Basic Income/Canada (BI/C) is a network of Canadians
who believe that a Basic Income offers
the best path to economic security
for all Canadians
What is Basic Income?
One of the best books about Basic Income offers this description:
"Basic Income would be paid to each man, woman and child, as individuals; payment would not be conditional on other income or lack of it, nor on willingness to work, nor on gender. It would be paid to all those currently domiciled in a country. The level of basic income would vary by age, replacing pensions and child allowances, with supplements for those without other income or who incur extra living costs.
This system would replace social security and welfare payments, and personal tax allowances and reliefs as far as is practical. Income tax would be paid from the first pound, dollar, franc or mark of extra income, but the basic income itself would not be taxable. Separate national insurance or social security funds would be abolished. The unit for both basic income and income tax would be the individual rather than the nuclear family." (Walter 18)
"Bl does not replace hard work and enterprise but lays the basis for it."
Issues raised by this generic concept of a BI include:
Issues fundamental to
the BI concept
Universality - goes to every individual resident
Unconditionality - no means test or workfare requirement
Non-taxability (no clawback) - avoids poverty trap, makes work worthwhile
Would there be work (dis) incentive effects?'-Data for Canada,US indicate only very minor
disincentives, for married women with young children. (Hum and Simpson)
Distributional effects? - Can be computed for a given country such as Ireland (Clark), and fine-tuned
so that effects are positive, hardship is avoided
Issues around specifics
-the devilish details
[Would need to be publicly debated and politically negotiated]
Recipents: eligibility of new immigrants;determining exceptional need, etc.
$Levels of'BI: for children, adults, seniors
Method of delivery: credit card, weekly/monthlycheque or deposit, lump sum, etc.
Implementation: gradual vs instantaneous; pilot projects vs national coverage, etc.
Financing: BI amounts, sources of revenue for BI, tax arrangements, etc.will depend
on the negotiated specifics (above) and on political will.
Arguments for a BI
Some examples (these are detailed in numerous publications - see Google tip below)
*legal - UN Declaration of Human Rights(1948)
*moral - earth's resources belong to all; BI removes stigma re "welfare"
^oefficiency - reduced administrative costs; no take-up shortfall
^economic - BI supports a more "flexible" workforce; BI bolsters consumer demand
+ creates a more inclusive society
+ removes poverty traps
+ improves women's options
+ supports entrepreneurial risk-taking
F. Blais, Ending Poverty: A Basic Income for All Canadians (Toronto:James
Lorimer & Company, 2002)
[Originally published as Un revenu garanti pour tous (Les Editions du Boreal, 2001)]
C.M.A. Clark, The Basic Income Guarantee: Ensuring Progress and Prosperity
in the 21st Century
(Dublin:The Liffey Press, 2003)
D. Hum and W. Simpson, Income Maintenance, Work Effort and the Canadian
(Ottawa:Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1991)
S. Lerner, C. Clark and W. R.Needham, Basic Income: Economic Security
for All Canadians
(Toronto:Between the Lines, 1999)
T. Walter, Basic Income: Freedom from Poverty, Freedom to Work (London:Marion