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N The Basic Solution to Unemployment. n Government's throughout the English speaking western world have imposed means testing, targeted benefits, activity.

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Presentation on theme: "N The Basic Solution to Unemployment. n Government's throughout the English speaking western world have imposed means testing, targeted benefits, activity."— Presentation transcript:

1 n The Basic Solution to Unemployment

2 n Government's throughout the English speaking western world have imposed means testing, targeted benefits, activity testing and 'mutual obligation' regimes to discourage those without paid work from becoming 'dependent' on the State.

3 n This system has been imposed allegedly to meet the ‘needs’ of people n But n ‘Need’ is a non-explanation.

4 n An alternative approach to income support is Basic Income. It has the potential to create more equitable sharing of paid work, civil activity and leisure without inhibiting productivity.

5 But before looking at the solution let’s look at the problem - the existing system.

6 Compelled Activity the cure for ‘Dependency’ n From the work test of the late 1940s n to the Cass / Howe activity test n to the Newman / Reference Group on Welfare Reform’s ‘participation income support’ n the message is the same n the poor need to be compelled if they are to avoid the scourge of ‘dependency’.

7 Capacity to labour n Establishing some predetermined 'level of incapacity to work' is very costly and an extraordinarily inefficient method of providing income support to those with a disability. People with equivalent levels of impairments often have widely different employment histories

8 n attempting to measure work capacity by levels of impairment creates target inefficiencies because such tests of eligibility are 'surrogate measures' - they do not test the things they purport to measure directly.

9 A return to the poor laws Less eligibility worthy / unworthy work house / mutual obligation

10 Governments know what they save when they cut people off benefits n They don’t calculate the costs n to the nation n of breaching 200,000 people in the last year

11 n Such target efficiency processes give no measure of how efficient the system of social security is. Because the central issues which should be taken into account when assessing the efficiency of a social security system are not considered.

12 Some of the system wide efficiency measures, which would need to be taken into account if the efficiency of the system was being calculated, would be:  are any of the people excluded from the social security system poor,  how many people who have an entitlement miss out,

13  how satisfied are the people who are confined to low levels of income support,  does the social security system advance social justice for all permanent residents,  are the human rights of all residents protected (or even enhanced),  does the system remove all obstacles to inclusion of people with a disability,

14  are all genders, ages and ethnic groups treated equally or equitably,  is there equitable treatment provided to city and country people, and  does the system of income support provide sufficient security to recipients so as to allow them to contribute to society in ways with which they are comfortable?

15 Universal Income Guarantees n Guaranteed Minimum Income, and n Negative Income Tax n are generalised selective (means tested) forms of income support n Basic Income is

16 Simplicity / complexity n Combined social security /tax withdrawal rates are complicated n after income free area 58.5% to 200% n income tax rate over $60, %

17 n With a Basic Income, because it is a universal payment, people are always advantaged by any extra income obtained. The withdrawal rate is the income tax rate making the cash in hand situation easier to calculate than a combined tax and income support withdrawal rate.

18 n Van Parijs claims that because a Basic Income is paid, irrespective of all other sources of income, n it can be used by those who desire work as a wage subsidy; yet, because it provides sufficient income on which to live, it does not compel any potential worker to work under conditions which that worker finds unacceptable.

19 n He concludes that “Whereas a rising means-tested benefit makes it increasingly difficult for unskilled people to find a job, a rising basic income makes it increasingly feasible.”

20 n A Basic Income, because it provides a known financial advantage for every extra dollar earned, abolishes both poverty traps and work disincentives (Lerner, Clark & Needham 1999 pp ). n Gorz (1999 p.85) claims n "The universal, unconditional grant of a basic income is, therefore…the best instrument for redistributing both paid work and unpaid activities as widely as possible."

21 n There are efficiency arguments which can and should be mounted in support of an unconditional Basic Income.  A Basic Income requires the least interference in the lives of citizens.  It supplies all permanent residents with equal assistance.  It is the most inclusive form of income support payment and the most secure, thus enhancing citizenship.

22  It provides sufficient income to allow the possibility that people will explore their creative capacity.  It removes many of the obstacles to a reinvigoration of the industrial, technical and computing infrastructure.  It allows the State a fuller understanding of the impact of its other social wage policies.

23 Basic Income is just that - n an unconditional universal income guarantee. n It delivers an income floor without interfering with productivity. n Its withdrawal rate on earned income is easily understandable as compared with the combined income tax and benefit withdrawal rate of selective systems such as GMI or NIT.

24 n It is a vast improvement on categorical selective social services. n It is an advance on all social insurance and private provision schemes which invariably result n in the 'individualisation of risk' (Lerner, Clark & Needham 1999 p. 11) and as a result create a 'do it yourself welfare state' (Klein & Millar cited in Page 1998 p.307).

25 n The concept of Basic Income has just had its 80 th. Birthday in Britain. n ‘It’s Time’ to change our system of income maintenance here - to move away from the poor law state. n As Amory Lovens reminds us “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”


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