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Food shopping at dollar stores | Brantford Expositor – Brantford Expositor

Many of the community’s “working poor” appear to be getting their food from convenience stores instead of grocery stores, according the results of a recent survey.

“One possible reason for the use of convenience stores and dollar stores to buy food might be the lower upfront costs as compared to grocery stores,” according to a report prepared by the Brant Food System Coalition in partnership with the Brant County Health Unit that was presented to city councillors Tuesday night.

“Despite food from convenience stores and dollar stores being less in quantity and poorer in quality, the lower upfront cost may be a key factor for people who are on a limited budget.”

The coalition is urging further exploration of the issue.

The survey, conducted between July 2015 and April 2016, aimed to determine the barriers to getting food and to identify where people get food as well as gauge the awareness and interest in food-related programs. It followed a 2013-14 study by the health unit that found that 10 per cent of Brant households experience some degree of food insecurity.

The survey, completed by 309 people, also found higher incomes and improved access to transportation would help those who sometimes have difficulty securing enough food. It is not considered representative of the whole community because the respondents were clients of local food programs.

Most of the respondents were aged 20 to 39 and were single without dependents.

About 28 per cent said they were recovering from an illness or had a disability, while about 22 per cent said they were working either full- or part-time.

Almost half of respondents with jobs found it hard to get enough food sometimes or all the time, the survey found. Such individuals likely would be considered “working poor” — people who don’t earn enough money to live on, the report says.

“The survey results support the need for employers to pay a living wage for people to be able to lead a healthy, productive life, or a poverty reduction strategy such as the basic income guarantee,” the report says.

The cost of food also was a factor in some people not being able to get enough food, the report noted.

Despite the challenges, there is reason for optimism, Carol Haberman, a public health dietitian at the health unit, told councillors,

“There are exciting things happening with respect to the local food system,” said Haberman, citing the Brant Food Forum and the Action Against Poverty Forum.

There is also plan to develop an initiative to help bring food closer to those who are in need and have trouble getting to grocery stores, she said.

As well, the community is also part of the province’s basic income pilot project.

“It will be interesting to see how that impacts food insecurity,” she told councillors.

Haberman was also asked if an increase in the provincial minimum wage would help address some of the local challenges.

“It’s a good question but there are a lot of other factors that come into play,” Haberman said. “I can’t really say.

“We’ll have to wait and see.”

Haberman was also asked if she sees a lot of abuse of local programs that provide food to those in need.

“There may be a small number who may take advantage of the system but what I see is people in crisis,” said Haberman, adding that she would like to see a time when food banks were no longer necessary.

Going forward, the coalition aims to work with poverty reduction groups, continue to educate the public about the link between poverty and food insecurity and adapt food-related programs to meet local needs.

Brantford Expositor 2017

Here is the original post:

Food shopping at dollar stores | Brantford Expositor – Brantford Expositor

How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net – CityLab

Toby Melville/Reuters

In an age of employment uncertainty and a growing income gap, urban America needs to find new ways to support its citizens.

Think about the good jobs of the past. Whether it’s a much-lamented coal miner or a factory worker that pops in your head, what made their work good? It wasnt the day-to-day tasks themselves, but the economic security it providednot just the benefits and pay, but the stabilizing value it brought to individual households, communities, and society itself. In short, the good jobs of yesterday strengthened the safety net.

Today, we see the service sector replacing secure factory positions. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that restaurants are now creating more jobs than manufacturing and miningadding nearly 200,000 to the economy since January. As The Atlantics Derek Thompson recently wrote, these positions are responsible for big chunks of urban job growthmore than a third of Clevelands new hires since 2015 were in restaurants, for example. Many of these types of positions offer fewer, if any, benefits, more onerous and less predictable schedules, and a typical hourly salary of $12.50not a wage that supports a family in most of the country.

Such low-wage growing for now positions are also in a very tenuous position: Upwards of 47 percent of U.S. jobs at risk over the next two decades due to advances in technology, and workers earning below $20 per hour face a greater than 80 percent chance of displacement.

This age of employment uncertainty means that city leaders will need to help build a new urban safety net to help support their citizens. Its also an opportunity to right the wrongs in the existing system and infuse equity into the equation. Here are four ways cities can help prepare for the future of work.

Make benefits portable

On-demand and contract work has become increasingly common in the modern economy. Freelancers now make up 35 percent of the workforce, and since these gig-economy jobs don’t have benefits tied to employment, portable benefits are an option whose time has come. These benefits are connected to individuals rather than employers, and typically include paid leave, health insurance, workers compensation/unemployment, and some sort of retirement fund matching. Proposals for this type of system vary. Some suggest that benefits should be universal and administered by the government or a public/private institution created for such a purpose. Others say they should be administered by non-governmental community-based groups. Either way, portable benefits have the potential to support those who work outside the realm of the traditional 9-to-5 economy.

Most potential programs involve adding a surcharge to be paid by either the company or customer that would remit to a pool of funds for contract workers within a certain jurisdiction. The long-standing New York Black Car Fund is one such model, where fees are collected by the state from for-hire rides to help pay for workers compensation and other shared benefits. While it is still early to see a wide swath of initiatives carried out, in late 2016 the New York City Council proposed a law that would provide portable benefits to taxi and ride-hailing drivers. Additionally, legislative initiatives have been pursued in New York state and the state of Washington. There is even a proposal in Congress spearheaded by Senator Mark Warner of Virginiaso expect to see portable benefits explored more all across the country.

Require employers to provide paid leave

Women make up an ever-expanding portion of the workforceapproximately 47 percent of the U.S. workforce and the majority (51 percent) of workers in professional and technical occupations. And while studies show weve made strides in the disbursement of family and household responsibilities between men and women, existing policies put people with children at a distinct disadvantage. The U.S. only offers unpaid leave through the Family Medical Leave Act, making it an extreme outlier amongst other developed countries, which have robust paid leave requirements.

With little substantive movement on this issue at the federal level, many cities are moving to right this monumental wrong. In San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors mandated six weeks of paid parental leave for workers, and California followed suit with a statewide policy. This long-overdue policy gives parents the opportunity to maintain their careers while starting a family, helps organizations retain employees who might otherwise opt out for financial reasons, and brings stability to the workforce and economy.

Let people with criminal records join the workforce

Nearly a third of American adults have some type of criminal record, and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration policies.

More city leaders agree that past indiscretions shouldnt prevent citizens from contributing to society, and theyre doing something about it.

Reducing employment barriers for those with criminal records through efforts like ban-the-box, which discourages employers from requiring disclosure on job applications, creates opportunities to engage more people in the labor force. To date, more than 100 cities have taken measures to eliminate employment barriers for otherwise qualified individuals who have records. As corrections institutions shift their programs from punitive to rehabilitative, cities must reassess policies that keep individuals with non-violent criminal records from actively participating in the workforce.

Explore universal basic income

As income inequality deepens, one anti-poverty policy proposal thats gaining some global support is universal basic income (UBI), which would guarantee every citizen a regular, unconditional sum of money to bring people up to an economic baseline. A pilot project involving 100 households is currently taking place in Oakland through funding from Y-Combinator. Finland and Canada are running pilots funded by their national governments, and even here in the United States we held government-run city experiments in the 1970s. Proposed basic income programs share similarities to existing social welfare systems, with the major exception being that the benefit is universal and unconditionalregardless of age, ability, class, or participation in the workforce.

Advocates of UBI come from various camps, but generally fall into one of several categories. Many from the tech industry tout basic income as a way to counteract the economic blow of automation replacing jobs currently occupied by humans. Other supporters argue that basic income is more streamlined, efficient, and transparent than currently administered social welfare systems. Finally, there are some who endorse the idea of less work overallarguing that a basic income can free up the time individuals currently spend workingallowing people to pursue more creative and enjoyable pursuits.

All of this being said, in this particular moment in American political life, the idea of a national program that would support UBI is probably somewhere between slim to none. Many critiques of basic income center on how it will be sustainably funded and the cultural implications of instituting such a system. Even in more progressive countries in Europe, there has been a bit of resistance to wholly decoupling social support from work. In many ways, a number of the proponents for UBI are merely laying the groundwork for what is to comea time when automation and AI take hold more fully and disrupt a wide swath of the workforce.

What city leaders can really draw from this broader discussion is a need to plan more intently for workforce shifts, think critically about current versus future employment sectors, and re-examine how and if there are ways to support people independent of their role in the workforce. Regardless of the potential solutionsour National League of Cities research provides a broad array of ideas on how city leaders can approach the future of work and the period of great challenges but also great opportunities to come. It is a safe assumption that what is imagined as the future today might not come to passthere are a wide range of potential career paths that are not even on our radar screens.

Our current social safety net was built for a different age. The urbanizing America of the mid-20th century faced a myriad of distinctive challenges that precipitated the need for the foundational safety net createdSocial Security, Medicare, and more built strength in our society. Much of the privatized safety net we all now knowretirement plans, employer provided health care, and leave policiesgrew based on the construct of a single employer for a career. But, those times have faded and the urban America of today faces vastly different economic concerns. We need a re-imagined toolkit that focuses intently on broad scale wealth inequality and the urban-rural fractures that were hardly imaginable in the Greatest Generation era of our grandparents. Now is the time for cities to lead the country forward, innovate, experiment ferociously with nationally scalable solutions, and ultimately, build a safety net for 2017not 1947.

Brooks Rainwater is the Senior Executive and Director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities.

CityLab is committed to telling the story of the worlds cities: how they work, the challenges they face, and the solutions they need.

See original here:

How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net – CityLab

How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net – CityLab

Toby Melville/Reuters

In an age of employment uncertainty and a growing income gap, urban America needs to find new ways to support its citizens.

Think about the good jobs of the past. Whether it’s a much-lamented coal miner or a factory worker that pops in your head, what made their work good? It wasnt the day-to-day tasks themselves, but the economic security it providednot just the benefits and pay, but the stabilizing value it brought to individual households, communities, and society itself. In short, the good jobs of yesterday strengthened the safety net.

Today, we see the service sector replacing secure factory positions. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that restaurants are now creating more jobs than manufacturing and miningadding nearly 200,000 to the economy since January. As The Atlantics Derek Thompson recently wrote, these positions are responsible for big chunks of urban job growthmore than a third of Clevelands new hires since 2015 were in restaurants, for example. Many of these types of positions offer fewer, if any, benefits, more onerous and less predictable schedules, and a typical hourly salary of $12.50not a wage that supports a family in most of the country.

Such low-wage growing for now positions are also in a very tenuous position: Upwards of 47 percent of U.S. jobs at risk over the next two decades due to advances in technology, and workers earning below $20 per hour face a greater than 80 percent chance of displacement.

This age of employment uncertainty means that city leaders will need to help build a new urban safety net to help support their citizens. Its also an opportunity to right the wrongs in the existing system and infuse equity into the equation. Here are four ways cities can help prepare for the future of work.

Make benefits portable

On-demand and contract work has become increasingly common in the modern economy. Freelancers now make up 35 percent of the workforce, and since these gig-economy jobs don’t have benefits tied to employment, portable benefits are an option whose time has come. These benefits are connected to individuals rather than employers, and typically include paid leave, health insurance, workers compensation/unemployment, and some sort of retirement fund matching. Proposals for this type of system vary. Some suggest that benefits should be universal and administered by the government or a public/private institution created for such a purpose. Others say they should be administered by non-governmental community-based groups. Either way, portable benefits have the potential to support those who work outside the realm of the traditional 9-to-5 economy.

Most potential programs involve adding a surcharge to be paid by either the company or customer that would remit to a pool of funds for contract workers within a certain jurisdiction. The long-standing New York Black Car Fund is one such model, where fees are collected by the state from for-hire rides to help pay for workers compensation and other shared benefits. While it is still early to see a wide swath of initiatives carried out, in late 2016 the New York City Council proposed a law that would provide portable benefits to taxi and ride-hailing drivers. Additionally, legislative initiatives have been pursued in New York state and the state of Washington. There is even a proposal in Congress spearheaded by Senator Mark Warner of Virginiaso expect to see portable benefits explored more all across the country.

Require employers to provide paid leave

Women make up an ever-expanding portion of the workforceapproximately 47 percent of the U.S. workforce and the majority (51 percent) of workers in professional and technical occupations. And while studies show weve made strides in the disbursement of family and household responsibilities between men and women, existing policies put people with children at a distinct disadvantage. The U.S. only offers unpaid leave through the Family Medical Leave Act, making it an extreme outlier amongst other developed countries, which have robust paid leave requirements.

With little substantive movement on this issue at the federal level, many cities are moving to right this monumental wrong. In San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors mandated six weeks of paid parental leave for workers, and California followed suit with a statewide policy. This long-overdue policy gives parents the opportunity to maintain their careers while starting a family, helps organizations retain employees who might otherwise opt out for financial reasons, and brings stability to the workforce and economy.

Let people with criminal records join the workforce

Nearly a third of American adults have some type of criminal record, and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration policies.

More city leaders agree that past indiscretions shouldnt prevent citizens from contributing to society, and theyre doing something about it.

Reducing employment barriers for those with criminal records through efforts like ban-the-box, which discourages employers from requiring disclosure on job applications, creates opportunities to engage more people in the labor force. To date, more than 100 cities have taken measures to eliminate employment barriers for otherwise qualified individuals who have records. As corrections institutions shift their programs from punitive to rehabilitative, cities must reassess policies that keep individuals with non-violent criminal records from actively participating in the workforce.

Explore universal basic income

As income inequality deepens, one anti-poverty policy proposal thats gaining some global support is universal basic income (UBI), which would guarantee every citizen a regular, unconditional sum of money to bring people up to an economic baseline. A pilot project involving 100 households is currently taking place in Oakland through funding from Y-Combinator. Finland and Canada are running pilots funded by their national governments, and even here in the United States we held government-run city experiments in the 1970s. Proposed basic income programs share similarities to existing social welfare systems, with the major exception being that the benefit is universal and unconditionalregardless of age, ability, class, or participation in the workforce.

Advocates of UBI come from various camps, but generally fall into one of several categories. Many from the tech industry tout basic income as a way to counteract the economic blow of automation replacing jobs currently occupied by humans. Other supporters argue that basic income is more streamlined, efficient, and transparent than currently administered social welfare systems. Finally, there are some who endorse the idea of less work overallarguing that a basic income can free up the time individuals currently spend workingallowing people to pursue more creative and enjoyable pursuits.

All of this being said, in this particular moment in American political life, the idea of a national program that would support UBI is probably somewhere between slim to none. Many critiques of basic income center on how it will be sustainably funded and the cultural implications of instituting such a system. Even in more progressive countries in Europe, there has been a bit of resistance to wholly decoupling social support from work. In many ways, a number of the proponents for UBI are merely laying the groundwork for what is to comea time when automation and AI take hold more fully and disrupt a wide swath of the workforce.

What city leaders can really draw from this broader discussion is a need to plan more intently for workforce shifts, think critically about current versus future employment sectors, and re-examine how and if there are ways to support people independent of their role in the workforce. Regardless of the potential solutionsour National League of Cities research provides a broad array of ideas on how city leaders can approach the future of work and the period of great challenges but also great opportunities to come. It is a safe assumption that what is imagined as the future today might not come to passthere are a wide range of potential career paths that are not even on our radar screens.

Our current social safety net was built for a different age. The urbanizing America of the mid-20th century faced a myriad of distinctive challenges that precipitated the need for the foundational safety net createdSocial Security, Medicare, and more built strength in our society. Much of the privatized safety net we all now knowretirement plans, employer provided health care, and leave policiesgrew based on the construct of a single employer for a career. But, those times have faded and the urban America of today faces vastly different economic concerns. We need a re-imagined toolkit that focuses intently on broad scale wealth inequality and the urban-rural fractures that were hardly imaginable in the Greatest Generation era of our grandparents. Now is the time for cities to lead the country forward, innovate, experiment ferociously with nationally scalable solutions, and ultimately, build a safety net for 2017not 1947.

Brooks Rainwater is the Senior Executive and Director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities.

CityLab is committed to telling the story of the worlds cities: how they work, the challenges they face, and the solutions they need.

See the rest here:

How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net – CityLab

How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net – CityLab

Toby Melville/Reuters

In an age of employment uncertainty and a growing income gap, urban America needs to find new ways to support its citizens.

Think about the good jobs of the past. Whether it’s a much-lamented coal miner or a factory worker that pops in your head, what made their work good? It wasnt the day-to-day tasks themselves, but the economic security it providednot just the benefits and pay, but the stabilizing value it brought to individual households, communities, and society itself. In short, the good jobs of yesterday strengthened the safety net.

Today, we see the service sector replacing secure factory positions. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that restaurants are now creating more jobs than manufacturing and miningadding nearly 200,000 to the economy since January. As The Atlantics Derek Thompson recently wrote, these positions are responsible for big chunks of urban job growthmore than a third of Clevelands new hires since 2015 were in restaurants, for example. Many of these types of positions offer fewer, if any, benefits, more onerous and less predictable schedules, and a typical hourly salary of $12.50not a wage that supports a family in most of the country.

Such low-wage growing for now positions are also in a very tenuous position: Upwards of 47 percent of U.S. jobs at risk over the next two decades due to advances in technology, and workers earning below $20 per hour face a greater than 80 percent chance of displacement.

This age of employment uncertainty means that city leaders will need to help build a new urban safety net to help support their citizens. Its also an opportunity to right the wrongs in the existing system and infuse equity into the equation. Here are four ways cities can help prepare for the future of work.

Make benefits portable

On-demand and contract work has become increasingly common in the modern economy. Freelancers now make up 35 percent of the workforce, and since these gig-economy jobs don’t have benefits tied to employment, portable benefits are an option whose time has come. These benefits are connected to individuals rather than employers, and typically include paid leave, health insurance, workers compensation/unemployment, and some sort of retirement fund matching. Proposals for this type of system vary. Some suggest that benefits should be universal and administered by the government or a public/private institution created for such a purpose. Others say they should be administered by non-governmental community-based groups. Either way, portable benefits have the potential to support those who work outside the realm of the traditional 9-to-5 economy.

Most potential programs involve adding a surcharge to be paid by either the company or customer that would remit to a pool of funds for contract workers within a certain jurisdiction. The long-standing New York Black Car Fund is one such model, where fees are collected by the state from for-hire rides to help pay for workers compensation and other shared benefits. While it is still early to see a wide swath of initiatives carried out, in late 2016 the New York City Council proposed a law that would provide portable benefits to taxi and ride-hailing drivers. Additionally, legislative initiatives have been pursued in New York state and the state of Washington. There is even a proposal in Congress spearheaded by Senator Mark Warner of Virginiaso expect to see portable benefits explored more all across the country.

Require employers to provide paid leave

Women make up an ever-expanding portion of the workforceapproximately 47 percent of the U.S. workforce and the majority (51 percent) of workers in professional and technical occupations. And while studies show weve made strides in the disbursement of family and household responsibilities between men and women, existing policies put people with children at a distinct disadvantage. The U.S. only offers unpaid leave through the Family Medical Leave Act, making it an extreme outlier amongst other developed countries, which have robust paid leave requirements.

With little substantive movement on this issue at the federal level, many cities are moving to right this monumental wrong. In San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors mandated six weeks of paid parental leave for workers, and California followed suit with a statewide policy. This long-overdue policy gives parents the opportunity to maintain their careers while starting a family, helps organizations retain employees who might otherwise opt out for financial reasons, and brings stability to the workforce and economy.

Let people with criminal records join the workforce

Nearly a third of American adults have some type of criminal record, and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration policies.

More city leaders agree that past indiscretions shouldnt prevent citizens from contributing to society, and theyre doing something about it.

Reducing employment barriers for those with criminal records through efforts like ban-the-box, which discourages employers from requiring disclosure on job applications, creates opportunities to engage more people in the labor force. To date, more than 100 cities have taken measures to eliminate employment barriers for otherwise qualified individuals who have records. As corrections institutions shift their programs from punitive to rehabilitative, cities must reassess policies that keep individuals with non-violent criminal records from actively participating in the workforce.

Explore universal basic income

As income inequality deepens, one anti-poverty policy proposal thats gaining some global support is universal basic income (UBI), which would guarantee every citizen a regular, unconditional sum of money to bring people up to an economic baseline. A pilot project involving 100 households is currently taking place in Oakland through funding from Y-Combinator. Finland and Canada are running pilots funded by their national governments, and even here in the United States we held government-run city experiments in the 1970s. Proposed basic income programs share similarities to existing social welfare systems, with the major exception being that the benefit is universal and unconditionalregardless of age, ability, class, or participation in the workforce.

Advocates of UBI come from various camps, but generally fall into one of several categories. Many from the tech industry tout basic income as a way to counteract the economic blow of automation replacing jobs currently occupied by humans. Other supporters argue that basic income is more streamlined, efficient, and transparent than currently administered social welfare systems. Finally, there are some who endorse the idea of less work overallarguing that a basic income can free up the time individuals currently spend workingallowing people to pursue more creative and enjoyable pursuits.

All of this being said, in this particular moment in American political life, the idea of a national program that would support UBI is probably somewhere between slim to none. Many critiques of basic income center on how it will be sustainably funded and the cultural implications of instituting such a system. Even in more progressive countries in Europe, there has been a bit of resistance to wholly decoupling social support from work. In many ways, a number of the proponents for UBI are merely laying the groundwork for what is to comea time when automation and AI take hold more fully and disrupt a wide swath of the workforce.

What city leaders can really draw from this broader discussion is a need to plan more intently for workforce shifts, think critically about current versus future employment sectors, and re-examine how and if there are ways to support people independent of their role in the workforce. Regardless of the potential solutionsour National League of Cities research provides a broad array of ideas on how city leaders can approach the future of work and the period of great challenges but also great opportunities to come. It is a safe assumption that what is imagined as the future today might not come to passthere are a wide range of potential career paths that are not even on our radar screens.

Our current social safety net was built for a different age. The urbanizing America of the mid-20th century faced a myriad of distinctive challenges that precipitated the need for the foundational safety net createdSocial Security, Medicare, and more built strength in our society. Much of the privatized safety net we all now knowretirement plans, employer provided health care, and leave policiesgrew based on the construct of a single employer for a career. But, those times have faded and the urban America of today faces vastly different economic concerns. We need a re-imagined toolkit that focuses intently on broad scale wealth inequality and the urban-rural fractures that were hardly imaginable in the Greatest Generation era of our grandparents. Now is the time for cities to lead the country forward, innovate, experiment ferociously with nationally scalable solutions, and ultimately, build a safety net for 2017not 1947.

Brooks Rainwater is the Senior Executive and Director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities.

CityLab is committed to telling the story of the worlds cities: how they work, the challenges they face, and the solutions they need.

Read more here:

How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net – CityLab

After lifting minimum wage, NDP government prepares to consult public about reducing poverty – Straight.com

The B.C. NDP government hopes to have a poverty-reduction strategy in place by next year.

Thats according to Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson.

At this month’s Vancouver Pride parade, Simpson told the Straightthat the province has had “flat wage growth” for well over a decade.

He also said that about 500,000 British Columbians are living in povertyand theyre not all on income assistance or disability benefits.

Half of those people are the working poor, Simpson stated. Theyve got a full-time paycheque coming into the house.

The government plans to address this by increasing the minimum wage in the hope that it will encourage employers to raise their workers pay.

Others have taken the trickle-down approach to economic benefits being distributed, Simpson noted, referring to the Gordon Campbell governments decision to cut everyones income tax by 25 percent when it took power in 2001. Were going to push it from the bottom up.

On August 15, Premier John Horgan announced that the minimum wage would increase by 50 cents an hour next month to $11.35 per hour.

He’s also promised to boost it to $15 per hour by the end of the NDP government’s first term in office.

One of the Horgan governments earliest moves was increasing income-assistance rates by $100 per month.

Meanwhile, Simpson said there will soon be a public-consultation process in advance of introducing legislation on a poverty-reduction strategy.

The objective, according to Simpson, is to involve all ministries that can play a role, including those that oversee housing, childcare, income assistance, and education.

Well bring them all together and, hopefully, be able to develop some strategies working with people in the community to start to break the cycle of poverty that captures people and captures families, he said. Its incredibly hard for them to break that. It tends to go on for generations.

Simpson stressed the importance of providing meaningful opportunities for poor people to participate in government consultations.

Were going to craft a way to do that, Simpson promised.

He also said that the NDP government is committed to creating and measuring the results of a basic-income pilot project in B.C.

The minister suggested it might take three years to generate sufficient data for the government to draw conclusions.

Theres a similar pilot under way in Ontario. But one of the challenges is how to deal with public pensions, which fall under federal jurisdiction.

Advocates of a basic-income guarantee say it will provide everyone with sufficient money to meet basic needs and live in dignity, regardless of their employment status.

Some people are quite supportive of it, others are a little more skeptical about whether it can work, Simpson said. Im not certain one way or the other, but I think its worth a look.

When he was an opposition MLA, Simpson often made the case for a provincial poverty-reduction plan.

His private member’s bill on this issue in 2011 called for a minister responsible for poverty reduction to publish an annual report detailing the state of poverty in B.C.

In addition, the bill called for independent comment from an advisory committee, and reporting on the progress toward implementing a strategy, the attainment of goals and specific objectives and performance measures, and recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the strategy.

It also included a section requiring consultation with B.C. residents living in poverty, as well as with other levels of government, First Nations, nonprofit groups, the business community, academics, and the trade-union community.

The rest is here:

After lifting minimum wage, NDP government prepares to consult public about reducing poverty – Straight.com

Universal Basic Infrastructure to help decrease India’s poverty – Economic Times

With over 200 million people still below the poverty line and a similar number earning barely enough, much needs to be done to improve their lives. While faster growth is an obvious antidote, the view that some sort of universal basic income (UBI) may be needed to provide immediate relief is gaining currency. The UBI must be embraced in a deliberate, phased manner as it allows reform to occur incrementally weighing the costs and benefits at every step, the Economic Survey of FY17 had said.

The idea of universal income support has been under discussion for several years but the first real push was given by chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian in the Survey. While UBI could be more of an imperative in developed countries where manufacturing and services are moving to the developing world, India has tremendous scope for improving job creation along with strengthening its social infrastructure that in turn could lift millions out of poverty. As a result, the idea, which has seen some global success, is yet to take root in India.

According to the Survey, identified beneficiaries can be given a choice of UBI instead of subsidies under existing programmes. Based on FY12 level of distribution and consumption, the Survey estimated the income needed to take one person out of poverty at Rs 7,620 per year.

The Survey said UBI that reduces poverty to 0.5% of population would cost 4-5% of GDP, assuming that those in top 25% income bracket do not participate. The existing middleclass, food, petroleum and fertiliser sops cost about 3% of GDP. While DK Pant, chief economist of India Ratings, is in sync with the proposal to replace other subsidies with UBI, he is apprehensive of how best can beneficiaries be identified.

Unless you identify beneficiaries, the government will not be able to assess cost implications. The next challenge will be to monitor the progress. However, ensuring that all citizens have the right to a minimum income as a long-term solution to reduce poverty seems to be a distant dream with not many in the government and academia believing the option is viable.

Even if you take 2011-12 urban poverty line as Rs 1,000 in nominal terms, per person it translates into Rs 15 trillion for a population of 1.25 billion whereas the Central budget is somewhere (in the region of) Rs 21 trillion.

Hence, it is not fiscally feasible, outgoing Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya said. He said the socioeconomic and caste census available can help identify beneficiaries while the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme enables self-identification. Most experts believe that before supplementing the income of countrys over 200 million poor, India should put in place basic infrastructure for health, education, sanitation and drinking water to ensure a basic standard of living.

India still has a huge deficit on the social infrastructure side and unless we ramp up… there is no point in giving a little extra income,said another senior government official requesting not to be identified. The official said UBI has become imperative in developed countries to ensure a peaceful society or their youth will become disruptive in the wake of jobs migrating overseas.

UBI is not a bad idea but does the country have that much money? …it is essential that government significantly increase its expenditure on creation of social infrastructure which will help to bring poor people into the mainstream, said Himanshu, assistant professor of economics at JNU.

Continue reading here:

Universal Basic Infrastructure to help decrease India’s poverty – Economic Times

New Zealand Fabians host Basic Income panel – Basic Income News

On August 31, the New Zealand Fabian Society will host a panel discussion on basic income, led by BIEN cofounder Guy Standing, as part of its seminar series in Auckland.

Standing, who has recently published Basic Income: And How We Can Make it Happen, will be delivering a lecture titled Basic Income: the case for a significant new policy.

Two commentators will respond to Standings talk: Sue Bradford, a former Green MP, political activist, and founding member and former coordinator of Auckland Action Against Poverty, and Keith Rankin, an economic historian who has written extensively on basic income.

The event will conclude with a 20-minute debate on the issue of whether an income guarantee policy should be targeted or universal.

Details and registration are available on the NZ Fabian Society website here.

The New Zealand Fabian Society, a policy forum devoted to exploring progressive policy and economic reforms, has been active in promoting discussion of basic income.

In February 2016, the organization initiated its 2016 series of events with a presentation titled A UBI for New Zealand: on the cards, but is it the answer? by Rankin and economist Susan Guthrie. (Guthrie is the coauthor of The Big Kahuna and other work with Gareth Morganthe economist and businessman whose new political party, The Opportunity Party, has recently made a basic income for elders and young children part of its campaign platform.)

The NZ Fabian Society has also collaborated with BIENs affiliate Basic Income New Zealand (BINZ) by helping to organize some of events held in connection with BINZs basic income roadshow for Basic Income Week 2016, and supported past lectures by Guy Standing in Auckland. In March 2016, the NZ Fabian Society hosted Standing at an event in Christchurch, where he spoke on the theme of his previous book, rentier capitalism and the coming precariat revolt (video below).

Phil Harington, an active member of NZ Fabian Society and lecturer in sociology and social policy at the University of Auckland, explains that a key object of the Fabians is strengthen public confidence in progressive reforms. The arguments for basic income, he states, make a plausible argument for rethinking the very principles we need to apply in core policy and economic creativity alongside a concern to rethink the tax side of the income pool to increase social equity and participation.

Thanks to Phil Harington for information about the upcoming event as well as past efforts of the New Zealand Fabians.

Cover photo: Auckland Skyline

Kate McFarland has written 464 articles.

Kate has previously made a living as a professional student, with her most recent academic interests including philosophy of language and pragmatics. She has been a writer and reporter for Basic Income News since March 2016, and she received an Economic Security Project grant work 2017 in support of her work. She also accepts donations on Patreon (although she is in the process of moving to a platform for one-time donations), where she explains a little more about her role in the UBI community.

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New Zealand Fabians host Basic Income panel – Basic Income News

Hashtag Trending Battery-free phone, Apple’s China backlash – IT World Canada

Apples in hot water again, a battery-free phone, and another tech giant is backing universal basic income.

Starting with Twitter, researchers in the U.S. have unveiled a prototype of a battery-free mobile phone using technology that it hopes will eventually be integrated into mass-market products. The phone charges itself by harvesting tiny amounts of power from radio frequency waves, which are used all around us for things like broadcasting FM or AM radio, in cell phone towers, and more. The first prototype was just built and looks more like a circuit board than a phone right now, but the researchers say they plan to release an actual product within eight or nine months.

From Reddit, Apple is facing a lot of criticism following its decision to comply with the Chinese governments request for it to remove VPN apps or virtual private networks, which allow users to access a temporary IP address and hide their own to browse anonymously from its App Store in the country. Apple has removed 400 of these apps so far and people in China are upset because with the governments strict regulation of the Internet, these VPNs were the key to accessing blocked sites and making sure theyre not tracked by the authorities.

And on Google Trends today, we have another tech giant backing universal basic income, a concept that would guarantee a cash payment to every resident in a country regardless of their employment status. Many people are saying this safety net will be necessary with so many job losses expected to come as a result of the rapid evolution of technology, and Slacks CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield is jumping on the bandwagon along with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Hashtag Trending Battery-free phone, Apple’s China backlash – IT World Canada

Universal basic income proponent to speak in Boise – Idaho Press-Tribune

One thing I learned right away in college philosophy is one of my weak points. After hours puzzling how desk can be considered abstract, I decided it really didnt make a difference at least not to me.

So I havent paid much attention to the works from think tanks. I once learned that a conservative one wants to sell various rights to federal lands e.g., mining, access, lumber, recreation and soon found that the conservatives I know were stunned to hear it.

Similarly, many Idaho Libertarians have no idea their think tanks support abolishing public schools and roads. They think their party stands for individual rights, not destruction of infrastructure.

So, even though I knew of the American Enterprise Institute one of the older, more prestigious conservative think tanks I had no idea that any of its fellows supported universal basic income. Then Violet Harris one of the thousands in the area more philosophical than I sent me links.

Under universal basic income, the U.S. government would guarantee everyone a basic income and mail out billions in checks every month.

AEI fellow Charles Murray published his second book about UBI in 2016, In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State. In it, Murray claims the government could save money by ending all current social welfare payments think food stamps, Medicaid, Social Security, Earned Income Credit, etc. and mailing $10,000 a year in monthly installments to every person over 21. An additional $3,000 would pay for health insurance covering catastrophes. Payments would be reduced for those making over $30,000 a year with people making over $60,000 still receiving $5,000 a year.

To those who say that no one can live on $10,000 a year, Murray argues such a stipend would improve lives significantly for those who can only find minimum-wage or part-time jobs. And his program would encourage people to live together and pool their money. (Doesnt the current system do that?)

Murray claims that we must make the change because current welfare programs discourage people from entering the workforce, advances in artificial intelligence will soon wipe out many good-paying jobs, current programs face solvency problems, and there is too much bureaucracy.

Murray appears to be a caring person whos seeking a way to help.

Still, the need for his plan doesnt hold up.

For the past 25 years, welfare programs (think EIC) have encouraged and rewarded recipients who go to work. The percent participating in the workforce changes with the availability of jobs, not welfare.

Past gains in new technology has always led to more jobs, not fewer. We should be working to see this continues rather than mailing everyone money.

A growing economy and some small tweaks can solve the solvency problems. Social Securitys overhead is only 0.5 percent, and costs of Medicare and Medicaid have grown more slowly than health care in general.

More important there are major inequities in Murrays universal basic income.

Every person over 21 there is no support, not even additional insurance, for children.

Health insurance covering catastrophes with coverage limited, people tend to forgo continuing care; health care costs are higher and outcomes worse.

$10,000 a year Social Security payments now average $15,444 annually. Senior citizens many not capable of working would take a 35 percent cut.

I believe even those who support Murrays version of universal basic income dont see Congress ever accepting it.

Want to know more? Charles Murray will speak in Boise at the annual Idaho Freedom Foundation annual banquet on Aug. 26.

Judy Ferro is a former state committeewoman for Canyon County Democrats. Email her at idadem@yahoo.com.

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Universal basic income proponent to speak in Boise – Idaho Press-Tribune

Let’s talk about a supplemental income – The Hindu

There has been a lot of discussion on universal basic income (UBI) in both developed and developing countries. The primary objective is to enable every citizen to have a certain minimum income. The term universal is meant to connote that the minimum or basic income will be provided to everyone irrespective of whatever their current income is. The adoption of a universal basic income can impose a burden on the fisc which is well beyond the capabilities of most developing countries, including India. In discussing the applicability of the concept of basic income to India, three questions arise. The first is whether it should be universal or restricted; the second is what the level of minimum income is and how this is to be determined; and the third is about the financing mechanism for implementing such a scheme.

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Above all, there is a philosophical question, whether support to vulnerable sections should be in the form of goods and services or as cash. Cash gives the discretion to beneficiaries to spend it any way they like. But it is assumed they would be wise in their discretion. On the other hand, the provision of services or goods directly to beneficiaries may be directed to achieve certain objectives in terms of nutrition or health or education. In the provision of services, the concern is about leakages and quality of service. Some countries have adopted a middle path of conditional transfers, which means that transfers in the form of cash are subject to the condition that they are spent on meeting defined needs.

However, as far as India is concerned, we are not starting with a clean state. There are a whole lot of services provided by the state, and it would be impossible to knock them off and substitute them with general income support. We need to think of income support as a supplement to services already provided even though a hard look at some of the provisions is absolutely essential. Poor quality of services from government-run institutions has become a matter of concern.

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Coming to the concept of the UBI, it is necessary to first decide whether income supplements should be universal or limited to certain easily identifiable groups. Most calculations involving the provision of income to one and all are beyond the capabilities of the present Central government Budget unless the basic income is fixed at too low a level. It is extremely difficult to cut so-called implied subsidies or hidden subsidies in order to fund resources, as some proponents argue. These supports range from subsidised bus fares to subsidised power tariff. The attempt must be to think in terms of reducing the number of beneficiaries using easily definable criteria. Elaborate exercises for identification will defeat the purpose. It is true that a universal scheme is easy to implement. Feasibility is the critical question. There is also the consideration of fairness. But strict targeting will run into complex problems of identification.

The issue whether the scheme should be universal or restricted depends on the level of basic income that is proposed to be provided. If we were to treat the cut-off used to define poverty as the minimum income, then the total fiscal burden would be enormous. This apart, there is no consensus regarding what that cut-off should be. Our analysis using different poverty lines shows that poverty is concentrated around the poverty line. In fact, more than 60% of the total poor lies between 75% of the poverty line and the poverty line. Therefore, what is needed is a supplement to fill the poverty gap. One alternative would be to determine the required income supplement from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The total annual income supplement can be equivalent to 100 days of the wages prescribed under the MGNREGS. This is equivalent to 20,000 per year. This amount can be treated as the income supplement.

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The next question is who the beneficiaries should be. Here again, it is difficult to cover the entire population. Even providing one person per household with this income will mean 5 lakh crore per annum, which is 3.3% of GDP. Perhaps what is feasible is a scheme which limits the total expenditure to around 1.5 to 2% of GDP, which is between 2 lakh crore and 3 lakh crore. We need to evolve a criterion which can restrict the total cost to this amount. One way of doing it will be to limit it to all women above the age of 45. This is an easily identifiable criterion because Aadhaar cards feature the age of the person. However, this is only one alternative. But others may be thought of. Restricting the beneficiaries to the elderly or widows or those with disabilities may have only a limited impact. Making available a minimum of 20,000 per year for almost 10 crore people which means a total expenditure of 2 lakh crore must make a dent on poverty since at least half of them would be for the poor or people a little above the poverty line.

The feasibility of raising even 2 lakh crore is not easy. Some analysts have suggested that we can remove all exemptions in our tax system which would give us enough money. Apart from the difficulties in removing all exemptions, tax experts advocate removing exemptions so that the basic tax rate can be reduced. Perhaps, out of the 2 lakh crore which is needed, 1 lakh crore can come from the phasing out of some of the expenditures while the remainder must come from raising additional revenue. Perhaps, one can phase out the MGNREGS, which will realise close to 40,000 crore. The employment scheme is very akin to the proposed scheme. Fertilizer subsidies are another item of expenditure which can be eliminated. Perhaps, requesting higher income groups to forego supplemental income will reduce the expenditure, as has been done successfully in the case of cooking gas.

To conclude, introducing the UBI is unrealistic. In fact, the concept of a basic income must be turned essentially into a supplemental income. Such a scheme will be feasible provided we restrict the beneficiaries to groups which can be easily identified. This restriction essentially comes from fiscal compulsions. Regarding finances, it is not easy to remove all implicit subsidies. The design for financing the scheme has to be viewed in a more pragmatic way. Restricting the fiscal burden to 1.5 to 2% of GDP seems desirable and feasible. Half of this can come from phasing out some of the existing expenditures while the other half can come by raising fresh revenue. Lastly, the proposal here refers only to the income supplement that can be provided by the Central government. Similar efforts can be made by the respective State governments, if they so desire.

C. Rangarajan is a former Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and a former Governor, Reserve Bank of India. S. Mahendra Dev is Director and Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai

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Let’s talk about a supplemental income – The Hindu

Is a Well-Paying Job the next Entitlement Program? – Big Think (blog)

Here at Big Think we like to talk about the basic income guarantee. While the basic income is an interesting idea, objections to it abound. Also, it isnt the only idea for ending poverty making the rounds. While the basic income gets a lot of press, there’s another idea: the Job Guarantee.

What is it?

The Job Guarantee is a policy proposal that would have the state function as an employer of last resort; always having public works projects in action to assure that any person looking for work is going to be able to find a job. That job might not be glamorous or conveniently located, but it will exist.

Such a plan would not end unemployment outright, but would rather assure that the rate is always near a low target. While most proposals set the target unemployment rate near three percent, that rate has been as high as six percent in others. It is based not only on economic questions, but also on the pragmatic question of how many people would take the work offered.

Is this a new idea?

No, the idea was formalized by Bill Mitchel and Joan Muysken decades ago. However, the principle goes back to the New Deal in the United States when agencies like the Civilian Conservation Corps and WPA offered work to the unemployed when the market failed to provide it. In the United Kingdom it goes back to the work of William Beveridge, notably the book Total Employment in a Free Society, which reached the conclusion that the state could assure total employment by a variety of means consistent with a liberal, capitalist, society.

Has it been tried?

In the United States, the bill known as Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act states the Federal Government can institute this policy- but no action has ever been taken along these linesdespite unemployment often being above the bills suggested level of three percent.

Currently, India has the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which aims to provide work in impoverished areas. While criticism the projects has been made, independent studies show it does have a positive effect on the people and areas it serves. It is, however, less comprehensive than many theorists would have liked. Though it does employ many people and provide needed infrastructure work in isolated areas.

What are the upsides?

The benefits of attempts at job guarantees have included reduced poverty and the ills associated with unemployment, including issues with health, family problems, drug use, and high crime rates. Supporters also argue that it can lead to stability of both prices and economic growth by assuring the unemployment rate never spikes.

Well, this sounds pretty good, what are the downsides?

There are a few, one objection of course is that such a policy calls for major government intervention in the economy; an idea opposed by many people for various reasons. The project could also cause inflation if not managed properly. The risk of politicians using assured employment to create a pool of loyal voters has also been a hurdle to the creation of new projects.

There is also a practical problem to consider. While it may be possible to assure that there are more open job positions than unemployed workers at any time, it may prove impossible for that work to be useful, attractive, and accessible. While there will be a demand for people to pave roads in Northern Alaska at some point, it will prove difficult to get people to move there to do it at a low cost. At the same time, you could employ everyone digging and filling in holes, but would have a hard time selling it to voters as being useful.

And more recently, the question of how automation would influence attempts to have productive work for everyone is also currently unsolved.

How we are going to organize the economy is always a pressing question. With the pressures of automation and globalization becoming stronger all the time, the question takes on new dimensions. Will the right to have a job be the next freedom enjoyed by people all over the world? Or will the idea end up as a trivial notion in a history of economics class?

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Is a Well-Paying Job the next Entitlement Program? – Big Think (blog)

DON PRIDMORE: Be careful what you wish for… – The Guardian

The intent for an income guarantee is laudable. We all want to see people do well, particularly the most vulnerable. But will the results be those that are intended? To me, there is a fundamental problem with the concept. Income guarantees address the symptom of poverty, not the causes. Perhaps a fable will illustrate this point. Once upon a time, in a place not unlike our own, there was a medical clinic. It had many doctors and nurses but there always seemed to be unmet needs; people waiting, maladies untreated. The administrator of the clinic took note that there was a common denominator for all the patients they were all in pain or discomfort. So he came up with a simple, all-inclusive solution. He laid off the medical staff, provided all clients with pain relievers and sent them home. It started off not badly. Everyones most immediate need was met. For some it actually worked out well. They had relief and they progressed to better and sustained health. For most, however, not so much. They needed stitching, or medications, or therapy or other services. Whats worse, for some patients the process developed a dependence on pain relief. They never did recover. Now, back to reality, nobody would ever run a medical clinic this way. Yet is this not the approach of an income guarantee? If people are poor, give them some income. People fall into poverty for many reasons. It could be a lack of education or training, health problems, family issues, mental health challenges, low wages, poor economy, etc. While the guarantee would provide immediate relief, it wouldnt address the limiting issues. Worse, it would almost definitely create dependence. This is critical because our sense of well being often revolves around work and productivity. It is unintended by the authors, but an income guarantee would be a disincentive to work. It would serve not to enable people but to sedate them. Advocates would respond that there is no reason a guarantee couldnt be combined with support measures to better address these barriers. Perhaps, but this is where a critical question comes in where will the money come from? An income guarantee is enormously expensive. Some of the cost would have to come from new money; there is just no other way. But some of the funding would have to be taken from existing programs. Employment insurance, job creation, community development, counselling service and others would all be on the chopping block. In most cases, it would be the very services low income people most depend upon. And what of the savings projected for reduced demand on things such as health care and the criminal justice system? Even if demand did fall, what politician would be bold enough to cut something like health care? Look to the example of education. Did fewer children in the system lead to reduced spending? This is not to say that educational spending should have been reduced (it shouldnt) but it does say that the idea that a guarantee will result in savings is highly suspect. Personally, I would very much love to have a simple, all embracing cure for poverty. But I think we should be directing our energies to the more complex set of tasks around economic development, income incentives, disability benefits, childcare, social assistance and support services. A basic income guarantee would be prohibitively expensive, would result in a work disincentive and would fail to come to grips with why people fall behind. The sentiment is good but the product is in need of a rethink.

– Don Pridmore, of Charlottetown, is a retired civil servant. He worked for the Department of Health and Social Services in the 1990s.

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DON PRIDMORE: Be careful what you wish for… – The Guardian

EDITORIAL: Island needs dollars, not data, to cope with poverty – The Guardian


The Guardian
EDITORIAL: Island needs dollars, not data, to cope with poverty
The Guardian
It may seem repetitious, but the fact remains that this Island still needs federal funding to get a basic income guarantee pilot project off the ground. So far, as we've chronicled in past issues, the Trudeau government has only been willing to offer

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EDITORIAL: Island needs dollars, not data, to cope with poverty – The Guardian

Renfrew County dietitian recognized by board of health for provincial award – www.insideottawavalley.com/


http://www.insideottawavalley.com/
Renfrew County dietitian recognized by board of health for provincial award
http://www.insideottawavalley.com/
This document highlights the inadequacies of food charity such as food banks as a response to food insecurity, and calls for the implementation of a basic income guarantee as an effective, long-term solution to reduce food insecurity rates.

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Renfrew County dietitian recognized by board of health for provincial award – http://www.insideottawavalley.com/

More Calgarians struggle to feed their families over the summer months – CBC.ca

Michelle Banks feels no shame in admitting sheusesthe Calgary Food Bank to get through what’s been a stressful and worrying couple of years.

Banks and her three young children are considered “food insecure” a growing problem in this city that has yet to show any sign of letting up.

Being food insecure means that you don’t have adequate access to food because of financial constraints.

According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, 11.4 per cent of all households in Alberta approximately 169,000 experienced some level of food insecurity in 2014,and that’s when Alberta’s economy was booming and jobs were plentiful.Since then, the economy has tanked and has posted two straight years of recession.

While non-profit groups, private businesses and volunteers scramble to feed hungry Calgarians, experts warn that food banks and free lunch programs are not the solution.

What’s needed, they say, is a basic income guarantee to help eliminate the growing number of people living in poverty.

Children at a Boys and Girls summer camp in southeast Calgary line up to get lunch. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

“It’s been tough for us,” said the mother of three. “We have been low on food so we’ve had to use the food bank and stuff like that.”

Banks picked up a few bags of food at a Boys and Girls Club of Calgary summer camp that her children are attending in southeast Calgary.

The hampers are being distributed over the summer months.Many of the 30 children who attend the camp are also given sandwiches, snacks and fresh fruit.

Ryan Lumsden, left, and Evan Olsen with Made Foods prepare lunches for a summer program that delivers food to young Calgarians in need. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

It’s part of a pilot program to reach hungry kids during the summer when school is out and they don’t have access to community lunch programs.

It’s called Food Finder YYC, and it’s being run by a number of organizations, including Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, an organization that provides lunch to 3,200 children every day during the school year.

How Food Finder YYC is helping Calgary kids through the summer0:32

“This just broke our hearts, to think that these kids we are feeding during the school year … have nothing to eat [during the summer],” said Tanya Koshowski, the agency’s executive director.

Children and families in need simply text “food” to a certain number and they’ll be provided with information about how to qualify and where to pick up the food.

“This isn’t for entitlement or laziness or taking advantage of something,” Koshowskisaid. “It’s about families or kids that are in need.”

Tanya Koshowski, executive director of Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids, is spearheading a summer pilot program to deliver lunches to children in need. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Another agency that helps feed hungry Calgarians is the Community Kitchen Program, and it’s seeing an increase in demand.It’s hoping to feed 15,000 kids this summer.

Lana Avery,one of the staff members at the Community Kitchen Program,says at one of the lunch delivery locations a boy told her he was grateful for the food because he hadn’t eaten in three days.

“It broke my heart,” Avery said.

Lana Avery, one of 12 employees at Community Kitchen Program of Calgary, says she was heartbroken after a young boy told her he hadn’t eaten in three days. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

The Community Kitchen program also provides food hampers to families in need. A separate program distributes boxes of fresh food to individual families at a reduced cost.

The organization is looking to provide more than the 130 current pickup locations because of growing demand.

“People are going through hard times, loss of jobs, not being able to feed their children. They’re just everyday citizens like you and me, and they’ve fallen on hard times,” said Sundae Nordin, the non-profit’s CEO.

Although some indicators show Alberta’s economy is on the rebound, her agency hasn’t seen it translate to fewer clients.

Sundae Nordin, CEO of Community Kitchen Program of Calgary, says her agency has seen a definite increase in demand for its services. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

“We are seeing an increase, definitely,” Nordin said.”The problem is hunger and poverty in our city.”

Food banks and children’s feeding programs are not the solution, according to Lynn McIntyre, professor emerita of in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University ofCalgary.

“That is absolutely not a solution. Income is a solution,” McIntyre said.

She says food banks have risen from being a temporary measure in the 1980s to becoming institutionalized, and have made people think they are part of the solution.

“It really distracts people from understanding what the root cause is,” McIntyre said.

Yvonne Stanford, with the Calgary-based Basic Income Action Group, hasbeen advocating for a basic income guarantee for years.

She says boosting wagesto either Calgary’s living wage, now estimated at $18.15per hour, or a percentage of the low income cut offcould help reduce poverty and ultimately food insecurity.

Yvonne Stanford is with the group Basic Income Action Group, which advocates for a basic, minimum income to help reduce poverty and food insecurity. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

“From a human rights perspective, every one of us will benefit from a more equal society,” Stanford said.

People experiencing food insecurity aremore likely to have any number of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyper-tension, mental health disorders, migraines, back problems and asthma, according to a director in nutrition services with Alberta Health Services.

“Even at the marginal level …your risk of having poor health and poor health outcomes is considerably higher,” said Sheila Tyminski.

Sheila Tyminski is a registered dietitian and a director in nutrition services with Alberta Health Services. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Tyminski says research from Ontario shows health care costs for people who experience marginal to severe food insecurity is 23 per cent to 121 per cent higher compared to people who are considered food secure.

“In the last number of years, we haven’t seen any improvement in the rate of household food insecurity. One in six children in Alberta live in a household that experiences food insecurity, and that more than one in 10households in Alberta experiencefood insecurity, that’s enormous, that’s very significant,” Tyminski said.

Children enjoy a lunch that was provided by Food Finder YYC, a pilot program that aims to reach low-income neighbourhoods during the summer months. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Koshowski says that while she agrees that food banks and children’s food programs shouldn’t be considered a long-term solution to hungerand poverty, she remains committed to helping those in need.

“We do believe that if kids are in need for food that it does take a village to raise a child. So the community has the resources and the capacity and the desire to actually want to care for kids,” Koshowski said.

Michelle Banks, pictured here with her children, Ciara, Kolton and Hayden, says she’s gone to the food bank to help feed her family. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Michelle Banks is grateful.

“It’s very importantit’s there, especially if you’re lacking in food. In some way, you’re always covered because there’s people who are kind and generous out there to help other people and families,” said Banks.

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More Calgarians struggle to feed their families over the summer months – CBC.ca

NEW ORLEANS, LA, US: Local basic income group begins to hold monthly meetings – Basic Income News

A new local basic income group in the United Statesbased in New Orleans (a.k.a. the BIG Easy)was formed in summer 2017 and is currently holding monthly meetings.

The group is led by Scott Santens, a well-known basic income write and advocate as well as the treasurer of BIENs US affiliate, US Basic Income Guarantee, Inc (USBIG).

Meetings are currently being held on the last Wednesday of every month, with discussion oriented around the general topic of what can be done to advance basic income on both local and national levels.

For more information and updates, see the New Orleans Basic Income Meetup page: https://www.meetup.com/New-Orleans-Basic-Income-Meetup/.

In additional to nationwide networks like USBIG and Basic Income Action, the US is home to several basic income advocacy groups that are active on a local level, including groups based in New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Photo: the street where the New Orleans basic income meet-ups are being held (photographed by Kate McFarland during the New Orleans Basic Income Create-a-thon).

Kate McFarland has written 452 articles.

Kate has previously made a living as a professional student, but is retired for the time being. Regarding her present work in the UBI community, you may read more here.

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NEW ORLEANS, LA, US: Local basic income group begins to hold monthly meetings – Basic Income News

Value in using tax system for basic income: Report – The Sudbury Star

The latest report from Northern Policy Institutes Basic Income Guarantee series argues there are a number of advantages and challenges to using the personal income tax system to deliver a basic income guarantee in Ontario.

As author Lindsay Tedds points out, our current tax system is not just used to raise revenue; it has become an increasingly important instrument for delivering income support. Many, including Hugh Segal, special adviser for the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, have suggested the Canada Revenue Agency could play a natural role in the administration of a basic income program.

The report, titled Implementing a Basic Income Guarantee Through the Personal Tax System: Benefits, Barriers and Bothers, explores this idea in more detail, initially highlighting the value of using the tax system to implement a basic income guarantee.

According to Tedds, using the tax system could simplify a very complex, often overlapping process for recipients of social benefits, while at the same time reduce administrative costs. Additionally, the tax system already has the tools to deliver a basic income guarantee namely, through refundable tax credits.

But while Tedds acknowledges advantages to having a single administrative structure for social assistance, “it is important to remember that Canadas tax system is itself complex, intimidating, and not easy to navigate especially for those who may require a BIG the most, he writes. Along with the benefits “there are also a number of challenges.”

The report suggests income accuracy and Canadas harmonized tax system could prove to be the most significant hurdles to in delivering basic income in this way.

Any basic income would have to be funded through tax revenues and/or clawbacks, both of which depend on the accuracy of the income reported.

Tedds also outlines various ways in which inaccurate income reporting occurs in Ontario.

Another formidable challenge to using the tax system for a basic income guarantee is Canadas harmonized tax system.

Provinces are bound by tax-collection agreements which restrict their flexibility in designing tax programs. Those wishing to make significant changes are required to receive approvals from other provincial and territorial governments, along with the federal government which requires a high degree of partnership and collaboration.

Finally, although the tax system could provide a basic income through cash transfers, the Canada Revenue Agency is not equipped to provide the many other services that are important to low-income social welfare recipients like employment supports and referrals to other agencies, Tedds notes.

Addressing these implementation details, in fact, would be linked to both the policy and objectives of a basic income guarantee,” the author concludes. “Such issues could be solved, if not easily, but they would require real effort, discussion and the maturity of all the players involved.

The paper is the fourth of a series that explores the various topics presented at NPIs Basic Income Guarantee conference last October. Report topics include food insecurity issues, potential models for a BIG pilot, tax implications, and the potential impact on social innovators and First Nations.

To read the full report, visit http://www.northernpolicy.ca.

To view presentations from the NPIs BIG conference and explore comments and feedback from participants, visit http://www.northernpolicy.ca/big.

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

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Value in using tax system for basic income: Report – The Sudbury Star

Does Basic Income Solve Anything? Grasp the Arguments for and … – Futurism

Society and working life are changing at an incredible pace today. SitraMegatrends 2016is one publication, among others, that introduces the idea that humankind will change more in the next 30 years than in the past 300. This can already be seen as changes in the nature of work and the disappearance of professions. In the future, many companies will not need a large number of employees to produce large profits. One example is Instagram, which had only 12 employees when it was sold to Facebook in 2012 for USD 1 billion. In comparison, the 20th-century photography giant Kodak employed more than 140,000 people at its peak. This example is indicative of the potential change that digitalisation is capable of bringing about.[i]

Even if the boldest predictions about the impacts of digitalisation on the labour market do not come true, polarisation and uncertainty in the labour market is likely to increase in the future.

Many people feel that basic income is the best long-term option for dealing with change caused by technological development.

Many people feel that basic income is the best long-term option for dealing with change caused by technological development. Basic income is considered a flexible way of guaranteeing a minimum income for people in a situation where demand for everyones work is not sufficient, income comes from many sources, and social securitys rigid classification of people as employed or unemployed is no longer appropriate. Other reasons used to justify basic income include the need to simplify the social security system, plug loopholes and dismantle disincentives.

Basic income is defined as an income paid personally to all members of society on a regular basis without conditions or means testing. Further income can be earned without losing basic income. Several models for implementing basic income have been proposed, focusing on how to finance the system and other details. However, the models still require development in order to realise the expectations set for basic income.

Many of the models take increased earnings into account when taxing income. Although the benefit is, as a general rule, the same amount for everyone, steps can be added, for example, based on the recipients age or some other criterion. Various means-tested components of social assistance can be retained alongside basic income. In addition to basic income, the term citizens wage has also been used in Finnish discussions. At times, this has referred to income without a work requirement and at other times, to income that requires some sort of service to society. Terms like citizens income, participation income and negative income tax have also made part of the discussion.

Even during the early stages of industrialisation, social reformists proposed that dividends on the income from common property be distributed on a regular basis or as a lump sum. In particular, land and natural resources were considered to be such common property. Similar ideas have also been proposed today, especially in reaction to increases in the wealth gap that may be caused by digitalisation. Some people believe that income taxes are not the only legitimate way of financing basic income, because all wealth is ultimately the result of collective activities. Thus, financing for basic income should be arranged in another manner, for example, by taxing property or capital and the income from them, or even by some sort of robot tax. However, most basic income models link income taxation and basic income, possibly supplemented by other financing.

Many countries are already planning basic income experiments.

Basic income and the ideas surrounding it have been discussed as a way of reforming social security for several decades. In recent years, this debate has been activating in different parts of Europe and North America and also in some so-called poorer countries. Many countries are already planning basic income experiments. Several Dutch cities want to launch their own basic income experiments. Canada too, is also preparing an experiment, while a private capital investment company in the United States plans to implement its own basic income project.

The first basic income experiment in Finland was launched at the beginning of 2017 and will last two years. Its target group are labour market subsidy or basic unemployment allowance recipients between the ages of 25 and 58. Two thousand people from this group have been selected at random for the trial. The tax authority is not involved in the first experiment, so the taxation model for the participants is the same as for other Finns. The tax-exempt basic income in the experiment is EUR 560 per month, and it will replace basic daily allowance of the same amount. Any other social security benefits will remain unchanged. If an unemployed person participating in the experiment finds employment, he or she will not lose the basic income and the sum will not be reduced. In practice, this is the feature that is most beneficial to participants and will potentially improve the incentive to work. The primary aim of the experiment is to determine whether participants are more likely to find employment than other unemployed people. It is part of the government programme of Finlands current government and separate legislation has been passed for the experiment.

The terms negative income tax and citizens wage were first postulated in the 1970s, but the discussion became more regular during the 1980s. Political discussion also addressed the idea of a basic income system, which would harmonise income transfers and guarantee a statutory minimum income regardless of a persons life situation. Starting in the mid-1990s, the term basic income gradually established itself. Although interest has varied, the idea has never completely disappeared from public discussion. The discussion usually peaked prior to parliamentary elections in years when basic income was part of party platforms (1987, 1994, 1996-1998, 2006-2007). The latest and highest peak in discussion occurred prior to the 2015 elections, a result of the planned implementation of a basic income experiment by the government now in power.

Although this interest has crossed party lines, there are many differences concerning the objective of basic income and the best model for it.

The political parties in Finland have shown varying levels of interest in a citizens wage and basic income. Although this interest has crossed party lines, there are many differences concerning the objective of basic income and the best model for it. Along with political parties, many interest groups, experts and opinion formers have taken part in the discussion.

The understanding of the nature of the citizens wage and basic income has varied over the years. In the 1980s, a citizens wage was seen as a potential solution to the decrease in industrial work caused by technological development. Automation was expected to radically reduce the need for human work. A citizens wage was primarily considered as a way to reduce the supply of work to meet the reduced demand and provide a decent income for people without employment. A citizens wage was seen as a means of sharing work more equally and shifting some people to various non-profit work in the softer sector of society (households, associations or local communities). People often called for a complete redefinition of the concept of work.

Discussion of the citizens wage decreased during the recession in the early 1990s and revived again after the worst years of recession had passed. At the same time, the term basic income gradually became more common and replaced the citizens wage term. Record unemployment levels throughout the latter half of the 1990s ensured that interest in basic income remained high. However, understanding of basic income changed after the recession. This was associated with a more general change in social policy discussion that provided more space for policy actions related to labour supply factors and activation of the unemployed. In contrast to the discussion of the citizens wage in the 1980s, basic income was considered a way to encourage people to also accept casual and low-wage work rather than only full employment. People believed that expanding the service sector could compensate for the loss of industrial jobs if employment costs were reduced, collective agreements became more flexible and social security changed and moved in a more encouraging direction. Basic income was seen as a way of dismantling social security disincentives so that working would always increase net income. Basic income would be a fairly low base wage serving as a foundation for building income from several sources.

As employment rates improved in the early 2000s, discussion of basic income decreased. The discussion revived in response to a motion to improve the rights of temporary workers made by the precariat movement in 2006. Activists demanded a basic income that would safeguard a decent income and improve the bargaining position of low-income earners on the labour market. Basic income was widely debated in newspaper columns in 2006-2007, with the Green Party highlighting the basic income theme prior to the parliamentary elections. Attention now focused mainly on changes in work and uncertainty of income. The traditional social security system, with its disincentives and complicated rules, was seen as a poor match for post-industrial labour market needs. Basic income was presented as an investment focusing on work and entrepreneurship, which would make it possible to pursue a new kind of full employment (made up of temporary jobs). The latest debate has revolved around digitalisation and the basic income experiment planned by Juha Sipils government.

Other factors behind the new international basic income discussion include the view that the current phase of robotisation and digitalisation threatens to destroy more jobs than technology development can produce in other areas. The new working life that is now evolving will also require a new kind of social security. Basic income is considered an important part or at least a significant option for this new system.

The arguments for and against basic income are rarely based on scientific evidence. No results have been measured because basic income has never been properly tested in practice. Various operators also have a different focus regarding what they see as the most important benefits or threats of basic income. A list of the arguments presented by key defenders and opponents of basic income is presented below.

For:

Basic income would

Against:

Basic income would

A flat general income has also been considered a more equal way of providing social security to people in different life situations.

The aim of basic income is to influence labour market activities and social policy principles and practices. Although different operators want to achieve different things with basic income, common targets include clarifying support system bureaucracy, eliminating the disincentives associated with combining social security and work, preventing people from falling through the cracks of social security, reducing poverty, and enabling flexible transition between different life situations. Automatically granting the same minimum income security to everyone has been considered a way to reduce the red tape associated with granting benefits and facilitate the employment of benefit recipients because all income would no longer have to be reported to the authorities. In addition, basic income has been seen as a way to provide income security for those who, despite a low income, are not entitled to benefits for one reason or another, or who have been unable or unwilling to apply for benefits to which they are entitled. A flat general income has also been considered a more equal way of providing social security to people in different life situations and enabling flexible transition between different forms of work, studies and family life.

Opponents of basic income have generally focused on the presumed high cost of the system and its negative effects on work morale. Opponents argue that basic social security paid unconditionally would provide the right to a free ride and weaken the position of work as the foundation of our society. Opponents and defenders can be found in political circles on both the right and the left. The right has primarily been concerned about the costs of the system and its incentive effects. The left (especially in the union movement) has been worried that basic income would cause an increase in low-income work and polarise the labour market.

The idea of basic income is to deliver a periodic cash payment to everyone in the system on an individual basis. According to the definition, there are no conditions or work requirement involved with receiving basic income. The purpose is not to increase the net income of middle- or high-income earners, so basic income models nearly always involve a tax system reform in which the added income provided by basic income is recovered from high-income earners via taxation.

The purpose of basic income is generally considered to be the replacement of different forms of means-tested minimum social security. The starting point for Finnish discussion has usually involved separating the housing allowance from basic income, but in theory it could also be covered by basic income if the basic income was high enough. However, this would present a challenge in terms of financing. Another challenge would be how to take regional differences into account. For example, if the basic income paid in a small community was based on housing costs in Helsinki, this could mean an unreasonably high income without a work requirement. On the other hand, basic income based on housing costs in small communities would be inadequate in the Helsinki capital region. Housing costs also differ depending on whether a person owns or rents their home. Regional differences in housing costs could be taken into account by, for example, making basic income proportional to the average rent per square meter in the community. Differences in the type of housing could be balanced by taxation.

One possible method of implementing basic income is a negative income tax model. This model involves only paying basic income to those who fall below a certain income level so that the amount of the payment gradually decreases as the persons income rises.

Basic income models are very different.

Basic income models are very different. For example, they can be classified according to the models:

Depending on the model, basic income is a rather extensive reform of the tax and social security system that has to be combined with existing institutions in one way or another. Basic income is generally seen as a system that would replace means-tested minimum social security benefits and put them on the same level. The higher the basic income, the greater the number of subsidy forms it could replace. However, proposals generally suggest that some means-tested benefits could be retained alongside basic income, at least for such special groups who, for one reason or another, cannot be expected to participate in the labour market.

Basic income models vary according to which groups would be included in the scope of the system. In some models, basic income would only be paid to people of working age. Other models would also include minors and/or pensioners, and in this case basic income could have different levels for different age groups. Some models propose that basic income only be paid to citizens while others would grant it to non-citizens with permanent resident status, for example, after they had lived in the country for a certain period of time. There are also models where a benefit called basic income would only target a certain population group, such as those entitled to social security, people who receive unemployment benefits or have irregular income, or where the right to basic income would have a time limit. Other proposals include models that resemble basic income but are based on a work requirement and/or means testing.

The level of the benefit also varies considerably between different models. Full basic income means that the level of the benefit is sufficient to cover the essential costs of housing and living. Partial basic income means that other social security is needed to supplement basic income if a persons earnings are not sufficient. Other differences between models include whether basic income would be subject to taxation or whether it would be a tax-exempt benefit. The idea of basic income as a more limited system functioning as part of existing social security has also been proposed.

In theory, there are many different alternatives for financing basic income. Many of the models would reform income taxation so that the added income provided by basic income would gradually be collected back as a persons earnings increased. The idea is that basic income would not significantly change the net income of an average wage-earner. Adjustment of tax rates and the amount of basic income can affect income distribution: the basic income model can be implemented in a way that maintains the current income distribution or in a way that changes it in one direction or another. Money will circulate in the economy in a different way when everyone receives basic income and also pays a higher income tax. Income taxation can be supplemented with other direct or indirect taxes as needed.

A switch to a flat tax rate for income taxation is often proposed in conjunction with basic income. However, this is by no means essential, because progressive taxation can also be used with basic income.

The basic income models proposed in Finland have generally been criticised for the high marginal tax rates they require, which are seen as disincentives. Financing based on income taxation can be supplemented by other taxes in order to reduce the marginal tax rate in basic income models. The basic income models presented in Finland have, for example, proposed environmental taxes, inheritance and wealth taxes, the elimination of tax deductions, and an increase in property and capital income taxation as ways to supplement financing by means of income taxes. Use of consumption taxes to finance basic income has also been suggested in some connections.

One possibility for implementing basic income is the so-called negative income tax model. Negative income tax is a combination of taxation and automatic income support in which an income transfer is paid when a persons earnings remain below a certain level. This is gradually reduced as earnings increase. Although basic income and negative income tax have a somewhat different history and support base, they can technically produce nearly the same result. The advantage of negative income tax is that it could help achieve the presumed impacts of basic income at a lower marginal tax rate. However, implementation of this model would require real-time monitoring of earnings. The national income register that is planned to be launched in early 2019 would make this possible in Finland.

Micro-simulation analyses can be used to assess the impacts of basic income models on households and the entire population. These analyses generally indicate that basic income would increase net earnings for low-income earners who have some earnings in addition to social security. However, the effects would vary in different cases due to the joint impact of benefits.

Basic income would most clearly increase net income for social security recipients whose current benefit level is lower than the basic income and for those with no income or a low income who dont receive any social security benefits. Basic income, for example, would substantially improve the income of entrepreneurs with the lowest earnings, because currently, they are not eligible for an adjusted unemployment allowance. Efforts are often being made to build basic income models so that the net earnings of middle-income earners would not change at all.

The relationship between basic income and the EUR 300 of exempt earnings currently used in Finland should also be examined. If the exempt earnings component is not included in the basic income model, people doing casual work may actually end up with less net earnings. Child and activation increases for labour market subsidy and basic unemployment allowance may also be a disincentive if they remain in force.

The most interesting effects of basic income would, naturally, be so-called dynamic effects, in other words, those affecting human and company behaviour.

The most interesting effects of basic income would, naturally, be so-called dynamic effects, in other words, those affecting human and company behaviour. An experiment is the only way to bring about these effects to some extent. For example, there have been fears that a higher marginal tax rate would weaken work incentives for middle- and high-income earners.

Conversely, it has been suggested that basic income would encourage people to try entrepreneurship because it would guarantee a minimum income even when the company is struggling. Economists have shown that the proposed basic income models would still contain some disincentives unless other social security elements were reformed at the same time. However, the mere knowledge of a steady income could psychologically increase the willingness to accept casual work. One of the problems in terms of todays social security is the so-called bureaucratic disincentive. This refers to the extra paperwork that casual workers must complete in order to report working hours, work locations and the pay received for that work to the authorities and the delays in payment caused by the need to check that information. The complicated system also makes it difficult for recipients of overlapping subsidies to understand how work affects different benefits. Uncertainty about the effect that work income has on benefits may already be enough to create a disincentive.

In order to achieve the desired positive effects, more attention must be focused on the joint impacts of basic income, other social security components, and taxation. The current basic income model still has many shortcomings, particularly in relation to work incentives. One solution is to lower taxation on low incomes or implement a tax deduction for work income that only applies to low-income earners. The fact that the low level of primary benefits forces many low-income earners to regularly seek basic social assistance represents another disincentive. If we want to restore basic social assistance to its original role as temporary emergency assistance and simultaneously prevent it from causing disincentives, basic income must be higher than the existing minimum unemployment allowance.

A reform of the housing allowance would also be needed in conjunction with the basic income model, by allowing, for example, a certain amount of exempt earnings for low income earners. The possible benefits of the basic income model would probably be most effectively achieved if basic income could be set high enough to also replace the housing allowance and in some way take regional and other differences into account in the costs. However, in this case, the high cost of financing basic income would be a challenge.

This article is based on Johanna Perkis reportSuomalainen perustulokeskustelu ja mallit(Public debate and proposed models for a universal basic income system in Finland)[ii].

This article is part of The Next Era, a global initiative to track, connect, and amplify emerging ideas for an open and forward-looking society. The Next Era is a collaboration between the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the Nordic think tank Demos Helsinki.

[i]Kiiski Kataja, Elina (2016):Megatrends 2016: The future happens now. Sitra.https://www.sitra.fi/julkaisut/Muut/Megatrendit_2016.pdf

[ii]Perki, Johanna (2016):Suomalainen perustulokeskustelu ja mallit.Typapereita 85/2016.Kela.http://hdl.handle.net/10138/159369

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Does Basic Income Solve Anything? Grasp the Arguments for and … – Futurism

NDP leadership candidate visits Guelph (8 photos) – GuelphToday

NDP leadership hopeful Guy Caron dropped by the Red Papaya Monday to discuss his platform and raise support for his campaign.

He presented his plans for eliminating poverty by guaranteeing a basic income for everyone but his first priority is electoral reform.

The Liberals promised that 2015 would be the last election held under first-passed-the-post, said Caron. The sad news is that they sabotaged the whole process and 2019 will still be under the same system, which leads to a break down in trust among the population that wanted to see change.

If he becomes leader of the NDP, Caron promises to do all he can to ensure 2019 is the last election held under the present system.

Under my leadership electoral reform that includes a mixed proportional system would be the first bill tabled and voted on in the house, he said. If we are in the position to have the balance of power in a minority government it will be a condition for our support of the government.

Caron has represented the riding of Rimouski-Neigette-Temiscouta-Les Basques in eastern Quebec since 2011 and has served as NDP critic for finance, industry and natural resources.

He was involved in the student movement in the early 90s and helped with Jack Laytons leadership campaign in 2002.

He describes himself as a progressive economist who is concerned about the future of his two young children aged five and eight.

We are at a critical juncture because if we dont act now the next generation will be worse off than ourselves, he said. We havent seen that many times in human history. That is because of the economic system we have imposed and lived under for the last 30 years. We need to change the system that drives toward privatization, deregulation and trade agreements that leave so many workers behind.

One way to reduce economic inequality he said is to guarantee everyone a basic income.

We use the mechanisms that are already in place to top up everybodys income be it earned income from labour or be it from social programs to the low income cutoff which varies from place to place, he said. In Guelph, it would $19,000 to $20,000 a year.

The money needed to fund the program would come from removing tax loopholes and by taxing capital.

The tax system is broken, said Caron. The fact that capital is not taxed drives up economic inequality. All of what I am proposing will raise about $31 billion in new taxes without attacking the economy and will ensure inequality is addressed in our tax system.

He said guaranteeing a basic income has far reaching implications for communities.

There are some very important benefits coming from it, said Caron. The examples we have seen from Manitoba show that, when we remove the stress of trying to survive and provide for your basic needs you are reducing the crime rates, the incarceration rates and decreasing divorce rates. So, there are many positive outcomes coming out of a basic income.

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NDP leadership candidate visits Guelph (8 photos) – GuelphToday

UBI is just a bedtime story Elon Musk tells himself to help the super-wealthy sleep – Quartz

Elon Musk is the most wholesome visionary our era has produced. He is a benign idealist; a guy with his eyes on a horizon beyond money. Money? Musk doesnt care about that. He hopes only to elevate our minds, our bodies, and our roads to other planes.

Businesses, says the man who has founded so many of them, dont really exist. Capital, says the man with so much of it, is of no consequence to him. The main reason Im personally accumulating assets, he says, is to fund a multi-planetary future. I really dont have any other motivation.

Musk comes across as a tech monk who sees money as a means only to a good end. He claims to gather it only to rid the world of the blight of emissionsand to rid us of the problems of life on Earth at all. To help untether ourselves from those mortal chains and speed us through a tunnel unto paradise, he proposes a world with universal basic income.

UBI is a policy gift that Musk and so many others in the C-suites of Silicon Valley offer us as part of their vision of a sustainable economic future. UBI, says Facebooks Zuckerberg and eBays Omidyar, is the patch for the economic problems of everyday people. But what Musk and his colleagues tend to leave out of their compassionate public speech is that UBI is also a patch for their problems. Of course Musk, son of the neoliberal era, wants UBI to be instituted: Its just peachy for him and his businesses, as it means his consumers will have more income to spend on his goods. (Not that he cares about money, of course. Its all about innovation!)

UBI is just bedtime story that helps the super-wealthy sleep.But lets suspend our judgement for a minute. Lets overlook the fact that the man who says he couldnt give a hoot about money was once the CEO of PayPal. Lets also overlook that this committed environmentalist benefits by the sale of green credits and that Tesla posted profits due to industrial emissions.

Instead, lets believe that he, and the rest of Silicon Valleys elite, are ultimately acting in the public interest. Lets allow them all to appear as they would prefer: good liberals who want to use their money only to make the world a better and more automated place. They champion diversity (despite its lack in their own employee records), and they advocate for generous work conditions in California (while taking a markedly different approach to the labor they outsource to the Global South). Lets believe themlets say that their billionaire habits of capital accumulation, labor exploitation, and their reluctance to pay their taxes are all a means to a good end.

But lets not let them all off so easily when it comes to their determined and growing support for UBI. After all, this policy is not one confined to their own business practice, but something they wish to impose on states and nationson us. UBI is a hack that may well benefit its Silicon Valley advocates in the short-term, but itll compound income and social inequality for the rest of us for decades (especially if its applied in the gloriously simple spirit in which it is largely understood).

Heres the shameful secret not uttered in our favorite futurists TED-style presentations. The reason they adore UBI isnt to do with their commitment to lift a growing underclass out of poverty; thats just a bedtime story that helps the super-wealthy sleep. Instead, its more to permit spending on their goods by what remains of the American middle class. No one on a stagnant wage can currently buy the things that Muskand the rest of Silicon Valleywants to sell them. These billionaires champion a scheme whose prime result will be their profit.

UBI is an old economic proposition and one with some very different champions. The revolutionary Tom Paine proposed a version of it, as did Milton Friedman, the best-known architect of neoliberalism. The idea that an identical sum be paid by the state to all citizens as a right and not as a form of welfare or reward is one, were told, whose time has come.

Part of UBIs appeal for many everyday advocates lies in its apparently post-ideological nature. The fact that this prescription can come from both former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis stands to some as proof of its inherent theoretical strength. If an erratic Marxist, a neoconservative, and the guy who wants to send us all to Mars can agree, then partisan consensus for policy enactment is likely. It looks like a centrist solution.

If an erratic Marxist, a neoconservative, and the guy who wants to send us all to Mars can agree, then UBI enactment is likely.While it may be a solution that works to the advantage of the capitalist class and their friends in policy, it is likely to win our endorsement, too. Most of us in the West know very well that our incomes are dwindling along with our future job prospects, which will be lost to automation or the fluid global labor practice created by the neoliberal policy era. If we did not already know during 2007s global financial crisis that an economic regime change is needed, we know it now, just by looking at our bank statements.

This thing stands a real chance of being passed into national economic policy. And, if no other ideas are put forthsay, old-fashioned things like nationalizing ownership of companies, redistributing surplus to workers, or transforming corporate super-profits into health or education or bridgesit retains its shine. UBI now has fans from the material left, the right, and, in the form of Canadian prime minister (and poster-boy for photogenic progressivism) Justin Trudeau, the absolute center. Were liable, in the absence of any other proposals, to become fans ourselves. But most importantly, beyond the support of people and politicians, UBI has our eras true leadersthe billionaires of Silicon Valleyon its side.

UBI is a scheme whose intended consequences can be compared to what some economists have called the Walmart effect. When wages began to fall in the West in the market-friendly period we call globalization, Western workers had less money to spend. When these Western incomes diminished, profits for Western capitalists could have been threatened. Happily, for pre-Musk capitalists, labor exploitation was now occurring off-shore and the cost of many goods, along with the cost of labor, dropped. So sure, your wage may have remained stagnant for yearsbut you could still afford that set of discount linens upon which your nightmares of a Hunger Games future can quietly take place.

Now Musks beloved automation is taking jobs from both the West, where those soothing linens are now less affordable, and the Global South. The robotswhich are remarkable things, providing both the possibility of leisure and superabundance to us allwill take over many kinds of labor previously performed by humans throughout the world. This extraordinary moment in history will, almost certainly, make goods cheaper as the rate of investment in the variable capital of labor disappears. There will be far fewer pesky people demanding wage risesjust the constant capital of machines whirring along.

At this historic juncture, we have choices. We could, like Musk, encourage the state to pay us just enough UBI to keep innovative capitalists, who have made most of our labor redundant, innovating toward Mars. (Although, given the long habit of those who accumulate great wealth to avoid taxes, its not clear how this will be sustainable.) Or, we could find other ways to keep these now unemployed workers who accidentally innovated themselves out of jobs flush with cash. It was not Musk alone that produced these magnificent labor-saving devices, after allit was also our labor, and the labor of our ancestors. Maybe, if we look at things in a truly innovative way, the true and the sustainable social dividend we should be paid is not a few bucks of UBI, but a stake in Tesla itself. Perhaps he could offer us a wage, or even a dividend cheque, for our very useful assistance. If Musk does not, as he insists, care about ownership, then perhaps he could consider that a collective management of the companies built by the labor and innovation of the many is a better, more fulfilling, and long-term solution all around.

But just as the G20 members recently assembled to determine the future of nations not present to deliberate, Musk does not consult with those people who his public policies and private businesses will affect. If he wants to build a meaningful future for us, he might consider including us in that conversation. Our collective knowledge would be every bit as innovative as our collective labor has been in the past. Elon, surely, is not the worlds sole innovator.

But, this isnt going to happen. The powerful industrialists of the era will not admit that their innovations have impeded their own capacity to profit. They will not concede that we have a stake in a future that they feel entitled to manage.

UBI may guarantee that profits to the investment class will increase while creating a greater strain on the classes its most meant to benefit.We now hear plenty of talk about all the success small UBI pilot programs are having: over there in Finland, up in Ontario, even a privately funded program in Silicon Valley itself. But these isolated experimentswhich are usually moral rather than economic ones designed to prove that people who are in work will stay in work, even if their income increasescannot reflect the macroeconomic glitches the UBI patch may cause.

UBI inserted into our current economic software is likely to raise prices on many everyday goods. According to the late, noted US economist Hyman Minsky, one of these may be a rise in the cost of living. Even though there is UBI in your pocket, it is in everybodys pocket. Just as prices would be likely to rise with the introduction of a new basic wage, so they would with the introduction of UBI.

UBI absorbed into current conditions is therefore likely to provide no positive change for us. There is no way to guarantee that landlords or merchants will not raise prices to reflect the moderate gain in income. If youre already well-to-do, a price increase in the residential rental market or at the supermarket is of no great consequence to you. If youre one of the 51% of Americans earning less than $30,000 per annum, its likely to have a significant effect.

This may guarantee that profits to the investment class and merchants will increase while creating a greater strain on the classes its most meant to benefit. After all, the wealthier classes are also receiving UBI, which they dont need to spendthey can transform that extra cash into capital, as Musk would. This may have the effect of increasing wealth inequality, not eradicating it. The extra money (that Musk doesnt care about, remember) may well become meaningless due to UBI-led inflation.

UBI evokes, as do many of the phrases relished by Musk, a sort of realist utopia. It is certain, for a time, to safeguard the interests of a powerful few. But in the long-term, it is likely to diminish the purchasing power of the many. A true social dividend would not be a small state stipend whose terms are set by the billionaires of Silicon Valley.

The innovations produced not just by Musk but by centuries of human labor have made historys richest companies less likely to profit. The capitalism that Musk says he doesnt care about is crushed by the weight of its own contradictions, so he want to prop it up with a government subsidy. But coming from the guy who believes in Martian colonization, UBI, an old idea, is hardly the innovative thinking for which he should want to be known.

You can follow Helen on Twitter. Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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UBI is just a bedtime story Elon Musk tells himself to help the super-wealthy sleep – Quartz


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