Thursday, January 11, 2018

Basic Income Inanity

Welfare for everyone?
Historically, the idea of basic income crops up when people want to right an economic wrong. It’s there in Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia, which describes a society that has no crime because it can “provide everyone with some means of livelihood so that nobody is under the frightful necessity of becoming … a thief.” There it is again, in a 1796 pamphlet by American political theorist Thomas Paine, who argued for the creation of a “national fund” out of which “every person, rich or poor” would receive £15 once he or she turned 21 and £10 every year thereafter. Earth’s resources were supposed to be available to everyone, Paine argued, so people deserved “compensation in part for … the system of landed property.”

“The welfare state was never perfect, but it used to work,” Wahlroos says. “Now we’re looking at a future labor force with a lot of irregular and low-paid jobs. Given that, I think it’s intellectually dishonest to maintain that our present system of social security can be fixed.”

Previously, Finns’ complaints about the system related mainly to its sluggish bureaucracy. Think waiting in line at the DMV is bad? Try working with a federal agency running 40 programs, each with its own recipient database and payment system. “The administrative burden, it’s too much,” Turunen says. “Somehow this has to be gotten rid of.”
And if you thought it was bad now...

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