for years. He bought their houses. He will pay for any education and living expenses. Instead of telling their kids "you can do anything. if you have a dream, your uncle will do anything he can (money/connections) to help you make it happen" the kids got told "you don't need to do anything because your uncle will take care of you" My step brother has bailed them out of bankruptcy by paying off all debts twice and there is currently a fight over a third time because he will only do it if they go to financial counseling. I fail to understand how they can have that much debt when they get so much money and their house is paid for.

I don't like able bodied/minded people receiving guarenteed money for doing nothing.

As an aside, I do work in cancer research Smile I really like it but I wouldn't go to work if they didn't pay me. If everyone was given that amount, I would have to make considerably more that that to keep going to work instead of staying home with the girls. Daycare already has trouble getting qualified people and they would pay somewhere around that. You might get more artists but why would you work at a fast food place?

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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

But Disability isn't there for us. We have been denied. Once because it could have been a preexisting condition and once because I make too much (the threshold for a couple is less than $2000 a month!). We will try for a pension. If that fails, that's it. No income. Period. The system sucks.

What if I had been able to take time off to care for him? I was useless when he was sick. I had so much on my plate it was crazy! I was told by my docs to take time off...and I couldn't. No income. There are many reasons to not work that are very valid. This is but one. There will always be people who take advantage and are lazy. We currently pay them to breath as they are prime candidates for the welfare system already.

That's why I think we need to fix the system. You SHOULD have been able to take time off, and I'm so sorry you were denied disability. I think it's for people in your situation and it's terrible that you didn't get it.

I just don't think the "solution" of giving a specific amount of money to everyone randomly actually solves any existing problem.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
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"fuchsiasky" wrote:

We will try for a pension. If that fails, that's it. No income. Period. The system sucks.

We are in the same position, I have now applied for CPP-Disability. If I am lucky I will get about $800/month which is about 30% of what I used to make Sad It is better then nothing but DH has to work a second job right now. It sucks. I hope your DH is approved.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

There may be big problems with disability, so fix disability. This is not the answer.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

There are a great many that would not. In a scenario like this, the people who are honourable and do work would be forced to pay for the bums that do not want to do anything but watch TV all day.

It would be like if I told my girls to clean their room. Alyssa hurried up and cleaned her room and did a great job. Brianna who doesn't like to clean her room putters around and doesn't clean her room. When Alyssa is done cleaning her room I tell her that she now has to go clean Brianna's room too. It is punishing those that work hard and rewarding those that do not.

Your example assumes that cleaning your room is a punishment - for both girls.

You could substitute a lot of things in place of cleaning your room and the task can go from being dreadful to being enjoyable.

.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Your example assumes that cleaning your room is a punishment - for both girls.

You could substitute a lot of things in place of cleaning your room and the task can go from being dreadful to being enjoyable.

.

I promise you that my girls would not volunteer to clean their room on a regular basis without being told to do so. I also do not think the majority of people would go into work every day if they did not half to. Sure, some people love their job and would just because they wanted to. But not the people scrubbing toilets or working in a hot kitchen.

Joined: 04/12/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I promise you that my girls would not volunteer to clean their room on a regular basis without being told to do so. I also do not think the majority of people would go into work every day if they did not half to. Sure, some people love their job and would just because they wanted to. But not the people scrubbing toilets or working in a hot kitchen.

You're placing your value judgments on others.

The majority of the people I know and encounter on a daily basis would work. They might find a different job that they enjoy more, but they would still work. What motivates people to volunteer their time? What motivates people who are multi-millionaires to keep working?

.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I know of many, many people that would stay home with their kids if they had the opportunity. People who would retire if they could and are just putting in time until they are old enough. The loss in job force would not make this situation possible. There are many undesirable low wage jobs out there. Who would fill those positions.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

When I volunteered and did tasks I didn't enjoy, it was tempered by the knowledge I was helping someone. I did not get that nice feeling when working as a chambermaid where people could make a room disgusting in one night.

My understanding is that you are guaranteed to make a certain amount. If you make more, you don't get the amount. If you make less, you are topped up. If you do nothing, you get the full amount. I'm going to be honest. My chambermaid job was minimum wage. If I knew I would earn the same amount sitting at home as cleaning up a stranger's pee covered bathroom, I would stay home. I would probably try to find something else but I could take my time and be choosey because I wouldn't need the money. I don't think other people would be seeking out the chambermaid job!

I think there would be a trickle down effect and in the end, things would cost more. If the grocery store can't get people to work for the current salary because it is too close to the base value people get if they stay home, they have to raise prices to pay higher salaries. Same at McDonalds and the gas stations and anywhere else. How long would $2800 stay a living salary?

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"mom2robbie" wrote:

We are in the same position, I have now applied for CPP-Disability. If I am lucky I will get about $800/month which is about 30% of what I used to make Sad It is better then nothing but DH has to work a second job right now. It sucks. I hope your DH is approved.

CPP Disability is our last hope. $800 a month would help so much right now, as little as it is. If we don't get that we are in a bit of financial trouble. At least there are food banks and such. And I can't get a second job or a better one right now as Rob can't take Kaiya to school and my job allows me great flexibility to do what we need. They have been so kind to us! When she is older I will have to find a job that pays more. And we won't be able to help DSD with a place to live while she is in college. She will have to move out after highschool so we can downsize. It has completely changed our lives and if Rob had an income it wouldn't have.

I didn't realize with my great support that it was money for all. I am completely behind a guaranteed income supplement, but I think if you are making that much or more that you shouldn't get the money. I would love to see a living wage for all so that if you drop below a certain amount (like the $2800 a month) then you get supplemented. I am sure many people would love to make more money than that! But the poverty that welfare inflicts isn't actually helpful. A guaranteed living amount that is enough to live off of would help IMO.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"Danifo" wrote:

When I volunteered and did tasks I didn't enjoy, it was tempered by the knowledge I was helping someone. I did not get that nice feeling when working as a chambermaid where people could make a room disgusting in one night.

My understanding is that you are guaranteed to make a certain amount. If you make more, you don't get the amount. If you make less, you are topped up. If you do nothing, you get the full amount. I'm going to be honest. My chambermaid job was minimum wage. If I knew I would earn the same amount sitting at home as cleaning up a stranger's pee covered bathroom, I would stay home. I would probably try to find something else but I could take my time and be choosey because I wouldn't need the money. I don't think other people would be seeking out the chambermaid job!

I think there would be a trickle down effect and in the end, things would cost more. If the grocery store can't get people to work for the current salary because it is too close to the base value people get if they stay home, they have to raise prices to pay higher salaries. Same at McDonalds and the gas stations and anywhere else. How long would $2800 stay a living salary?

The proposals that are floating around the world vary a lot. But the basic idea is, no matter what you do, if you?re a resident ? or in some cases, a citizen ? you get a certain amount of money each month. And it?s completely unconditional: If you?re rich you get it, if you?re poor you get. If you?re a good person you get it, if you?re a bad person you get it. And it does not depend on you doing anything other than making whatever effort is involved to collect the money. It?s been a topic of discussion for several decades. Why is it happening right now? I think it?s obvious that it?s a reaction to the high level of economic inequality that we?ve seen. Most European countries haven?t had big increases in inequality at the same scale that we [in the U.S.] have, [but] some of them have had much more than they?re used to.

My understanding is that everyone gets it regardless of how much they earn otherwise. If you earn nothing, you would get $2800/month. If you earn $30000/monthy you would still get it.

Joined: 04/12/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I know of many, many people that would stay home with their kids if they had the opportunity. People who would retire if they could and are just putting in time until they are old enough. The loss in job force would not make this situation possible. There are many undesirable low wage jobs out there. Who would fill those positions.

Why is it a bad thing that people would stay home and raise their children if they had the financial opportunity? How did we fill all the jobs when the norm was for women to stay at home with children and people to retire at 55? The age of retirement has definitely shifted to at least 60.

Why is the nation better off to spend X amount of dollars on welfare benefits than only 50% of X to eliminate welfare all together?

Truth is, the American public is not really ready for paradigm shifts regardless of their value. We'll spend dollars to save dimes if it means we don't have to change our ways.

Danifo's picture
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

My understanding is that everyone gets it regardless of how much they earn otherwise. If you earn nothing, you would get $2800/month. If you earn $30000/monthy you would still get it.

I think then lower wager earners would then see a decrease in their wages because they already get enough to get by without working. Plus, I can't imagine the uproar over the top 1% or prisoners receiving this supplement.

I really do like the idea of people not having to struggle or worry about food and shelter. I like the idea of the automatic payment because it would take out the huge cost of bureaucracy that can consume many assistance programs. I just have trouble picturing it working. Maybe it is just some of the people I know but I think they would take advantage of the system.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Why is it a bad thing that people would stay home and raise their children if they had the financial opportunity? How did we fill all the jobs when the norm was for women to stay at home with children and people to retire at 55? The age of retirement has definitely shifted to at least 60.

I obviously do not think it is a bad thing for one parent to stay home with their kids or for people to retire at age 55. I just do not think that this is the right way to go about it.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

You're placing your value judgments on others.

The majority of the people I know and encounter on a daily basis would work. They might find a different job that they enjoy more, but they would still work. What motivates people to volunteer their time? What motivates people who are multi-millionaires to keep working?

.

I do not think this is true of most people. And I don't see the value in supplementing the income of people who don't need it.

I am am getting severance now and many of my friends are jealous (not in a mean way) and would love to he getting paid without working. And I work in a pretty desirable field.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Why is it a bad thing that people would stay home and raise their children if they had the financial opportunity? How did we fill all the jobs when the norm was for women to stay at home with children and people to retire at 55? The age of retirement has definitely shifted to at least 60.

In Canada it is 65 although some people retire earlier. There is talk of it increasing retirement age to 70. My dad actually went back to work after retiring as he was bored with staying home. Personally I do better when working, I need the routine in my life. I am medically unable to go back to work for at least 2 years and maybe never full-time again Sad

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

CPP Disability is our last hope. $800 a month would help so much right now, as little as it is. If we don't get that we are in a bit of financial trouble. At least there are food banks and such. And I can't get a second job or a better one right now as Rob can't take Kaiya to school and my job allows me great flexibility to do what we need. They have been so kind to us! When she is older I will have to find a job that pays more. And we won't be able to help DSD with a place to live while she is in college. She will have to move out after highschool so we can downsize. It has completely changed our lives and if Rob had an income it wouldn't have.

I didn't realize with my great support that it was money for all. I am completely behind a guaranteed income supplement, but I think if you are making that much or more that you shouldn't get the money. I would love to see a living wage for all so that if you drop below a certain amount (like the $2800 a month) then you get supplemented. I am sure many people would love to make more money than that! But the poverty that welfare inflicts isn't actually helpful. A guaranteed living amount that is enough to live off of would help IMO.

I didn't mean to complain as I know $800/month is a lot, just we are used to having more money and are changing our spending but still have credit issues. We are trying to do a debt consolidation otherwise we have to declare bankruptcy. We do not spend lavishly but had to use our credit to buy things like groceries, pay our mortgage. I only qualify for CPP as any income support my DH makes too much (ie over $20,000 for a family of 3). We are getting some assistance now from our church which is very helpful. I really hope your DH qualifies. I just got another letter and they are requesting more information from my specialist.

And I agree that a guaranteed living amount would be helpful. Then again, we are both Canadian and used to socialism and do not think it is evil.

BTW, does BC have a low income working benefit that you would be eligible. We won't qualify until after next tax season but in Alberta we have a working benefit for low income. You get it around the same day as child tax benefit and you get more at back to school time.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

How did we fill all the jobs when the norm was for women to stay at home with children and people to retire at 55?

This was never the norm. It is not economically feasible. There were a few years of adjustment after WW2 when millions of workers were lying in shallow graves across Europe and Asia when some governments thought this would be the ideal and wrote tax codes to support this ideal. But it never panned out. How could it? In every society around the world almost everyone has contributed to the economy in some manner. Now we take kids and the elderly out of the equation, so we need to fill those spots as well. Countries which remove one gender en masse from the economy are places like Afghanistan. Functioning economy? Of course not. Not everyone can be a Victorian baroness, and only a few people ever were! Of course there are people who can truly afford to have a family setup where one person is taken out of the economy, but those families are few and far between in every country.

The entire point of socialism is "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." Socialism is about working, finding ways for everyone to work. Working, playing our roles in our community, these are beautiful, meaningful acts. There are so many people who do not understand the value of this, however. There are people who wouldn't even volunteer their time if they were unemployed and not caring for others in their home. They would sit at home and watch tv. Part of that is the culture, of course. Work isn't as valued in many cultures as it should be. People actually look down on janitors and McDonald's workers. Who are working and putting into the economy and for unbelievably crap pay. Like Ethanwinfield says, there needs to be a huge paradigm shift.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I actually like this idea of pay for all. It would make a HUGE difference in our lives if I brought in a small paycheck every month. But OK, people think that there would be a lack of workers, so why not tie it to being part of the workforce, with some exemptions. If you have a job you are guaranteed a living wage, if you have kids you can take time out of the 'workforce' and be a professional parent, if you are injured you have a guaranteed income. There would still be some bureaucracy too it, but if it is tied to your taxes and everyone gets the same pay no matter what their spouse makes, etc, it would remove a lot of it.

Here if you live in a northern town you get a northern allowance, which is a guaranteed amount every month to account for a higher cost of living. I am not sure if you get it if you are unemployed though. We are a 'B' list town, so we just get a break on our taxes for living northern.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"mom2robbie" wrote:

I didn't mean to complain as I know $800/month is a lot, just we are used to having more money and are changing our spending but still have credit issues. We are trying to do a debt consolidation otherwise we have to declare bankruptcy. We do not spend lavishly but had to use our credit to buy things like groceries, pay our mortgage. I only qualify for CPP as any income support my DH makes too much (ie over $20,000 for a family of 3). We are getting some assistance now from our church which is very helpful. I really hope your DH qualifies. I just got another letter and they are requesting more information from my specialist.

And I agree that a guaranteed living amount would be helpful. Then again, we are both Canadian and used to socialism and do not think it is evil.

BTW, does BC have a low income working benefit that you would be eligible. We won't qualify until after next tax season but in Alberta we have a working benefit for low income. You get it around the same day as child tax benefit and you get more at back to school time.

I didn't think you were complaining! Not at all. It isn't much and he used to make more. It sucks to be in this position. We may be eligible for more tax benefits though. I am really hoping so. There is a big one that we will get because of his income level and that may get us rent supplements and things like that. We shall see. Good luck dealing with CPP. I hope you get approved!

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I can't find the question where someone asked, who would work fast food jobs? I loved working in restaurants, I did it for the better part of 20 years. But the fact was that there was no way I could support a family on that income, and I was reaching a point in my life where family was important, so I got a degree in something I like doing so that I could get a job that I don't mind doing, that can support the family I wanted to have. I'd have been quite happy working in restaurants if I had some extra income to supplement it. Also, my husband is an unknown artist which means he basically makes no money if he's not working a job he hates. When he lost his latest-hate-it-office job when I was pregnant with Tiven, we decided he would be a stay-at-home dad for a while. It's now been ten years, and while we're lucky to be able to scrape by on my income, it would be great if he could get paid something for being an awesome dad.

I work for the state and we lose good people every single month to industry jobs that pay more. It's becoming a brain drain. Because the state can't match the salary levels, people who *want* to work for the good of the people are *not* doing it because it's not good for their personal bottom line. I've made the decision to stay here because there's no way I would find the flexibility I have here, in an industry job. I don't want to work 60 hours a week, I want to leave early for soccer practice a few weeks in the fall & spring, and I want to telecommute at least one day a week. I couldn't do that in a lot of other jobs so the trade-off is acceptable to me at this point. Again, it would be nice if there was a bit of a cushion for those of us who are choosing to do lower-paying work for the good of the people.

Would those of you opposed to it be OK with the concept of universal basic income if it phased out at the higher incomes?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I would not, but I am also not a socialist. I did not realise so many on this board were. (That that it is bad, I just didn't realise)

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I would not, but I am also not a socialist. I did not realise so many on this board were. (That that it is bad, I just didn't realise)

Yeah, there's a few of us. All the Canadian girls (I assume) because that's the way our country is, and quite a few of US girls have socialist ideals. Canada rocks. That's all. Smile

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

Yeah, there's a few of us. All the Canadian girls (I assume) because that's the way our country is, and quite a few of US girls have socialist ideals. Canada rocks. That's all. Smile

It is such a different perspective than most people I know. This board is such a learning experience Smile