$20,000 per person: Activists push for guaranteed minimum income for Canadians


SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#1
$20,000 per person: Activists push for guaranteed minimum income for Canadians

By Benjamin Shingler, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press – 11 hours ago




MONTREAL - A group of academics and activists is trying to drum up interest in an ambitious plan to provide every Canadian with a guaranteed minimum level of income — whether or not they have a job.
Rob Rainer, a campaign director for the Basic Income Canada Network, envisions a country where everyone is assured a minimum of $20,000 annually to make ends meet.
"For many of us, we think the goal is no one should be living in poverty," Rainer said at a conference on the issue over the weekend at McGill University.
"That's essentially what we're striving to achieve."
More than 100 speakers and participants were on hand for the conference, which focused on the merits of a guaranteed minimum income that would either replace or exist alongside existing social programs.
The idea is hardly new — the Canadian and Manitoba government conducted an experiment with the issue in the 1970s — but it has enjoyed a resurgence lately.
Switzerland is expected to hold a non-binding referendum this fall on whether to guarantee every citizen an annual income of Cdn $35,900.
And in the United Sates, the idea has supporters on both sides of the political spectrum.
Proponents on the left argue it represents an opportunity for greater redistribution of wealth, while those on the right see it as a chance to cut back on bureaucracy and return control to people's lives.
The two sides disagree, however, on whether there would be accompanying tax hikes and whether other social programs would remain place.
Almaz Zelleke, a professor at New York University, said guaranteed income has rarely had this much attention in the United States since President Richard Nixon tried to introduce such a program for families in the 1960s. That effort was ultimately thwarted by Congress.
At the conference, Zelleke gave a presentation laying out how a guaranteed income could be offset by taxes and work from a practical, fiscal standpoint. But even she admitted it would be a challenge to get such a plan on the agenda in Washington, D.C.
"To be very honest, it's not on the agenda of any mainstream political party in the United States," she said in an interview, but added a recent surge in media attention has, helpfully, "generated discussion among people who understand that there are problems with the welfare state."
In Canada, the town of Dauphin, Man., was famously the subject of a government pilot project where residents were provided with a guaranteed minimum income from 1974-1978.
The goal of the program, which cost $17 million, was to find out whether providing extra money directly to residents below a certain household income level would make for effective social policy.
The community's overall health improved and hospital rates declined during the period, according to a 2010 study by Evelyn Forget, a professor at the University of Manitoba.
Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal, who officially resigned from his post this month, argued for years in favour of the idea, saying it would provide more effective services at a reduced cost.
Quebec's new minister of employment and social solidarity was also once a prominent advocate.
Francois Blais, a former political science professor, published a book in 2002 called "Ending Poverty: A Basic Income for All Canadians," though Philippe Couillard's Liberal government has made no commitments on the issue.
At the federal level, Rainer conceded it's far from the agenda of the current Conservative government, but said there's a "little bit of traction" among opposition parties.
Liberal Party delegates passed two resolutions related to guaranteed minimum income at a meeting in Montreal this year — a move Rainer called "pretty significant."
The Green Party also endorses the notion in its party platform.
"The idea is not new, it's not really radical," Rainer said, pointing out that seniors and families with children receive a form of guaranteed income from the government.
"Where it does become more radical is when you get into the area of the working age population, and the idea that people should receive some income whether they are in the labour market or not. That's a fairly radical idea in our culture, because most of us were brought up to believe that in order to survive you have to work."


http://ca.news.yahoo.com/20-000-per-...173717556.html


Interesting article, novel idea. Now personally I do think everyone should strive to work in some capacity for the betterment of the nation as a whole which, aside from the necessity of basic survival, is the reason why we all work now. It benefits not only us individually but to a larger extent it benefits us all. So I think working, having some kind of job in society, should be a basic component of a program like this but, let's face reality, there is now and probably always will be a certain percentage of the population that simply doesn't. And we're already carrying them now....but there is also a percentage of the population that finds it extremely difficult to gain enough traction to really move enough ahead, to get above and beyond, even a little. I've known people like this, they work damn hard.



I'm genuinely curious to see what people's thoughts are on this, particularly the forum members capable of stringing together more words than are required in order to post a sarcastic quip. I'm hoping to hear from some of them.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+1
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Interesting article, novel idea. Now personally I do think everyone should strive to work in some capacity for the betterment of the nation as a whole which, aside from the necessity of basic survival, is the reason why we all work now. It benefits not only us individually but to a larger extent it benefits us all. So I think working, having some kind of job in society, should be a basic component of a program like this but, let's face reality, there is now and probably always will be a certain percentage of the population that simply doesn't. And we're already carrying them now....but there is also a percentage of the population that finds it extremely difficult to gain enough traction to really move enough ahead, to get above and beyond, even a little. I've known people like this, they work damn hard.



I'm genuinely curious to see what people's thoughts are on this, particularly the forum members capable of stringing together more words than are required in order to post a sarcastic quip. I'm hoping to hear from some of them.

I've heard of the idea in past, but don't see that the economics would work... For every person that would qualify for this program, you will need to tax someone (or group) an extra $20 each year and much like you said, having no strings attached for some form of work or contribution, I see it as too expensive for where we (or any) nation is at
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

I've heard of the idea in past, but don't see that the economics would work... For every person that would qualify for this program, you will need to tax someone (or group) an extra $20 each year and much like you said, having no strings attached for some form of work or contribution, I see it as too expensive for where we (or any) nation is at

Well it's all hypothetical at this point anyway, so attach some strings. With very few exceptions, I'd make some form of work or contribution mandatory. I'd also completely replace all current forms of social assistance with this.

I get curious about new approaches, even though technically this is not a 'new' idea per se, because I look around at us arguing over doing things the same way, back and forth, over and over, and I just wonder if maybe, sometimes just for the hell of it, should we try something different?
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+3
#4  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Well it's all hypothetical at this point anyway, so attach some strings. With very few exceptions, I'd make some form of work or contribution mandatory. I'd also completely replace all current forms of social assistance with this.

I get curious about new approaches, even though technically this is not a 'new' idea per se, because I look around at us arguing over doing things the same way, back and forth, over and over, and I just wonder if maybe, sometimes just for the hell of it, should we try something different?

I appreciate the logic you use and really don't disagree... That said, we are also getting into a new phase of what the demographics look like in society.... The boomers are retiring and that population will be increasing annually over the next few years. Obviously, not every retiree or senior would be on this program, however, you know that it wouldn't take very much to play with the asset-base in order for individuals to qualify pretty easily.

The second big problem I see is that using a single baseline number like $20k doesn't come close to recognizing the differences in cost of living in different cities. I notice that the article mentions Dauphin Mb as an historical test site... How far would $20k take you in downtown Toronto or Vancouver?

The program would clearly have to be indexed to make it work properly and offer some form of equitable representation in all of these areas
 
mentalfloss
+2
#5
Noble cause, but too many uncertainties to be able to sustain such a proposition.
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
+1
#6
So if you have five kids and don't work you get $140G a year. All from the taxpayer of course. Excellent plan.
 
DaSleeper
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Well it's all hypothetical at this point anyway, so attach some strings. With very few exceptions, I'd make some form of work or contribution mandatory. I'd also completely replace all current forms of social assistance with this.

I get curious about new approaches, even though technically this is not a 'new' idea per se, because I look around at us arguing over doing things the same way, back and forth, over and over, and I just wonder if maybe, sometimes just for the hell of it, should we try something different?

How is "Workfare" brought in by Harris in the late '90s or "Ontario Works" as it is called now, working out now?
I recall back then an out of work carpenter collecting it.....his work at a local club house impressed a construction company owner who then gave him a job....now the guy works for himself and employs two helpers.....
 
BaalsTears
+1
#8
If Canada adopts the proposal the Mexicans will find out and stream north.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
+1
#9
Just take a mlllion and stick it in an account where I can grab interest only. When I'm no longer able to collect my monthly interest (ie: deceased) your million is freed back to the treasury again
 
Machjo
#10
Introduce some kind of Peace Corps. If you can't find work, the Corps would always be hiring no matter your qualifications. Plus, it could even offer some kind of educaiton in wexchange for work and low pay. Bingo, guaranteed income for all.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
+1
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

Introduce some kind of Peace Corps. If you can't find work, the Corps would always be hiring no matter your qualifications. Plus, it could even offer some kind of educaiton in wexchange for work and low pay. Bingo, guaranteed income for all.

That works all fine and dandy if your potential Peace Corps candidate isn't disabled
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
+2
#12
I fully support the idea as long as the able bodied are put to work for 600-800 hours a year to earn it. There is no way able bodied people should be on the public *** for doing nothing. Who knows? maybe they will find they like working and go out and get a real job.


Sheesh, I can't believe that t it is an obscenity!
 
mentalfloss
#13
Kinda shocked as the resident quasi-socialist that I'm not really buying this proposal though some hardcore cons are on board.
 
B00Mer
Republican
#14
Corporations need to follow Nestle's lead.. a living wage for all.

Nestle introduces 'living wage', first among big companies in UK
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+2
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

How is "Workfare" brought in by Harris in the late '90s or "Ontario Works" as it is called now, working out now?
I recall back then an out of work carpenter collecting it.....his work at a local club house impressed a construction company owner who then gave him a job....now the guy works for himself and employs two helpers.....

The focus is still on employment as I understand it but there are so many different programs and levels, some that meet truly necessary needs, some that do not, that it's once again become a quasi-bureaucratic mess as far as I'm concerned. My sister-in-law works for OW, I've heard some stories, not just of participant abuses (although there are those) but also of really ridiculous hoops that people with a genuine need for help (some only very short termed) need to jump through and even then they don't 'qualify'. I just have to shake my head at a lot of it.

Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Kinda shocked as the resident quasi-socialist that I'm not really buying this proposal though some hardcore cons are on board.

It's not a socialist concept when you really think about it. It's more about determining what bottom line level of income do people need in order to contribute to society? Pay rent without a subsidy, groceries without food stamps, purchase other goods and services, etc that all help to keep the economy moving forward. The better the economy does, the better things are able to pay for themselves. Maybe even lightening the burden on taxpayers? (Now remember I'm taking about the idea as a concept, not the feasibility which is about the details of a plan.)
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Kinda shocked as the resident quasi-socialist that I'm not really buying this proposal though some hardcore cons are on board.

I don't see anybody 'on board'. I see a lot of quiet scepticism. Personally, I think the proposal could work if done right but what government would do that?
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

I don't see anybody 'on board'. I see a lot of quiet scepticism. Personally, I think the proposal could work if done right but what government would do that?


Oh, yeah, the Gov't. would have to "farm" the whole operation out- if done correctly everyone would benefit, people on average would be healthier, crime would be reduced and the environment could be improved and a few more jobs would be available to manage these people. It's just win/win!
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+2
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

I don't see anybody 'on board'. I see a lot of quiet scepticism. Personally, I think the proposal could work if done right but what government would do that?

I see the support being predicated on removing a lot of the overlapping programs... Really, it says more about streamlining government than it does about providing benefits to individuals.

That said, like somebody mentioned earlier, this can't open the door to abuse in the form of a family of 4 expecting to receive $80k in total... Further, there has to be some kind of mechanism that provides that the recipient must take any employment that comes along and in the event they are below the prescribed income level, the gvt will top-up to whatever is deemed the minimum
 
Machjo
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

That works all fine and dandy if your potential Peace Corps candidate isn't disabled

Sorry, I thought that would have been understood. I don't think many people are advocating for compulsory employment for the deaf-blind if you know what I mean.

However, for the poor high school graduate who graduates in the midst of a recession and for whatever reason does not feel comfortable borrowing money for university, then a Peace Corps could be beneficial for him. There could be both a Provincial Peace Corps and a Federal one. If he wants to be a teacher, he joins the provincial peace corps, gets free uni at minimum wage while also having to clean schools on weekends and maybe later work as a teacher's assistant in summer courses or as a weekend or holiday tutor, etc. again at minimum wage. Then he serves as a teacher, again at low wage, for a number of years after graduation as per the contract. That way he avoids debt while still paying back through service.

I'm not saying the Peace Corps proposal would be a one-size-fits-all one, but it could be an option for some.

Also, while I'm not opposed in principle to a guaranteed wage, I do have concerns in practice. If too high, it could be a disincentive to work. Also, what if a person is a drug, gambling, or sex addict. Do we really want to feed the addiction? I'm not saying don't help the poor, but there is a difference between helping them and throwing money at them.

Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

I don't see anybody 'on board'. I see a lot of quiet scepticism. Personally, I think the proposal could work if done right but what government would do that?

It could be a good idea if well thought out. And maybe it is. But I'd have to know the details before jumping on board so to speak.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#20
[QUOTE=Machjo;1939421]
Also, while I'm not opposed in principle to a guaranteed wage, I do have concerns in practice. If too high, it could be a disincentive to work. Also, what if a person is a drug, gambling, or sex addict. Do we really want to feed the addiction? I'm not saying don't help the poor, but there is a difference between helping them and throwing money at them.



QUOTE]


I don't think $20 thousand a year is in any danger of being too high. As far as the various addicts are concerned, we're "feeding" them anyway, it just gives them another alternative to breaking into cars. A small percentage of people will choose the legal alternative over the illegal alternative. (Of course the politicians won't)
 
Walter
+1
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

I've heard of the idea in past, but don't see that the economics would work... For every person that would qualify for this program, you will need to tax someone (or group) an extra $20 each year and much like you said, having no strings attached for some form of work or contribution, I see it as too expensive for where we (or any) nation is at

Your facts are getting in the way of Utopia.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+2
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

I see the support being predicated on removing a lot of the overlapping programs... Really, it says more about streamlining government than it does about providing benefits to individuals.

I think it also speaks to the fact that we're really not all that far apart on ideals and goals, and both sides of the political spectrum realize that for benefits to be had there needs to be costs. Hammering out the details is always the trickier part but now I'm wondering if it's because we always seem to go after the details first that we have such a hard time agreeing.

Quote:

That said, like somebody mentioned earlier, this can't open the door to abuse in the form of a family of 4 expecting to receive $80k in total... Further, there has to be some kind of mechanism that provides that the recipient must take any employment that comes along and in the event they are below the prescribed income level, the gvt will top-up to whatever is deemed the minimum

I would much rather see someone working, even a minimum wage job, and getting some kind of top-up allowance than be fully on social assistance. Right now we have nothing remotely like this (that I'm aware of). If someone has a job then they have more of a future, and more hope for that future.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

I would much rather see someone working, even a minimum wage job, and getting some kind of top-up allowance than be fully on social assistance. Right now we have nothing remotely like this (that I'm aware of). If someone has a job then they have more of a future, and more hope for that future.


Very smart thinking. The way things are working right now some of these people are stealing $200,000 to gain $20,000. They are certainly not going to quit en masse but perhaps 5% of them will and perhaps they'll convince another 5% and so on.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+2
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

I would much rather see someone working, even a minimum wage job, and getting some kind of top-up allowance than be fully on social assistance. Right now we have nothing remotely like this (that I'm aware of). If someone has a job then they have more of a future, and more hope for that future.

Definitely... Basically, what is being described is a hand-up rather than a hand-out
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Definitely... Basically, what is being described is a hand-up rather than a hand-out


And if they could pick up some garbage and pull some weeds that would be a plus!
 
Corduroy
+2
#26
It would work on a similar principle to the conservative idea that cutting taxes creates jobs, except with the added benefit of not being total horse****. A corporation can expand its operations all over the world. It doesn't help them one bit if there are no customers. Pay people minimum wage and take away the benefits that alleviate their financial burden and you don't have many customers for your tax-free corporate enterprise. Take money from the rich that don't need it or spend it, however, and put it into social programs, and you actually free up money in the economy (think stimulus package). Poor people spend their money and that spending increases the need to hire more people to provide services.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+1
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by CorduroyView Post

It would work on a similar principle to the conservative idea that cutting taxes creates jobs, except with the added benefit of not being total horse****. A corporation can expand its operations all over the world. It doesn't help them one bit if there are no customers. Pay people minimum wage and take away the benefits that alleviate their financial burden and you don't have many customers for your tax-free corporate enterprise. Take money from the rich that don't need it or spend it, however, and put it into social programs, and you actually free up money in the economy (think stimulus package). Poor people spend their money and that spending increases the need to hire more people to provide services.

Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, etc, etc.... All of these companies have done exactly what you described above in moving their mfg base out of the USA, yet the US is their biggest market that makes them the most money.

Fact is, all of the aforementioned moved big chunks of their companies to foreign soil because they were getting gouged in taxes and union demands (to mention a few).

For that matter, take a look in any of the items in your cupboard or closet and tell me how much was made in Canada or North America.

All you have said is nothing more than wishful thinking
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

And if they could pick up some garbage and pull some weeds that would be a plus!

Not even that necessarily, although it would be nice to get some garbage picked up.

Take your all time favourite Big Mac analogy, right now I'd say if you had to get a job at McDonalds you'd be looking at minimum wage and not full time hours. But if we looked at 'topping up' the base income of all Canadians to a decent point, then odds are people will be buying more Big Macs. If people are buying more Big Macs then it won't be long before McDonalds needs more full time staff, maybe with a wage bump. More full time staff means more tax dollars going into general revenue for the country, paying for this 'top-up' allowance. Etc, etc, on and on.

Now obviously that's just a small example and of course it's not that direct nor is it quite that simple. There would always be a percentage of the population that requires a 'top-up' but I wouldn't be surprised to see fewer individuals requiring it within a generation or two, should a nation adopt a plan like this. With the right qualifiers I'd wager it could be a vary viable alternative to most social assistance programs.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, etc, etc.... All of these companies have done exactly what you described above in moving their mfg base out of the USA, yet the US is their biggest market that makes them the most money.

Fact is, all of the aforementioned moved big chunks of their companies to foreign soil because they were getting gouged in taxes and union demands (to mention a few).

For that matter, take a look in any of the items in your cupboard or closet and tell me how much was made in Canada or North America.

All you have said is nothing more than wishful thinking


The world is getting to be a small place, Capt., we really have to start thinking "Global". We can't produce everything, the more participants the better.

Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Not even that necessarily, although it would be nice to get some garbage picked up.

Take your all time favourite Big Mac analogy, right now I'd say if you had to get a job at McDonalds you'd be looking at minimum wage and not full time hours. But if we looked at 'topping up' the base income of all Canadians to a decent point, then odds are people will be buying more Big Macs. If people are buying more Big Macs then it won't be long before McDonalds needs more full time staff, maybe with a wage bump. More full time staff means more tax dollars going into general revenue for the country, paying for this 'top-up' allowance. Etc, etc, on and on.

Now obviously that's just a small example and of course it's not that direct nor is it quite that simple. There would always be a percentage of the population that requires a 'top-up' but I wouldn't be surprised to see fewer individuals requiring it within a generation or two, should a nation adopt a plan like this. With the right qualifiers I'd wager it could be a vary viable alternative to most social assistance programs.


Ooooooooooooh, oooooooooooooh, ooooooooooooooh, S.L.M. your idea in general is good, BUT for God sakes substitute A & W for McD's. We don't want to poison the populace! -
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

T
Ooooooooooooh, oooooooooooooh, ooooooooooooooh, S.L.M. your idea in general is good, BUT for God sakes substitute A & W for McD's. We don't want to poison the populace! -

Hey! You're the one who's always using the "price of a Big Mac" as an analogy!!!!

I have never even had a Big Mac.

Ever.

(Seriously. If I'm ever forced to eat there, I go for the Quarter Pounder.)
 

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