Basic Income thoughts on a Saturday Morning

What’s the alternative?

How much money could we be talking about? Across Canada, a universal basic income of $10,000 a year would cost $350 billion (17.5% of GDP) minus any reduction or elimination of existing income transfers. A more modest and targeted goal of raising everyone’s income above the poverty line would cost an estimated $30 billion per year over and above existing programs. Paying for this basic income program would require taxpayers to chip in the equivalent of about four percentage points more in sales taxes across Canada. The majority of Canadians would pay but see no benefit, as they are not poor. Even if a consensus developed around this kind of policy fix, how long would it hold?

Contrast this with another possibility: the CCPA Alternative Federal Budget shows that for half the annual cost of a poverty-eliminating basic income ($15 billion) we could permanently expand the stock of affordable housing, child care and public transit, as well as almost eliminate user costs for pharmacare, dental care and post-secondary schooling. After a decade, we would have greater access to more high quality, affordable necessities of life — not just for the poor, but for everyone.

Spend a little more and you could offer free access to community and recreation centre programming, expanded mental health services, universal access to low-cost internet and more legal aid. The net result: more participation, more mobility, more potential, more healthy people, more justice. Add to that list less political friction and disenfranchisement, and more solidarity.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mike Moffatt

Mike Moffatt

Senior Director, Smart Prosperity. Assistant Prof, Ivey Business School. Exhausted but happy Dad of 2 wonderful kids with autism. I used to do other stuff.