UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
Here are the main
questions that people have asked about a universal basic
What is a basic income?
What is its purpose?
Would a basic income provide an adequate living income?
What would be the rate of basic income?
Is basic income just a replacement for social security?
Why do we need a basic income?
Why would everyone receive a basic income?
evidence is there that massive frauds would not result?
Where's the money coming from to pay for a basic income?
10. Why should tax be taken
so some layabout can sit on the beach?
11. Why shouldn't someone
work for the basic income?
there be a mass exodus from the labour market with basic
13. Would people work so
hard if they had a basic income?
14. Isn't it better to put
money into improving education and training?
do critics of basic income say?
are the benefits in having a basic income?
What is a basic income?
A. It is a non means tested,
non discriminating, guaranteed income paid to every citizen
or legal resident whether old, young, disabled, unemployed,
employed, rich or poor, single or married.
What is the purpose of basic income?
A. The purpose
is to provide each person with the financial assurance of an
income without degrading means tests or being victims of
political ideology. Apart from the human right aspect of
facilitating access to basic needs, positive action is
required to break the link between the need for paid
employment, any paid employment, to gain access to income.
The assurance of a right
to a basic income would liberate people from the fear of
unemployment, at any time.
It would free people, desperate for any type of paid
work, from the need to take any job, however boring, immoral,
frustrating or despicable.
Payment of a basic
income would recognise the unpaid valuable contribution made
to society by carers, such as mothers raising their children.
There is considerable
evidence over the years from medical experts and authorities
that unemployment and/or a low income results in physical
and mental ill health, and violence and death coming earlier
than for those with employment and/or income.
QUESTION 3. Would a basic income provide an adequate living income for
everyone so that no body would ever need to work again?
A. It is hoped
that a basic income could provide a basic living income, but
whether it would be adequate or not would depend upon one's
lifestyle. What it would provide is an assurance of an
income as of right, a base from which one could earn by one's
own efforts, without penalty, additional income to provide for
a better standard of living.
It stands to
reason that the income any society enjoys cannot exceed the
rate at which it creates not just money, but real wealth of
goods and services. If people, computers and machines
in society are inefficient, or not working at all, then real
wealth, as opposed to financial wealth, cannot be provided
for basic needs and society will inevitably be poorer.
If there is no real wealth then there cannot be a basic income.
So everyone won't be lying around doing nothing or else they'll
QUESTION 4. What would be the rate of basic income? How much can we
expect? Will it
remain the same for years or would it fluctuate depending upon
A. The rate
would depend upon the government introducing the
measure. If the payments were set as a distinct
percentage of the nation's wealth or gross domestic product,
it would rise or fall. So, if fewer people worked or
provided services, or technology and machines failed to
produce enough for all, then the basic income would
fall. If wealth were to increase, then the basic income
Some advocates of a basic income believe the payment should be set
at a particular rate and not fall.
Is basic income just a replacement for social
security benefits, although payable to everyone?
A. No. Although it is not a
new concept, basic income is a completely new approach to
tackling inequalities in society as well as introducing a
more meaningful system of democracy.
It would provide all with a human right to have an
income to access basic needs.
It would not be means tested. It would be a more efficient
way of helping those who need financial assistance at particular
times in life without the need to go through the rigorous
soul-destroying ritual of begging from a bureaucrat. It would mean those who have saved through self-denial need
not have to dissipate their assets first before qualifying
for some assistance.
QUESTION 6. Why do we need a basic income?
security legislation has been introduced in the past to
provide monetary benefits for those whose income, if any, is
insufficient upon which to exist.
security system was designed to meet the needs and assumptions
at the time. It has served us well, but it no longer
does so. It has become a patchwork of handouts and means
for politicians to control, and gain the favour of, many
through the manipulation of qualifications and benefit
sums. This leads to massive fraud. It also
requires a huge bureaucracy to operate. The rules and
regulations, form-filling, interviews, incorrect assessments
and judgments by public servants, continual government
amendments, and the deterrent of appeal board hearings for
those wanting to challenge rulings are well known to the
underclass and others. The system can justifiably be
called begging for money. It is little wonder that
social security offices generally are more well guarded than
and annoyance that this begging system generates often leads
to preventable violence. When it is considered that
the status of women has changed, the needs of families altered,
guarantees of full time employment diminished, with technology
advancing rapidly, a career for life no longer envisaged,
differing types of employment evolving, single parent families
rising, the number of elderly increasing, and people between
jobs for much longer, the basis on which social security income
support was introduced is no longer relevant. Time has
passed it by.
QUESTION 7. Why would everyone receive a basic income? Is it not ridiculous
to pay a basic income to millionaires and other wealthy
people? They just
don't need the money, nor ask for it.
A. Some rich
people are already entitled to universal benefits and don't
need them. However It is easier and cheaper to administer
and more efficient to pay everyone a basic income than have
a process of sifting out those whom politicians consider are
worthy of financial assistance. But, be that as it may,
the basic income concept is not just a financial assistance
measure. It is a human right to have the means to exist.
Whether rich or poor, all should have the right because it
is a right.
QUESTION 8. What evidence have you that payment of a basic income to
all would not result in massive frauds with non existent
people being invented, emigrants still collecting the income
and the dead not being declared as deceased?
A. Unless there
were to be a moral and spiritual revival, there is no doubt
that people will try to cheat the system as they do now with
social security frauds and tax evasion. However, it is
probable that with a basic income it would be far cheaper and
far easier to spot the cheat than it is now.
At the present time, all
the forms, questions, interviews, threats and penalties involved
in trying to obtain a small sum of money, as well as having
to go through a maze of bureaucratic procedures and risk upsetting
the clerks with the power, encourages dishonesty through cheating,
inaccurate answers or withholding information.
With basic income, all that stress causing hassle would
be gone. All the cheating involved
would be by the creation of non-existent people. It should be easier
administratively to catch any basic income cheats because
there is less opportunity for cheating for a start. All the authorities
have to do is to ensure that a person existed, lives, and
is a permanent resident.
Cross checking through births, deaths and marriages,
through immigration and emigration returns, electoral roles
and tax returns, if any, and the such like should not be too
difficult a problem.
The opportunities for cheating are far fewer with basic
income than with the myriad of means tested benefits. And means tested benefits
cost the taxpayers quite a lot of money to run.
QUESTION 9. Where's the money coming from to pay a basic income? Won't it mean massive
tax increases? Surely
we really cannot afford it?
introduces the basic income would know from where the money
would come and, in a democracy, seek electoral approval for
There are many
ways of funding a basic income such as from a variety of taxes,
a non-inflationary pre-distribution of the public credit,
or as dividends from ownership of shares of publicly owned,
and in some cases privately owned, ventures. The Alaska
Permanent Fund, and its dividend payments to citizens from
it, is an example. A basic income would produce financial
savings from the current welfare payments system in administration.
As payments continued it is expected that there would be financial
savings resulting from better mental and physical health and
fraud prevention. A change to the current debt-based
monetary system could mean it costs the taxpayer, individual
or business, less to fund a basic income for all than it does
to fund the current social security benefits. Tax savings!
QUESTION 10. If the payment is to come from taxation, why should any hard
earned money be taken by taxation just so some lazy layabout
can sit on the beach?
A. This sort of
objection has been leveled against all sorts of social
programmes which involve some redistribution of wealth.
Depending on what system is used to fund a basic income, it
may be that the tax take is used. But that happens
already. Taxpayers pay for the elderly and children to
receive unearned incomes - to sit around and do nothing and
also pay the unemployed - on condition they don't work at all!
What will be different? People with no children
pay taxes so that other people's children can be educated,
people who are well pay for those who are sick to receive
treatment, people who do not favour the buying and using of
weapons have to pay for them and people who prefer trains have
to pay for motorways. The young also pay for the old to
Those who, through
choice or fortunate life events, are required to pay to support
others, who may make little or no labour contribution to the
maintenance of, but use, welfare or community programmes,
may believe such redistribution for these causes to be unfair.
They are however legitimate. Redistribution occurs all
the time and mainly in a fair way because the community determines
certain social priorities which have to be balanced against
an individual's wish to preserve and accumulate personal wealth.
QUESTION 11. If you are handing out money, why shouldn't someone work
for it - no work, no money?
A. That is the
Protestant work ethic approach. Would you ask a 95 year
old to work for a basic income? As all would receive
it, including the rich and politicians, would everyone be
put to work with no exceptions? And if there are exceptions,
who will determine who does not undertake work for the income?
Would those in paid work, including MPs, also be required
to work for the income after they have undertaken a full day's
work? If not, why not? After all, they would be
receiving the income. What would the work be?
How many hours would people be put to work for a basic income?
At what rate of pay would this be? Would the rates be
varied according to the going rate for the job? Would
"unemployed" basic income recipients be forced to
do those jobs which are so unattractive, dangerous or dirty
that an employer cannot or will not pay enough to hire anyone
to do them? Who will arrange the work? Who will
inspect the work? Who will say that the work done is
sufficient to warrant a basic income? Having said that,
some have argued that all citizens have an obligation to contribute
to socially necessary work in the community. Instead
of a basic income as such, there have been calls for a participation
income. To qualify one would have to be an employee,
self employed, unable to work but willing to do so but for
ill health, injury, disability or a lack of available paid
employment, a career for the young, elderly or disabled, undertaking
voluntary work or employed in some training or educational
endeavour. But then this would all call for an army
of office workers and inspectors to determine eligibility
and vet the work.
QUESTION 12. By eliminating the necessity to work to obtain an income
with the introduction of a basic income, would this not result
in a mass exodus from the labour market and cause harmful
probable. Whether or not someone works, and for how many
hours, depends on a variety of factors both of a personal and
social nature. The attraction of not working may depend
on the rate at which the universal basic income were
set. Someone in an unpleasant job, part time or full
time, which brings in only 10,000 a year might decide to
resign to live on a basic income of 6,000. Someone
earning 35,000 a year at a job which they enjoy and find
satisfaction in doing, and who has a life style which only
35,000 a year could support, might decide that living off a
basic income of 6,000 a year is not for them. There is
nothing to suppose that more people are going to loaf around
all day rather than be working. Research shows that
unemployed people generally want to work and show flexibility
in the type of job and wage levels they seek. Many
lottery winners at home and abroad stay in their same old jobs
while more of them start their own businesses, having the
assurance of financial security to do so.
Few people are
happy in complete idleness. Even the wealthy find that
they need to do something. If more people want to give
up jobs, and there are some jobs nobody would want were it
not for the money, then that is their choice. The result
however may be a lower basic income as, if there were less
output, notwithstanding automation, there will be less money
available to distribute. But that will be the freedom
QUESTION 13. If people knew that they had an assured income, then
surely they would not work so hard and diligently and
productivity would suffer, the country would lose out in the
global economy, causing jobs to be lost and there wouldn't be
enough tax to give everyone a basic income?
A. There is no
known evidence which shows that people with an assured income,
such as basic income, would not work as hard and as diligently
as they had done previously. People are motivated to
work, to participate in society, by a variety of things such
as financial security, family, habits, interests, rewards,
status, personal fulfilment, obligations, social interaction
and the need to feel creative, useful and productive.
There is nothing to suggest that the introduction of basic
income would result in losing out in the competitive global
economy. If a company or organisation were uncompetitive
jobs could be lost and taxable money reduced, but to suggest
that a basic income would create lazy unproductive workers
in sufficient numbers to adversely affect a tax intake is
to suggest a total collapse of industry. The level of
a basic income does not depend upon the total tax take, but
upon the amount of real wealth of goods and services available.
A collapse of industry would result in the loss of real wealth
and reduce the rate of the basic income.
QUESTION 14. Surely, as most political parties and economists have
advocated, it is better to put money into improving education
and training skills to help people fill the skilled jobs which
we should have to be competitive and lead to growth in the
alternative is to be an unskilled low wage economy doing
unskilled jobs which other countries would have us do for
and training is a political sound bite answer to the problems
of unemployment, disparity in wealth between the few rich and
increasing number of poor, and those struggling under a
mountain of debt and unfulfilled ambitions.
If education and
training were as vital as politicians tell us, and they are,
why is it that they are charging people to learn and/or to
obtain a skill and telling us all that tertiary education and
training cannot be afforded unless the students borrow money
from the private banks to pay for it?
If all the
labour forces of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa,
Zimbabwe, United States, the Arab world, India, Pakistan and
the European Union had degrees and technical skills, the
problems in each country of unemployment, underemployment,
income deficiency, inequality and insecurity would remain the
same as it is today. The fundamental problem is one of
income deficiency not lack of education and technical skills.
A good education is
a wonderful thing, and highly desirable. But education
is not only an economic policy - it must also be about preparing
for creativity and service.
QUESTION 15. What do critics of the basic income proposal say?
people opposed to the concept do so because it either clashes
with their own agenda, is a new idea for people opposed to
change, is contrary to their belief that everyone can only be
allowed to receive an income if they work for it, or they
really haven't understood how it could help them.
Basic income is
an idea so different from current thinking that it challenges
the imagination of those not used to doing other than
accepting what they have been told or what they have been used
to doing. Dismissive responses have been:-
it won't work
the idea needs more work
the workings are flawed
it is unsound
the time is not right
the banks won't accept
nobody understands it
it will encourage
What benefits are there in having a basic income for
A basic income for all would:-
be a fairer way
of income distribution
recognise in a
tangible way the unpaid role of care givers in society and
women as mothers
politicians and bureaucrats the power to decide who does
and who does not deserve an income
ensure that young
people need not have to leave their home district just to
obtain an adequate income through full time employment
financially be far
cheaper to administer than the current benefits system
be easier for people
to understand their entitlement
psychological advantages, freeing people from stress and
worry caused through the lack of an assured income
eliminate the social
stigma of unemployment
security for increased entrepreneurial development
These are but some
of the obvious benefits.