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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A guaranteed basic income can end poverty, so why isn’t it happening?

On April 27, Senator Diane Bellemare published an op-ed in globe and mail Opposing a proposal for a guaranteed basic income where all Canadian citizens and residents over the age of 17 would receive an unconditionally guaranteed substantial income.

A recent survey shows that nearly 60 percent of Canadians support a basic income of $30,000. In another poll, 57 percent of Canadians agree that Canada should create a basic universal income for all Canadians, regardless of employment.

Despite strong public support, Bellemare argued that, “a basic income would be an unfair, complicated and costly way to end poverty.” As a social scientist who has researched cash transfers, and as an entrepreneur and organizational leader, we challenge the view that basic income is “unfair”, “complicated” and “expensive”. Instead, we argue that it can be reasonable, simple and economical.

Basic income may be reasonable

Basic income can be reasonable for all Canadians, accommodating people with different needs. A system that includes basic income does not necessarily take away existing benefits and services.

Importantly, a slowly phased, carefully designed basic income program can be monitored and adjusted over time, to ensure that diverse individual needs are always addressed.

Research from Stanford University shows that a basic income program can induce meaningful social integration – greater participation in social and civic activities in the community – while also providing stability, security, and security to individuals.

An analysis of the Ontario Basic Income Trial shows that people with diverse needs reported better personal relationships with friends and family with basic income. In turn, their sense of social inclusion and citizenship improved.

The Ontario Conservative government canceled the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, which was initiated by the government of former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Canadian Press/Nathan Dennett

Basic income can be simple

With careful planning, a basic income system can be designed to be simple, adaptable, reliable and fair. In other words, it can be a kind of synergistic solution involving an optimal mix of different policy programs that generate greater efficacy. For example, a basic income program can be combined with a wage subsidy program.

Contrary to Senator Bellemare’s claim that “basic income may hinder labor market participation,” the research found that basic income has no negative impact on the labor market. That is, basic income has no negative effect on employment rates or wages.

With a basic income program, recipients will be motivated to participate in the labor market and feel empowered to find the most fulfilling way to work without fear of their financial security.

Basic income can be cheaper

Recent cost-benefit analyzes have demonstrated that carefully designed cash-based interventions can be cost-effective and generate net savings for society. Recipients rely less on social services over time, which means governments pay less to fund these programs.

While Bellemre’s analysis suggests that costs may be the problem, other, more thorough analyzes have taken into account the true costs and benefits of basic income programs and refuted that claim.

We caution against overly simplified cost estimates and call for a more careful, thorough calculation of the actual costs and benefits associated with basic income programs. In fact, Canada can adopt a basic income program without increasing its financial debt.

Canadian bill fan with a tax pad on top
Basic income can be a reliable, powerful component of a nationwide poverty reduction program.
Canadian Press/Richard Plum

Last year, Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office estimated that a guaranteed basic income of $17,000 per capita would cost the government $88 billion.

This amount can be offset by extending back tax credits that disproportionately benefit high-income Canadians. In addition, a well-designed basic income program can provide non-monetary benefits that are not typically included in cost-benefit analysis, such as improvements in health, education, social cohesion and productivity.

Research Supports Basic Income

There is a considerable amount of research supporting basic income around the world. It is prudent to conduct significantly advanced research to reduce hesitation on basic income on social and economic grounds. Basic income can be a reliable, powerful component of a nationwide program to reduce poverty and enable all citizens to thrive.

Basic income should be part of a practical comprehensive plan to end poverty in Canada. In fact, there is an emerging political will to push for a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income.

Last summer, Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz sponsored Bill C-273, the National Strategy for a Guaranteed Basic Income Act. This was the first time that a bill regarding basic income was debated in the Parliament. And in February 2021, four senators — three from Prince Edward Island, one from Ontario — published an open letter calling for a nationwide guaranteed basic income.

This is necessary, because poverty is an unnecessary, cruel abomination. Think of it this way: Most Canadians probably have a close friend or family member who is affected by poverty, as one in 15 Canadians still lives in poverty.

Poverty touches us all – it’s everyone’s tragedy, which is absurd because poverty can be reduced as we have argued above. Hopefully, one day future Canadians will look to 2022 and ask how a just society can tolerate such unnecessary suffering.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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