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‘Me too’ and the basic income guarantee | Basic Income News

On the evening of Sunday January 7, 2018, The Golden Globes Awards program aired. For those who may not know, this is a U.S. television program which airs each year and highlights the accomplishments of actors, directors, and others in the TV and movie industries. This years awards program was the first to be aired since the revelations about movie producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced.

For those who may not follow events in U.S. popular culture to the extent I do, Harvey Weinstein was a major Hollywood movie producer. It was revealed that he sexually harassed a number of women or engaged in other sexual transgressions. After it was revealed that hed engaged in such behaviors, a number of other women came out to accuse other powerful men of sexually inappropriate behaviors of various kinds. In fact, a few of these revelations have had political ramifications.

In one case, they led to the resignation of U.S. Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota. In another, they resulted in Doug Jones being the first Democrat the state of Alabama has sent to the U.S. Senate in 25 years. This cascade of revelations, following upon those about Harvey Weinstein, has been dubbed the me too moment.

Initially, much of the attention paid to the me too moment or, as some would argue, me to movement was focused on relatively privileged actors in Hollywood, although they werent necessarily that privileged when the sexual transgressions occurred. But eventually someone pointed out that movie stars or would-be stars arent the only working women who deal with sexual harassment and assault. Those working in restaurants, hotels, and other low wage industries do so on a daily basis.

In fact, Ive heard it said that women in low wage industries suffer the most. Thats because they cant challenge those men they work with who engage in sexually inappropriate behaviors. Such challenges might result in these women losing their jobs. While listening to a discussion about the me too movement on the British Broadcasting Service (BBC), I heard a guest say that the way to empower women on the job is to pay them higher wages. Now I support paying women higher wages, but that might not be the best way to empower them to challenge sexually abusive men they work with. In fact, paying women more, although helpful in other respects, might make it harder for them to challenge such men.

As Bowles, Gintis, and Osborne point out in this paper, the cost of losing ones job increases with ones wage. Think about it. Suppose someone is volunteering their services. A volunteer is effectively working for a wage of 0 cents per hour. If this person decides not to volunteer, there is no pecuniary cost of doing so because they dont forgo any money by ceasing to volunteer. The more money one makes from selling their labor, the more they give up if they quit their job. This is what I meant when I said the cost of losing ones job increases with ones wage. Quitting ones job is, of course, one way of losing it.

Now suppose a woman is being sexually harassed on the job. There are a few of ways she might challenge this behavior. She could directly confront the person, she could report them to her boss, she could quit, etc. Some of these interventions on her part might get her fired. If she quits, shed lose her income just as she would if she were fired. And the bigger her income or wage was, the bigger the loss from being fired or quitting.

I think that if we want to empower women in their dealings with abusive employers, a way to do so is to provide them with a source of income they dont have to sell their labor to receive. And the bigger we could get this non-wage income, the more we could empower them. This is because the income loss from quitting or being fired for challenging sexual abuse at work, would be made up to some extent by the non-wage income. Knowing this is the case might embolden women in their dealings with sexually abusive employers and co-workers. A generous BIG, assuming we could afford it, could serve this function well.

Michael Lewis has written 9 articles.

Excerpt from:

‘Me too’ and the basic income guarantee | Basic Income News

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

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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.

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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.

Also Read

Time ripe for discussions on Universal Basic Income

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.

Also Read

The price of fiscal folly

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.

Also Read

The hidden agenda of benevolence

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


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