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  • Basic income is a proposed alternative to social welfare which gives every citizen of

  • a society a guaranteed, regular income.

  • This amount is enough to cover the basic necessities in life and is given to all citizens, regardless

  • of their current financial status.

  • There is no means testing and consequently no stigma attached to it.

  • People who work will keep every cent of their basic income.

  • People could also choose not to work and rely entirely on their basic income.

  • Current System

  • The current system, at least in Australia, requires the individual to meet certain criteria.

  • You must have under a certain amount of liquid assets, that is, if you have millions of dollars

  • in the bank, you are not eligible.

  • Your income is also restricted.

  • That is, if you earn too much, your welfare is slowly cut.

  • People with disabilities that prevent them from working are also eligible.

  • Elderly people who do not own too much are eligible for the aged-pension.

  • The major problem with our current system is that there is little incentive to work.

  • If I am receiving $400 a week from welfare and then I go out and get a job, for every

  • dollar I earn over a certain amount, my welfare is cut by a certain percentage.

  • It’s enough to cause many people to not bother getting a job.

  • Just say I go out and get a part-time job which pays $250 a week for 15 hours work,

  • but my welfare is reduced from $400 to $250, then my total earnings are only $500.

  • So, in effect, I’m working an extra 15 hours a week for only an extra $100.

  • Maybe in America, that’s a decent hourly rate, but here it’s a bit pitiful.

  • Furthermore, there’s a stigma associated with welfare recipients.

  • They are generally seen as lazy, or as we say in Australia – “bludgers” – people

  • who scrounge off the government.

  • However, some people I know who are on welfare simply cannot find a job.

  • Recently, lots of jobs are going because of things like technological unemployment, or

  • theyre going off shore due to lower wages in other countries.

  • Why pay an Australian $17 an hour to do something that a person in Asia is willing to do for

  • say $2 an hour, or less?

  • When I was working as a computer programmer in a large insurance company, they were in

  • the process of off-shoring many jobs, mainly to China and the Philippines.

  • And don’t think they just off-shored low-skill jobs, not at all.

  • Many of the programming jobs were going to workers in China with high levels of education

  • (masters or PhDs) who were willing to work for a lot less than we were.

  • Benefits of a Basic Income

  • A basic income allows everyone to live a life without fear of becoming homeless or jobless.

  • In our current system, if you lose your job and have a mortgage to repay, youll probably

  • also lose you house.

  • Banks aren’t in the business of giving people free mortgages.

  • Under a basic income, even if somebody in your household lost their job, it wouldn’t

  • be such a big deal.

  • Workers would have much more power than they do now.

  • Currently, most people put up with their current employer knowing that if they lose their job,

  • they won’t be able to pay their mortgage.

  • Employers know this and often treat their workers with contempt.

  • You would also get to keep more money.

  • That is, if you only wanted to work 15 hours a week, you would get to keep all of your

  • basic income, plus whatever money you earn at work.

  • There would be no such thing as the welfare trap that currently occurs.

  • In some real-life trials, it was found people were more likely to go out and find work under

  • a basic income.

  • Basic income is simple to manage and maintain.

  • Our current welfare system requires thousands of workers and resources just to function.

  • Theyre constantly trying to hunt downwelfare cheats”, that is people who claim they are

  • not earning any money, but actually are.

  • Under a basic income, there is no such thing as a welfare cheat as everybody in society

  • is receiving it.

  • The number of man-hours saved would be tremendous.

  • You could also forgo all other types of welfare such as pensions, unemployment, and disability.

  • Everybody would be receiving something, so there is no need to also have an aged-pension.

  • Creativity and innovation would flourish.

  • Currently, if somebody wants to write a novel, they either have to do it in their free-time

  • (which would take years), or quit their job and take a year off to write it (losing lots

  • of income in the meantime).

  • Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that their novel will be a hit, so the risk of taking

  • time off work to write a novel is usually far too great for the average person.

  • This results in thousands of creative people simply not having the opportunity to explore

  • their passions.

  • They end up working in dead-end jobs for the rest of their lives.

  • I’ve known a few people who could probably be very successful in a creative field, but

  • due to the current state of our society, they simply could not pursue their passion.

  • It’s such a waste.

  • A basic income would allow these people to write that book, or design a board-game, or

  • learn Android and make an app, or paint a portrait, or learn the piano and compose the

  • next Rondo alla turca.

  • Basic income will also allow people to pursue unpaid opportunities, such as volunteering

  • at the local food bank, or helping the elderly go to church, or offering free classes in

  • their field of expertise.

  • I know if I had access to a basic income, I would happily go to students houses and

  • give them free, or discounted maths and science tutoring.

  • I would volunteer at the local university and assist students with disabilities, currently

  • a paid position only provided to students who can meet the strict criteria.

  • Society would become much more caring and people would become less greedy.

  • How Would We Pay for a Basic Income?

  • For every dollar a person earns over their basic income, there would be a fixed tax rate.

  • Who knows what that tax rate would be, but it could be adjusted from time to time to

  • make sure the system stays stable.

  • A basic income would replace all other welfare benefits, so there would be lots of savings.

  • Furthermore, because everyone would be receiving a basic income, people would be less likely

  • to worry about their financial future and more likely to spend, spurring on the economy.

  • Think about it, if you had a guaranteed $400 (or whatever) a week, you would probably be

  • more likely to buy that new jacket that you wouldn’t have bought otherwise.

  • Also, because there would be more people willing to take risks in business, for example, by

  • starting a new business, our economy will improve.

  • There will be more start-ups, more ideas, more people using their creativity and innovation

  • to improve our society.

  • Sure, not everyone will be successful, but with the sheer number of people creating new

  • business ideas and models, there are bound to be a few truly magnificent ideas that change

  • our society for the better.

  • Future

  • I think it’s only a matter of time before a basic income is implemented across the world.

  • It will probably start with a couple of forward thinking European countries such as Finland,

  • the Netherlands, or Switzerland.

  • Once this happens, the rest of the world will soon jump on board.

  • Currently, most politicians completely disagree with a basic income, mainly because they can’t

  • win votes with it, at least not presently.

  • But with time, normal people will jump on board realising its benefits.

  • If too many jobs are lost to automation, eventually we will need something like a basic income

  • just to keep our society stable.

  • We simply can’t have people not being able to afford food and clothing which would result

  • in mass riots and our economy grinding to a halt.

  • If you’d like to know more about basic income, visit QUT Basic Income, BIEN, UBIE, or Basic

  • Income Ireland.

Basic income is a proposed alternative to social welfare which gives every citizen of

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    王惟惟 posted on 2017/08/10
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