Thursday, 28 July 2016

Killer Arguments Against Citizen's Income, Not (2)

From yesterday's Evening Standard:

Imagine if the Government paid every citizen a non-trivial amount of money — say, £10,000 per annum — simply for existing.

Enough so that you could bring up a child, or stay in education, or start a business, or cut down your hours, or simply rebalance your life without the constant, gnawing anxiety that we have come to associate with modernity. It sounds madly utopian, yet in a short space of time the idea has migrated from the wilder realms of economic theory to the shores of the mainstream.

Many economists, both from the Left and Right, now see UBI as a way of bypassing the paternalism and waste of the welfare state (the “big idea” of the 20th century) and answering the demands of the 21st century...

Wouldn’t it cost a lot? They reckon about 12 per cent of GDP, which would require a major recalibration of tax and social security. But welfare (including pensions) currently accounts for 11.7 per cent of GDP and much of that is wasted on simply administering the system.

His £10,000 would cost a lot more than 12% of GDP, but he's grasped the basic principle that various welfare and poverty-alleviating measures (unemployment benefit, old age pensions, the tax/NIC free personal allowance, tax breaks for pensions saving etc) "cost" a certain percentage of GDP. It is a simple exercise to take this figure and divide it by the number of adults = your weekly CI.

(Severe disability benefits are a separate topic and should be part of NHS budgets. Housing Benefit is a separate topic, but local councils could take the £10 billion-plus they pay out to private landlords and use it to build 100,000 council homes a year instead. or they could just borrow money to build 100,000 council homes a year, hey presto, in a few years time, there will be no need for HB for private landlords.)

So far so good, here's the first comment:


Where does the government get money from - the governed. To pay for this universal 'gift' money would be taken from one hand to pay to another. As for 'the poor' investing in their future, a sizeable segment of the poor are broke because they cannot budget their spending. There's way too many of the slightly better off that are no better at financial constraint.

Theories are wonderful things when it comes to actual people. Unfortunately actual people don't shoehorn easily into theories.

Utter, utter twat, he clearly hasn't read the article - CI is just simplifying the existing system; he is clearly a judgemental shit; and fails to grasp that the best ideas - like CI - are based on how observing how people actually behave and working backwards from that. There is no fancy "theory" behind it.