From the BBC:
Why are so many on the left now arguing that the state should pay everyone a universal basic income?
Imagine this. You can sit back, relax, turn on the telly, put your feet up. And the government will pay you for it without any of that tedious job-seeking and signing on business.
It sounds like a fantasy. But it's an only slightly exaggerated version of the big idea animating many on the left of British politics, and which has just been adopted by Unite, the country's biggest trade union...
It's not a "slightly exaggerated version" it is a crass misrepresentation. No serious proponent would set the CI rate at anything much higher than current unemployment benefit (i.e. £ not much per week).
We know that most people are prepared to waive their dole money in exchange for a wage and some people on the dole decide that the extra they could earn is not worth the hassle. With a CI, those in work would continue working, and some of those currently on the dole would start working as they would not be penalised by losing their dole money. For the no-hopers, not much changes. Simples.
And there are other objections. Labour MP Jon Cruddas sees the embrace of universal basic income as "absolutely deadly" for his party.
"Part of the thing about the basic income is that it assumes that the working class will disappear, right?" he asks. "Now if you disrespect them to that degree, is it any wonder that they'll go walkabout?"
Mr Cruddas warns that a left-wing embrace of the policy would constitute an electoral gift to UKIP, dismissing it as "a form of futurology which owes more to Arthur C Clarke than it does to Karl Marx".
"It imports a sort of passive citizenship with no sense of contribution. It doesn't contest the sphere of production, and it just retreats into a hyper-consumption."
None of that makes any sense, it's just Westminster bubble-speak. Nobody "assumes that the working class will disappear". And WTF does "contest the sphere of production" or "retreat into hyper-consumption" mean? A small weekly payment towards the cost of basic essentials for the lowest paid and a modest tax rebate for those in work is hardly fuelling "hyper-consumption"... right?
And the CI idea was in UKIP's 2010 manifesto, I know because I wrote it myself and even did a ten minute speech at a UKIP conference which was received far more warmly than I would have expected. I bet it disappeared long ago though.
Friday, 15 July 2016
From the BBC: