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Guaranteed income

Re: Guaranteed income

Postby Omnitheo » Nov 10th, 2017, 6:59 pm

I mentioned previously about some time I spent on welfare. They were some of sucky times. Trying to find a job, but otherwise having nothing to do, no money to do anything. Not at all enjoyable.
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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby hobbyguy » Nov 11th, 2017, 12:31 pm

Personally I think that Guaranteed income is a rabbit hole. There are too many variables. There is also a feedback loop in guaranteed income that results in it being self defeating.

IF you move incomes up, then prices for fundamentals will follow. IF everybody has say $2,000 for rent, then rents will floor at $2,000 very quickly. In the end, nobody is any better off.

The BC NDP discussion of this is very reminiscent of the 1990s NDP under Mike Harcourt. Jacked up welfare payments a whole bunch in the name of "ending poverty". Then a couple of years later Mikey was cracking down on welfare (as it blew a huge hole in the budget) and making it tough on welfare recipients.

"Harcourt reacted by abandoning his social democratic policy and moving to the right on welfare. He fired Joan Smallwood as Minister of Social Services and replaced her with Joy MacPhail, reduced welfare rates, and made it more difficult for families to claim assistance.[3][5][6] Announcing this policy shift in September 1993, he infamously described it as a crackdown on "cheats, deadbeats and varmints".

Strengthening the social safety nets and society does not necessarily mean that income, per se, is what is needed.

E.G. Better pharmacare would target improving things for sick and disabled folks in very strong way. E.G. Stop sticking our heads in the sand, and provide safe, legal heroin for addicts (then the welfare money doesn't go indirectly from us to *bleep* drug dealers).

Aside from that, we do need to look at restructuring the economy to provide opportunities for more people. Part of that is we need to break up the oligarchy that has developed in western economies. (Oligarchy is every bit as bad as Communism). Focus on prosperity - not GDP. "Productivity" as currently defined (essentially lowering the labor cost per item, but then not sharing the benefits) is a false measure. What we need to measure is "Societal Productivity" - how many people's lives were improved.

None of it is simple. All of it is contentious. The balance is that all people need opportunities, and we have allowed a select few to stifle opportunities for everyone else. Prosperity that is not shared is not prosperity at all.
We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Louis D. Brandeis

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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby just popping in » Nov 11th, 2017, 12:43 pm

Omnitheo wrote:I mentioned previously about some time I spent on welfare. They were some of sucky times. Trying to find a job, but otherwise having nothing to do, no money to do anything. Not at all enjoyable.


And for many you are like a hamster on a wheel, the harder you try the more difficult it is to become independent.
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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby Verum » Nov 11th, 2017, 3:51 pm

hobbyguy wrote:Personally I think that Guaranteed income is a rabbit hole. There are too many variables. There is also a feedback loop in guaranteed income that results in it being self defeating.

IF you move incomes up, then prices for fundamentals will follow. IF everybody has say $2,000 for rent, then rents will floor at $2,000 very quickly. In the end, nobody is any better off.

...

None of it is simple. All of it is contentious. The balance is that all people need opportunities, and we have allowed a select few to stifle opportunities for everyone else. Prosperity that is not shared is not prosperity at all.

I certainly do not agree with all of what you have said, but you add some interesting perspective to the discussion, more than most. Thanks for the well reasoned opinion.
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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby Glacier » Nov 13th, 2017, 8:39 pm

The problem with welfare is that it flattens out income distribution up to a certain point. This means people in the lower percentiles have to move a long way to the right before their income exceeds the "welfare line" and they start to benefit from their higher income. This destroys the link between income and total earnings for this low-income bracket, which actively de-incentivises work.

The region to the left of the red dotted line is the "poverty trap". This is the hypothetical region where a realistic move to the right (and increase of income) will not lift the person above the "welfare line". There is a small area to the right of the poverty trap that is still under the welfare line; these are the people that welfare actually benefits, they can realistically raise their income to escape the welfare line and so their welfare payments will not cancel out their efforts. (The actual size of the areas is not important, I only positioned them as they are to fit the text in. This is just explanation of a concept, I'm not making any claims about how significant the problem is.)

UBI doesn't have this problem. Moving to the right by any amount is always beneficial whatever percentile someone finds themself in because the flat rate of UBI given to all citizens simply shifts the income distribution upwards. (The grey parallelogram is purely to illustrate that height shifted is equal across the whole graph, which might not be obvious to the eye because of the curve.)

ubi.jpg
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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby hobbyguy » Nov 14th, 2017, 4:55 pm

None of that solves the essential problem we have with income inequality.

However an income guarantee for work performed could help with that. Even Winston Churchill felt that part of government's function was income redistribution. The work performed measure can be adjusted for the available employment.

E.G. IF you work 16 hrs per week, you get the full guaranteed income bonus up to age 65. The full guaranteed income at age 65.

However, to pay for that, our tax structures at the top end in particular have to be fixed. The illegitimate portions of income held offshore for starters. (There are legitimate portions.)

To do THAT we would have to fundamentally restructure how measure monetary wealth. Funds moving out of the country for active investment are one thing, funds moving out of the country for passive investment tax avoidance are another. Yes, that can be tackled, but no government seems willing to take that on, and it would run head on into a number of so called "free trade" deals we have - which are actually "free trade AND investment" agreements. IF we do that, we have to accept a short term lull as the economy restructures itself. I am not sure that in the age of folks wanting "instant gratification" that would be feasible.

Income isn't the whole deal anyway. It does you no good to have a guaranteed basic income if there is nowhere to rent. Which is a real problem. Our urban centers in particular are evolving toward the reality we see around the world where most urban residents are renters. But our policies on rentals, social housing, etc. are stuck in the 1990s and perversely incentivize the destruction of rental housing.

We can do more for average folk by restructuring the tax codes at the top (the rates need not go up - for now at least) and restructuring housing goals and policies (including building social housing with the additional funds recovered) than a guaranteed income would achieve.
We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Louis D. Brandeis
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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby Queen K » Nov 14th, 2017, 5:06 pm

Omnitheo wrote:I mentioned previously about some time I spent on welfare. They were some of sucky times. Trying to find a job, but otherwise having nothing to do, no money to do anything. Not at all enjoyable.


Welfare is intended to help motivated people like yourself out. People with a sense of purpose and dignity of self-esteem.
You got out of the poverty trap through further education and striving for something you knew you wanted. But you also possess the enviable IQ to do so. It's those who sadly simply do not who are trapped.
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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby twobits » Nov 14th, 2017, 6:04 pm

Queen K wrote:

Welfare is intended to help motivated people like yourself out. People with a sense of purpose and dignity of self-esteem.
You got out of the poverty trap through further education and striving for something you knew you wanted. But you also possess the enviable IQ to do so. It's those who sadly simply do not who are trapped.


Valid assessment to a point. I would suggest that the segment of population that is actually and truly disadvantaged is much smaller than you think in being able to contribute to society. Those that truly do fall below that level of contribution ability......our society is well and capable of supporting. Problem is that too many are willing to play the part of disadvantaged because we have given them the resources and means to do so and now it has become an ingrained right. Gone is the desire for too many to better themselves. Generations of welfare recipients have made too many complacent with that standard of living and need and desire to improve their own lot. A guaranteed minimum income will only inevitably increase this "class" of people at the expense of the rest of contributing society.
I am all for supporting people who are truly disadvantaged to a level that is a dignified standard of living. We can do that. I am not however prepared to support those that self identify as disadvantaged when every opportunity to better themselves is also available. And I am certainly not prepared to provide a guaranteed annual income that will only inevitably increase the able bodied and able minded to sit back and be content with what the Gov't and working force taxpayers will have to provide just because they are happy with the lifestyle that a guaranteed income provides.
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Re: Guaranteed income

Postby twobits » Nov 14th, 2017, 7:06 pm

Edit to add to above post. What kind of IQ is required to pour coffee at Timmies or flip burgers, or make subway sandwiches? They may be min wage jobs but they are higher than welfare rates are they not? Then why are we importing foriegn labour to fill these jobs instead of sending those social service recipients down to these businesses to fill out a job application?? Simple answer would be it is easier to sit at home for a little less money and do nothing! Garantee a min income is going to make things better how?
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