The Guardian view on Finlands new PM: a different type of leadership – The Guardian

The worlds happiest country, according to an international survey two years in a row, is now one of very few to have a female leader. Finlands Sanna Marin, who is 34, will become the youngest serving prime minister when she is sworn in later this week. In setting this record, the Social Democrat follows in the footsteps of another young, progressive PM New Zealands Jacinda Ardern, who was 37 when her Labour party won the 2017 election, and the first woman to give birth in office since Pakistans Benazir Bhutto (the male, 35-year-old prime minister of Ukraine, Oleksiy Honcharuk, was the worlds youngest PM for three months in between).

Finland, which was the first country in Europe to grant women the vote in 1906, is often regarded by those on the left as something akin to utopia or at least a shining example of what a big-spending, socially liberal government can achieve. Its well-funded universal education system is among the most successful in the world. Between 2017 and 2019 it ran one of the first trials of universal basic income. This summer a new left-leaning government pledged to make Finland carbon neutral by 2035 a target accurately described by Finnish Greens as probably the most ambitious in the world.

The four other parties in the new coalition are all headed by women, three of them in their 30s. New Zealand has more than 40% women in its House of Representatives (compared with 32% in the UKs last parliament). But should we make connections between the personal characteristics of a countrys leaders and its political culture as a whole? Is it a coincidence that these two nations, often viewed as progressive beacons, both have women in charge (while Ms Marin will become Finlands third female prime minister, Ms Ardern is New Zealands third)?

A female leader is certainly no guarantee that a country, or a party, has a progressive outlook. The UKs two female prime ministers have been Conservatives. Angela Merkel is a Christian Democrat. The French far right is led by Marine Le Pen. Neither are female voters or politicians necessarily any more liberal, social democratic or environmentalist than men. While Ukip and the Brexit party have never been as popular with UK women as they are with men, national populist parties in continental Europe do not have the same problem, and 53% of white women in the US voted for President Trump.

But at a time when the political life of so many nations (Brazil, India, Hungary) is being reshaped by leaders in a strongman mould, Finland and New Zealand are reminders that there are alternatives. Academic evidence on the impact of more diverse representation shows that previously marginalised groups do gain as a result of an increased focus on policies to advance their interests. Far from feeling hamstrung by her reliance on coalition partners, Ms Ardern told the Guardian that building consensus is an aspect of her job that she enjoys. To suggest that all female politicians are more adept at this style of working would be to stereotype. But just as Greta Thunbergs leadership has given new energy to the climate movement, it is heartening to see a new generation of women in government to address some of the many challenges that we all face.

Read more here:

The Guardian view on Finlands new PM: a different type of leadership - The Guardian

Basic Income as 40 Acres and a Mule – Basic Income News

This whole program is voluntaryThe men dont have toif they dont want to. But we need you to starve them to death if they dont.

Milo Minderbinder, Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Basic Income does something virtually no other policy in the modern economy can do: it protects your status as a free person.

What does it mean to be a free person? Consider an answer given by someone who experienced chattel slavery. Garrison Frazier was the spokesperson for a delegation of former slaves called freedmen (although many were women) who met with General Sherman on January 12, 1865, before the end of the U.S. Civil War.

Asked what he understood by slavery, Frazier replied, Slavery is, receiving by irresistible power the work of another man, and not by his consent.

He defined freedom as, taking us from under the yoke of bondage, and placing us where we could reap the fruit of our own labor [and] take care of ourselves.

Asked how best to secure their freedom, Frazier said, The way we can best take care of ourselves is to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor.

The story of what happened after the meeting has come to symbolize broken promises to African Americans, but it has much greater significance for everyone. Sherman distributed land seized from former slave owners to freedmen in a large area of the southeastern coast, sometimes along with surplus army mules. Rumors spread that all freedmen would receive 40 acres and a mule. Less than a year later, the Federal Government reversed Shermans order, restored the prewar property rights of former slaveholders, and forcibly evicted the freedmen, many of whom had to work for their former masters, taking the least desirable jobs and the lowest pay. Some descendants of slaves continue to serve the holders of those property rights to this day.

The significance of Fraziers request for land to secure his freedom is not that freedom requires the opportunity to become a subsistence farmer; it requires the freedom from indirectly forced labor. Frazier recognized that the legal self-ownership slaves were granted at the close of the war was not enough to make the fully free. It does not free an individual from the irresistible power to do the bidding of others. Individuals who are prevented from working for themselves alone (and not sufficiently compensated for being denied that option) are forced to work for someone who controls access to resources. Forced labor is unfreedom whether that force is direct or indirect.

The freedom from indirectly forced labor has been taken away from the vast majority of people in the world todaywhen governments forcibly took control of the resources of the Earth to give them to their most privileged citizens. These newly established property rights not only gave privileged citizens control over resources: it gave them control over people. People who had shared access to those resources for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years were now forced to provide services for the wealthy to maintain their most basic subsistence. Eliminating indirectly forced labor is not all there is to ensuring everyone is fully free, but its an essential step.

We have owed each other a Basic Income since we enclosed the commons, since we abducted the slaves, since we killed the Buffalo.

NOTE: this essay includes a long excerpt from Chapter 2 of my book, Freedom as the Power to Say No: Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income

40 acres and a mule

Karl Widerquist has written 969 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justicethe ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIENs news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such asNPRs On Point, NPRs Marketplace,PRIs the World,CNBC,Al-Jazeera,538,Vice,Dissent,the New York Times,Forbes,the Financial Times, andthe Atlantic Monthly, which called him a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.Widerquist holds two doctoratesone in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquists writing is available on his Selected Works website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

Read the original here:

Basic Income as 40 Acres and a Mule - Basic Income News

‘Most Americans Don’t Want To Work for the Federal Government’ Says Andrew Yang, Trashing Federal Jobs Guarantee – Reason

Andrew Yang continues to clear the low bar of being the Democratic presidential candidate most skeptical of government power, if not government spending.

In response to a question about whether he would support a federal jobs guarantee at tonight's Democratic debate, the former entrepreneur argued that the feds were not going to be very good at providing people with meaningful work.

"I am for the spirit of a federal jobs guarantee, but you have to look at how it would materialize in practice. What are the jobs? Who manages you? What if you don't like your job? What if you're not good at your job?" said Yang, distinguishing himself from Sen. Bernie Sanders (IVt.) who had reiterated his support for the idea of a jobs guarantee tonight.

"Most Americans don't want to work for the federal government," Yang bluntly put it, saying a jobs guarantee would replicate the results of failed government retraining programs and produce "jobs that no one wants."

Instead, the presidential candidate made the pitch for his Freedom Dividend, his universal basic income proposal that would provide every American with $1,000 a month.

This, said Yang, would benefit people like his wifecurrently at home raising two children, one of whom is autisticwho are unable to work, and therefore would not benefit from a jobs guarantee.

A universal basic income would "put the money into our hands so we can build a trickle up economy" and "enable us to do the kind of work that we want to do," said Yang.

Some libertarian thinkers have argued for some form of UBI as a more efficient, less paternalistic form of the current welfare state. Yang interestingly makes the pitch for his Freedom Dividend in individualistic, if not necessarily libertarian, terms: A universal basic income allows you to decide how to spend your money, and do what you want with your life.

The math for Yang's Freedom Dividend doesn't quite work out. Skeptical free marketers will note that it has the potential to disincentivize work, and will always rely on coercive taxation.

Nevertheless, in a debate that's mostly been candidates arguing they would be the best philosopher king (or queen), it's nice to hear at least someone on stage to express a little faith in the ability of individuals to run their own lives (even if taxpayers are still paying the bills).

Read the original post:

'Most Americans Don't Want To Work for the Federal Government' Says Andrew Yang, Trashing Federal Jobs Guarantee - Reason

Democratic debate highlights: best and most substantive answers of the night – Vox.com

Health care has been a major feature of every Democratic debate this election cycle. A major plank of that womens access to health care has not. And Sen. Kamala Harris has had enough of it.

That the issue has come up so little in past debates is outrageous, the California senator said, in one of the most moving moments of Tuesdays three-hour debate.

There are states that have passed laws that will virtually prevent women from having access to reproductive health care, and it is not an exaggeration to say women will die, Harris said. Poor women, women of color will die because these Republican legislatures in these various states who are out of touch with America are telling women what to do with their bodies.

Harriss response was echoed by Sen. Cory Booker soon after, noting that two Planned Parenthood clinics had recently closed in Ohio, where the debate was being held. We are seeing all over this country womens reproductive rights under attack, he said. God bless Kamala. Women should not be the only ones taking up this cause and this fight.

Harriss shift of the conversation and Bookers follow-up were among the most attention-grabbing moments of Tuesdays latest round of Democratic debates. But they werent the only ones. From Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on taxing the wealthy to Andrew Yang on universal basic income, here are some of the most significant and substantive responses of the night.

When the debate moderators brought up income inequality, Sen. Bernie Sanders smiled.

The question was designed as yet another progressive policy litmus test, and that puts him and Sen. Elizabeth Warren center stage.

Both have proposed wealth taxes to address rampant inequality in the United States. Warren sells it as a two-cent tax on the 75,000 wealthiest families in the country: Shes proposing a 2 percent tax on household assets above $50 million and 3 percent for households with assets worth more than $1 billion. Sanders has come out with his own version of the proposal, one that starts with a 1 percent tax on wealth above $32 million and slowly increases the tax rate on the larger the sum of assets.

Taxing the ultra-rich has become increasingly popular in Democratic circles. This is in part a reaction to the drastic Trump tax cuts, which have not led to the kind of middle-class income growth that was promised. But few have called for going as far as Warren and Sanders.

The moderators asked Sanders: Is the goal of your plan to tax billionaires out of existence?

Heres what Sanders said:

When you have a half a million Americans sleeping out on the street today, when you have 87 people 87 million people uninsured or underinsured, when you have hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt, and then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage.

And the truth is, we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality. And we cannot afford a billionaire class whose greed and corruption has been at war with the working families of this country for 45 years. So if you are asking me, do I think we should demand that the wealthy start paying the wealthiest top 1 percent start paying their fair share of taxes so we can create a nation and a government that works for all of us, yes, thats exactly what I believe.

This question sparked a debate about whether a wealth tax was the best method to address inequality. Beto ORourke called instead for an earned income tax credit, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she would repeal the recent cuts to the corporate tax rate (which Sanders has also supported in addition to his wealth tax).

Warren got a chance to respond:

I think this is about our values as a country. Show me your budget, show me your tax plans, and well know what your values are. And right now in America the top 1/10th of 1 percent have so much wealth, understand this, that if we put a 2 cent tax on their 50 millionth and first dollar and on every dollar after that, we would have enough money to provide universal childcare for every baby in this country age zero to five.

Universal pre-K for every child, raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in America, provide for universal tuition-free college, put $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities And cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the people who have it. My question is not why do Bernie and I support a wealth tax, its why does everyone else on the stage think its more important to protect billionaires than it is to invest in an entire generation.

Tara Golshan

Amid back-and-forth about gun laws among multiple candidate, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro invoked an often-overlooked potential consequence of the prospect of mandatory gun buybacks: it could mean police officers going door to door to collect peoples firearms. Thats an aspect that can be particularly distasteful to communities of color, which disproportionately bear the weight of police scrutiny and violence.

In the places I grew up in, we werent exactly looking for another reason for the cops to come banging on the door, Castro said. He brought up the weekend shooting of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman who was shot in her home by a white police officer performing a welfare check. The officer has been charged with murder.

I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities, because police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that, Castro said. According to data from Twitter, Castros remark was the most tweeted-about moment of the night.

In June, Castro rolled out a sweeping plan to reform policing; he was the first one to do so of the 2020 Democrats. Among his proposals are putting an end to overly aggressive and biased policing and holding the police accountable for misconduct.

I grew up in neighborhoods where it wasnt uncommon to hear gunshots at night. I can remember ducking in the back seat of a car as a freshman in high school across the street from my school, a public school, because folks were shooting at each other. Let me answer voluntary versus mandatory [gun buybacks]. There are two problems with mandatory buybacks. Number one, folks cant define it, and if youre not going door to door, its not really mandatory.

But also, in the places I grew up in, we werent exactly looking for another reason for cops to come banging on the door, and you all saw a couple days ago what happened to Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth. A cop showed up at 2 in the morning at her house when she was playing video games with her nephew, he didnt even announce himself, and within four seconds he shot her and killed her through her own window. She was in her own home. I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities because police violence is also gun violence and we need to address that.

Emily Stewart

After Bernie Sanders said hell respond to automation-induced job loss by giving Americans a federal jobs guarantee, Andrew Yang insisted he had a better idea: universal basic income the idea that the government should dispense a regular stipend to every single citizen, no strings attached.

Yang has promised that if he becomes president, the government will send a check for $1,000 per month ($12,000 annually) to every American adult above age 18. He calls it the Freedom Dividend.

On Tuesday night, he successfully played up two of the appeals of UBI: its simplicity and its directness. His emphasis on putting money straight in peoples pockets and trusting them to know how best to spend it helped him stand out and may have made his proposal more palatable to a broadly individualistic American electorate.

What was most interesting was the way Yang made the case that a UBI is better than a Sanders-style jobs guarantee. He noted its important not only that people have jobs but that theyre able to pursue the work thats right for them. Heres what he said:

I am for the spirit of a federal jobs guarantee, but you have to look at how it would actually materialize in practice. What are the jobs? Who manages you? What if you dont like your job? What if youre not good at your job? The fact is most Americans do not want to work for the federal government. And saying that that is the vision of the economy of the 21st century to me is not a vision that most Americans would embrace.

Also Senator Sanderss description of a federal jobs guarantee does not take into account the work of people like my wife, whos at home with our two boys, one of whom is autistic. We have a Freedom Dividend of $1,000 a month, it actually recognizes the work that is happening in our families and our communities. It helps all Americans transition.

Because the fact is, and you know this in Ohio, if you rely upon the federal government to target its resources, you wind up with failed retraining programs and jobs that no one wants. When we put the money into our hands, we can build a trickle-up economy from our people, our families, and our communities up. It will enable us to do the kind of work that we want to do. This is the sort of positive vision in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we have to embrace as a party.

Sigal Samuel

At the third presidential debate in September, reproductive rights werent mentioned at all. Sen. Kamala Harris objected at the time, tweeting that the debate was three hours long and not one question about abortion or reproductive rights.

This time, she took matters into her own hands. During a discussion about taxes under Medicare-for-all (something thats gotten a lot of attention at previous debates, to say the least), Harris turned the conversation to another aspect of health care: abortion. Heres what she said:

This is the sixth debate we have had in this presidential cycle and not nearly one word with all of these discussions about health care on womens access to reproductive health care, which is under full-on attack in America today. And its outrageous. There are states that have passed laws that will virtually prevent women from having access to reproductive health care, and it is not an exaggeration to say women will die.

Poor women, women of color will die because these Republican legislatures in these various states who are out of touch with America are telling women what to do with their bodies. Women are the majority of the population in this country. People need to keep their hands off of womens bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives.

Harris is one of several Democratic presidential candidates with robust plans for maintaining and expanding abortion access around the country, even as Republican-controlled state legislatures pass near-total bans and other restrictions on reproductive care. But they havent had much of a chance to talk about them at the previous debates. Harris brought up the oversight, making the point that abortion is a significant health care issue in America today.

Anna North

Trump abandoned Americas Kurdish allies when he made the abrupt decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey to invade. In the seven days since, Turkeys incursion has unleashed a humanitarian crisis, created an opening for ISIS, and reshuffled alliances in the Syrian war, leaving the US with no leverage in Syria and again badly damaging American credibility with allies.

So its no surprise Syria came up in Tuesdays debate. Democrats have largely embraced the stance of ending Americas forever wars in the Middle East, but here they were confronted with the complicated reality of what can happen when America does leave.

Buttigiegs foreign policy plan straddles that line too: It calls for limiting Americas endless engagement overseas, including repealing and replacing the 2011 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was intended for al-Qaeda after 9/11 but has ultimately given presidents broad authority to go after terrorism everywhere. Buttigieg has also said that the US should continue to provide security assistance to those fighting terrorists which sounds a lot like what the US was doing in Syria, up until last week.

His response to Tuesday nights question, however, was a clear, forceful takedown of Trumps Syria policy and an impassioned defense of the importance of American leadership.

In doing so, he touted his own military service, showed off his foreign policy credentials (not bad for a small-town mayor!), and probably got the attention of a lot of people who worry that another four years of Trump will irrevocably damage US standing in the world:

Well, respectfully, congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong. The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.

Look, I didnt think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place. I think we need to get out of Afghanistan, but its also the case that a small number of specialized, special operations forces and intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what were seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.

Meanwhile, soldiers in the field are reporting that, for the first time, they feel ashamed ashamed of what their country has done. We saw the spectacle, the horrifying sight of a woman with the lifeless body of her child in her arms asking what the hell happened to American leadership.

When I was deployed, I knew one of the things keeping me safe was the fact that the flag on my shoulder represented a country known to keep its word. And our allies knew it. And our enemies knew that. You take that away, you are taking away what makes America America. It makes the troops and the world a much more dangerous place.

Jen Kirby

In terms of executive experience, the most important piece of Sen. Warrens resum is her work in championing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And on Tuesday evening, she reminded voters of that.

Warren first conceived of the agency as a Harvard professor in 2007. After the financial crisis, she went to Washington, DC, to help get it codified into the Dodd-Frank reform bill, and she spent nearly a year setting the consumer agency up.

Its one of the central arguments for her candidacy, though its not one she makes often: she has experience in the executive branch and she understands the levers of power, including when it comes to regulation. The Massachusetts Democrat jumped at the opportunity to point that out. I know what we can do by executive authority, and I will use it, Warren said.

So you started this question with how you got something done. Following the financial crash of 2008, I had an idea for a consumer agency that would keep giant banks from cheating people. And all of the Washington insiders and strategic geniuses said, dont even try because you will never get it passed.

And sure enough, the big banks fought us. The Republicans fought us. Some of the Democrats fought us. But we got that agency passed into law. It has now forced big banks to return more than $12 billion directly to people they cheated. I served in the Obama administration. I know what we can do by executive authority, and I will use it. In Congress, on the first day, I will pass my anti-corruption bill, which will beat back the influence of money and repeal the filibuster. And the third, we want to get something done in America, we have to get out there and fight for the things that touch peoples lives.

Former Vice President Joe Biden interjected to note that he had backed the CFPB and helped it to gain support in Congress to which Warren responded with a dig redirecting credit, too, thanking former President Barack Obama for championing the agency.

She then brought it back to her fight to get the bureau in place. Understand this: it was ... dream big, fight hard, she said. People told me, Go for something little, go for something small, go for something that the big corporations will be able to accept. I said no. Lets go for an agency that will make structural change in our economy.

Emily Stewart

Author and activist Marianne Williamson wasnt onstage on Tuesday, but there is another candidate running on a message of love: Sen. Cory Booker. And in his last response of the evening, the New Jersey Democrat returned to that theme that is a core part of his candidacy.

I believe in the values of rugged individualism and self-reliance, but think about our history. Rugged individualism didnt get us to the moon, it didnt beat the Nazis, it didnt map the human genome, it didnt beat Jim Crow, he said.

He noted that among his fellow primary contenders are an openly gay man and a black woman, the result of a common struggle and a common purpose. It might have come off as a little sappy, but it was also moving.

You cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women, Booker said. Love is not sentimentality, its not anemic. Love is struggle, love is sacrifice.

Well look, I have so many, I dont even know where to count. I was the mayor of a large city with a Republican governor. He and I had to form a friendship even though I can write a dissertation on our disagreements. When I got to the United States Senate, I went there with the purpose of making friendships across the aisle.

I go to bible study in Chairman Inhofes office. He and I passed legislation together to help homeless and foster kids. I went out to try to invite every one of my Republican colleagues to dinner. And let me again say, finding a dinner in a restaurant agreeing on one with Ted Cruz was a very difficult thing. Im a vegan, and hes a meat-eating Texan. But Ill tell you this right now. This is the moment in America that this is our test. The spirit of our country I believe in the values of rugged individualism and self-reliance.

But think about our history. Rugged individualism didnt get us to the moon. It didnt beat the Nazis. It didnt map the human genome. It didnt beat Jim Crow. Everything we did in this country big ... and we have done so many big things. The fact that theres an openly gay man. A black woman. All of us on this stage are because we in the past are all inheritors of a legacy of common struggle and common purpose. This election is not a referendum on one guy in one office. Its a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other. The next leader is going to have to be one amongst us Democrats that can unite us all.

Emily Stewart

In the fourth Democratic debate, the candidates treated Elizabeth Warren as the frontrunner. Voxs Ezra Klein explains what that means for the race ahead.

Looking for a quick way to keep up with the never-ending news cycle? Host Sean Rameswaram will guide you through the most important stories at the end of each day.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

View post:

Democratic debate highlights: best and most substantive answers of the night - Vox.com

Assembly Elections 2019: Why is the Congress evasive about NYAY scheme this poll season? – Moneycontrol.com

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had pitched for a surgical strike on poverty. Gandhi had said if the Congress was voted to power at the Centre, his government will transfer Rs 72,000 a year into the accounts of the countrys five crore poor.

The Congress named the scheme NYAY, or Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Minimum Income Scheme), in an attempt to deliver justice to the countrys poorest poor.

The scheme was also seen as a rejoinder to PM Modis KISAN Yojana, wherein he promised to transfer Rs 6,000 annually (in three equal installments) to the countrys over 12 crore farmers.

Rahul Gandhi, along with other party leaders, used the NYAY Scheme extensively during his campaign trail ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. However, after the Congress drubbing, the party has hardly used NYAY as a poll plank for the upcoming Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly Polls.

Why has the Congress been evasive about the NYAY scheme and did it really help the party pick up steam, lets find out.

Did NYAY resonate with the voters?

NYAY was launched by the Grand Old Party on March 25, weeks before the polling for Lok Sabha elections began, in an attempt to counter the hyper nationalistic agenda being promulgated by the BJP after the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot airstrike.

Even though the announcement was late, the Congress hoped to draw attention on the issues of poverty and unemployment through the scheme and project itself as pro-poor.

A post-poll survey by Lokniti showed that among the poor voters who would have been the beneficiary of the scheme only 46 percent were aware about NYAY, a marginal increase from 44 percent recorded in the pre-poll survey.

This meant that despite trying to popularize the scheme through ads, hoardings, etc, awareness about NYAY missed a significant chunk of the target audience.

The post-poll survey also pointed out that respondents had a mixed opinion of the scheme. Around 36% thought the Congress would be able to implement the scheme if it came to power, and an equal proportion thought otherwise. Moreover, around 25%, or one-fourth, were not sure or could not say whether the Congress would be able to keep its promise.

Experts believe that PM Modis KISAN scheme overshadowed NYAY as by the time Congress announced it, farmers had already received the first installment. In addition, reports of the Congress not fulfilling their promise of increasing the minimum support price in Chhattisgarh and Haryana dissuaded the voters from choosing the Congress.

Fiscally irresponsible?

Many were of the opinion that the NYAY scheme was commissioned in haste, not considering Indias fiscal situation at the moment. The scheme involved uniform cash transfers of Rs 72,000 a year, or Rs 6,000 a month, to the poorest 20 percent households, or about 50 crore households based on 2011 Census data.

Which meant, the scheme required a mind-boggling sum of Rs 360,000 crore a year, or close to 2 percent of Indias current GDP.

However, the Congress claimed that it was feasible. They had taken inputs from noted MIT professor Abhijit Banerjee, who is a staunch supporter of Universal Basic Income. Although he had suggested a minimum income guarantee of Rs 2,500 a month keeping in mind fiscal discipline. The scheme would have the cost the exchequer Rs 1.50 lakh crore.

While being cautious about the tax reforms that the incoming government would have to introduce to fund the NYAY scheme, Banerjee had said it would only be the first step and eventually central subsidies can be withdrawn.

On October 14, 2019, Abhijit Banerjee, along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

Why is the Congress evasive about NYAY?

Congress' chief spokesperson for Maharashtra, Sachin Sawant, told Moneycontrol that NYAY could be implemented only at the Central level, and is not feasible at the state level.

He said, "NYAY was a part of the manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, and we would have implemented it had we formed the government at the Centre. [It cannot be implemented in Maharashtra or Haryana] Because the state cannot afford to put Rs 72,000 in every account."

"Instead of that, today we have brought in other schemes such as Rs 1,500 for senior citizens' accounts as a pension. NYAY was necessary for the national economy, and it was mocked at by the BJP. But you see now that person who was a part of formulating it has got a Nobel today," Sawant added.

Go here to see the original:

Assembly Elections 2019: Why is the Congress evasive about NYAY scheme this poll season? - Moneycontrol.com

Letter to the Editor: Universal basic income is inevitable as we head toward a fully automated society – The Post

The industrial revolution, which started with the invention of the first commercially successful steam engine in Britain in the 18th century, allowed Britain to literally conquer the world. All the other advancements were built on what was started in the 18th century.

Today, we are witnessing another technological shift or revolution in the sciences: the Digital Revolution, which started in the 1960s with the implementation and adoption of digital data and digital computers (as opposed to human computers, who would run calculations by hand) from transistors and integrated circuits.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) and data mining techniques are being implemented in the physical and natural sciences, engineering, medicine, the finance industry and even in music. Mini-robots are literally taking our jobs; a quick (and free) tour of the Amazon warehouse in Columbus will show you how few employees and many robots are running a facility thats over-1 million square feet.

AI is now used to discover new drugs, predict stock prices, control robots, defeat chess champions and generate musical pieces. But the World Economic Forum and many scientists will tell you not to worry and claim they are just technological advancements and nothing disruptive.

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn predicts that fundamental inventions and new theories will be carried by young scientists or those new to the field. It is only natural that older scientists will resist change that may threaten their research.

A McKinsey analysis on this issue concluded that 45% of work activities could be automated using already demonstrated technology.

That decrease in the demand for human jobs does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. In The German Ideology, Karl Marx says that in an ideal, technologically developed society, nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow.

It is inevitable that leisure time will increase as technological advancements increase and the economy becomes more saturated.

In the same way that our government bribes corrupt and poor countries through USAid to keep their citizens from rioting, we must guarantee every American a universal basic income (UBI) to avoid a feudalistic outcome.

As the population increases and job availability decreases, fewer people will be employed simply because of the automation and digitalization occurring. We are witnessing political and economic chaos around the world, not simply due to the failure of neoliberalism, but also due to this revolution that is readily changing the world.

Andrew Yangs proposal to give every American a UBI must be taken seriously. Older progressives, like Bernie Sanders, still believe that it is possible to give every person a job. Sanders Green New Deal may indeed boost employment and create 20 million green good paying jobs by investing in the rebuilding of the nations infrastructure.

But it will not be effective in addressing the issue of automated jobs in the long run. As we move forward, we must start exploring the UBI option and not ostracize those that cannot find a job at this inflection point in human development.

Mahmoud Ramadan is a senior studying chemical engineering at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Mahmoud by emailing him him at mr612615@ohio.edu.

Read the original:

Letter to the Editor: Universal basic income is inevitable as we head toward a fully automated society - The Post

Democrats focus on some Midwestern issues at Westerville debate, a departure from past three forums – cleveland.com

WESTERVILLE, Ohio Democrats have said to win in 2020 they need to go into their traditional strongholds and talk to voters about the issues that matter to them.

At Tuesday nights debate at Otterbein University, they finally started following their own advice.

After three debates that largely failed to address Midwestern issues in depth, the 12 Democrats on the stage had a fairly robust discussion, taking advantage of their location in the Buckeye State. And they found a way to tie the topics to regional problems.

The economy and jobs were a prime focus of the first hour of discussion, including the monthlong strike by autoworkers against General Motors and the closure of the Lordstown GM plant. The August massacre in Dayton, Ohio, got some play. And the debate even featured a question from a teacher about the opioid crisis.

It was a stark difference from the previous three, which have mostly focused on health care with passing attention given to Midwestern issues.

The economy and jobs

Businessman Andrew Yang, whose chief plank is universal basic income, brought up the economy first, after pivoting from a question in the opening minutes about whether he supported impeaching Republican President Donald Trump.

Why did Donald Trump win your state by eight points? Yang asked the crowd. Because we got rid of 300,000 manufacturing jobs in your towns. And we are not stopping there. Amazon alone is closing 30 percent of America's stores and malls, soaking up $20 billion in business while paying zero in taxes. These are the problems that got Donald Trump elected, the fourth industrial revolution. And that is going to accelerate and grow more serious regardless of who is in the Oval Office.

After focusing on impeachment and health care for 30 minutes, the moderators switched to the economy when Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was asked if his proposed federal jobs guarantee would, in fact, provide a job for every single American.

Damn right we will. And I'll tell you why, Sanders said. If you look at what goes on in America today, we have an infrastructure which is collapsing. We could put 15 million people to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our wastewater plants, airports, et cetera.

CNN moderator Erin Burnett eventually shifted the discussion to automation, asking Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts if she stood by her statement that automation was not the main reason for job loss.

So the data show that we have had a lot of problems with losing jobs, but the principal reason has been bad trade policy, Warren said. The principal reason has been a bunch of corporations, giant multinational corporations who've been calling the shots on trade, giant multinational corporations that have no loyalty to America. They have no loyalty to American workers. They have no loyalty to American consumers. They have no loyalty to American communities. They are loyal only to their own bottom line.

Her proposed solution was to make it easier to join a labor union and require any multinational corporation that wants to do business in America to have 40% of its board elected by employees.

That will make a difference when a corporation decides, Gee, we could save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, when there are people on the board in the boardroom saying, No, do you know what that does to our company? Do you know what that does to our community, what it does to our workers? Warren said.

Former Rep. Beto ORourke of Texas and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said they would rewrite trade deals to require that Mexican workers be allowed to join a labor union.

Guns

The candidates were all asked what they would do to curb gun violence, such as the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, where nine people were slaughtered in less than a minute.

Most of the discussion on the topic was over whether the candidates supported a mandatory or voluntary gun buyback program.

ORourke said he supported a mandatory program. The other candidates supported a form of voluntary buyback, mostly reasoning because they wanted to accomplish goals like universal background checks and red-flag laws while public support is on their side.

I just dont want to screw this up, said Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. When I am president, I want to bring in an assault weapon ban. And I do want to bring in a limitation on magazines so what happened to Dayton, Ohio, doesnt happen again.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California said she would give Congress 100 days to send her a gun reform bill, after which she would use an executive order to institute universal background checks.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said holding gun manufacturers liable for shooting deaths was also a viable option to curbing gun violence.

If you really want to get it done, go after the gun manufacturers and take back the exemption they have to not being sued, Biden said.

Opioids

The opioid addiction crisis also received some play from the moderators, who said they asked Ohioans for their top questions before the debate.

The issue wasnt given as much time as other topics, though, with the candidates uniformly arguing for decriminalizing personal use and shifting funds from jailing addicts to treatment. Yang also argued for safe injection sites.

The candidates mostly agreed with holding the drug companies civilly liable for overdose deaths.

See original here:

Democrats focus on some Midwestern issues at Westerville debate, a departure from past three forums - cleveland.com

New book reviews the Namibian Basic Income pilot – Basic Income News

A new book looks back at the effects of Namibias Basic Income pilot project on the villagers who received the grant.

Publication information: Claudia & Dirk Haarmann, 2019, Basic Income Grant Otjivero, Namibia 10 years. Windhoek, Namibia: Economic & Social Justice Trust

The following is the authors announcement:

Ten years after the Basic Income Grant pilot project in Otjivero, we are glad to announce that a new book has just been published by the Namibian Economic & Social Trust in Windhoek tonight:

You can download the book in pdf or as epub (eReaders) through the following links:

If you want to view more photos of the research you can view them through this link:

Together with Engelhard Unaeb and Herbert Jauch we have conducted this series of interviews with residents of Otjivero in the beginning of 2019. This publication aims to give a voice to the people at the centre of the BIG pilot project who experienced what changed and what remained after the BIG ended and how their lives look like tenyears later. The publication highlights the political developments since the pilot project. Most importantly it provides a long term analysis of the effects of a Basic Income on household andcommunity level from the perspective of the people concerned. This publications wants to ensure that the peoples voices and opinions are heard.

It is our hope and prayer that this book will help to refocus the debate on the urgency for an immediate implementation of a basic income for all!

Publication information: Claudia & Dirk Haarmann, 2019, Basic Income Grant Otjivero, Namibia 10 years. Windhoek, Namibia: Economic & Social Justice Trust

1st payout Johannes Seibeb (born 2001-10-13)

Karl Widerquist has written 965 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justicethe ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIENs news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such asNPRs On Point, NPRs Marketplace,PRIs the World,CNBC,Al-Jazeera,538,Vice,Dissent,the New York Times,Forbes,the Financial Times, andthe Atlantic Monthly, which called him a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.Widerquist holds two doctoratesone in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquists writing is available on his Selected Works website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

View post:

New book reviews the Namibian Basic Income pilot - Basic Income News

Quick notes from Basic Income Guarantee Panel – falicon.com

I took some time out to attend the Basic Income Guarantee talk tonightoverall a really really interesting discussion that Im still processing a bit in my head.

I also used the event to practice myvisual note taking skills (related to another book Im reading)so I thought I would just take a minute to upload/share a copy of those notes here (along with some personal takeaways and caveats).

#1. The single biggest, and most important, note I came away with is that Basic Income Guarantee is really a discussion about basic FREEDOM for individuals and not really so much about individual wealth or revenue.

#2. My handwriting is most likely tough to read here (and in real life too)my artwork is also seriously lacking here (and in real life too)so Ill try to post some notes below to explain some things (but also feel free to ask questions/leave comments about anything you need deciphered).

and a few other quick bits I added on a second page:

throughout the talks, I also wrote a handful of questions (that ended up mostly being answered via questions the rest of the crowd asked and/or the panelists decided to mention in related answers)here is the list of questions I had jotted down during the initial talk portion:

A.) Downside? Who is against this?

General answer was some companies; some fear too much freedom given to the masses; there is a potential moral challenge to what people would/will do with freedom; the current wealthy/middle may feel devalued/threatened.

B.) If oil goes away what does Alaska do? How would it affect the state?

In my opinion this was mostly addressed by the answers to A.

C.) What dependancies would this build? How is it kept in check to remain useful?

A couple of people in the crowd expressed concern that prices would simply rise as a result of this the panel (especially Albert) made the point that most of this only works in a deflationary economy, but they also touched on the fact that distribution and scale of the plan would ensure more freedom to the consumers (and hence the balance of price power would actually become *more* equal between consumers and sellers).

D.) How to get it started/tested?

Most agreed that an iterative approach was the most likely waysome private initiatives are already doing things/testing versions of this which is leading and driving the discussion if nothing else

E.) How does healthcare fit into this? If we cant get universal healthcare, how can we get this?

Albert touched on this in response to some of the other questions but didnt have the opportunity to really deep dive into itbut hes clearly thinking about it and I expect will address it more going forward.

F.) What can this crowd do to help? What are our action items/take aways?

Essentially the panel just wants the word and the discussion to spread at this point.

SOnow to explain a few key things about my notes above:

1. Unfort. I had Michael Lewis and Nathan Schneider mixed up throughout most of my note taking (Michael is the one that talked about political hurdles, freedom, and trade offs; Nathan was the one coming from the time management angle and was the biggest proponent of doing this all outside of government [and not testing the ideas by taking anything *away* from the current poor])

2. The interesting thing about the panel was that everyone came to the idea/desire for a basic income guarantee from a completely different angle (Albert; robots and tech make it reasonable/possible. Peter; Climate & environment changes make it required. Michael; political hurdles are getting too high and difficult for the majority of people to get any value out of current gov. programs. Nathan; Time management is forcing the issue because we no longer have time for *anything* but, often meaningless, work).

3. There was no real opposing view; many in the crowd appeared to have askeptical reactionbut mostly, I think, because they havent fully dug into the source material the panelists have been sharing (yet).

4. I knew about Alberts work around this topic (its also how I knew about the event) but was not aware of the othersof the panel, I found Michaels take very rooted in reality and at least possibleI will dig into all of the panelists content/ideas a bit more over the next few weeks, but Im excited to dig into Michaels stuff the most.

5. Unrelated to anything really, but holy cow do people need to work on asking questionsevery single question that came from the crowd was a multi-minute ramble fest (kinda like this post)they were great questions, but they took a lot to get out.

6. There is clearly a lot of growing passion around this topicthats both encouraging and excitingI hope it continues to grow.

7. If you want to get involved in this topic and other stuff around it you should check out the web site they mentioned at the end http://basicincome.nyc, follow the panelists on twitter (and their blogs), and also check out @civichall

Read more:

Quick notes from Basic Income Guarantee Panel - falicon.com

‘Hartz reforms’: how a benefits shakeup changed Germany …

Exactly 10 years ago today, Germany's labour market was subjected to the first of the so-called Hartz IV reforms. Brought about by the smooth centre-left chancellor Gerhard Schrder, it was a watershed moment that changed the way the German government deals with poverty.

The changes were riddled with the kind of Anglicisms that German officialdom likes to deploy for any modernisation. In the past decade, unemployed Germans have been bewildered with a kaleidoscope of new "Denglish" terms, from "Jobcenter" to "Personal Service Agentur" to "Mini-Job" to "BridgeSystem". But the measures recommended by the Hartz commission named after its chairman, former Volkswagen executive Peter Hartz boiled to down to this: the bundling of unemployment benefits and social welfare benefits into one neat package.

The immediate effect was to leave those living on benefits worse off (as of 2013, the standard rate for a single person is 382 a month, plus the cost of "adequate housing" and healthcare). But the new element that brought the most profound change was the contract, drawn up between the "jobseeker" and the "Jobcenter", which defined what each party promised to do to get the jobseeker back on somebody's payroll. This was coupled with "sanctions" in other words, benefit cuts if the jobseeker failed to keep up his or her side of the bargain. With those two measures, Germany came to accept the modern interpretation of the word "incentive" in the job market: the doctrine that poor people will only work if they are they are not given money.

There are myriad debates about the net results or benefits of the Hartz reforms. Unemployment, both long-term and short-term, has certainly dropped considerably in Germany since 1 January 2003, but critics say that's only because most jobless people are forced to accept the next job they can find and often they end up in one so low-paid and part-time that they were still dependent on some sort of state welfare anyway. Then again, the flexibility that allows employers especially major industrial companies to take on and lay off part-time shift workers depending on the state of the export market has certainly helped Germany to ride out the global economic crisis in the past three years.

But what is hard to overlook is that the Hartz reforms have had two social effects. First, they have helped to accelerate inequality in Germany. According to an April 2012 OECD report, "Germany is the only [EU] country that has seen an increase in labour earnings inequality from the mid 1990s to the end 2000s driven by increasing inequality in the bottom half of the distribution." The report goes on to point to "a set of reforms in 2003 meant to increase the flexibility of the labour market" which help to explain the "wage moderation".

Second, the Hartz concept has created new support for an old idea that is its ideological opposite the basic income guarantee, or the bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen. This proposes that every citizen should simply be handed an unconditional income, without means-testing or any pressure to work, and thus be allowed to do more or less what they want with their lives. The German website of the income guarantee movement dates the explosion of interest to the fourth and final phase of the Hartz reforms, which came into effect in 2005.

Hartz IV, which still stirred enough anger last autumn to drive one activist to go on hunger strike, has intensified the debate around this radical alternative. And while none of the major parties have adopted it as policy, every one of them including Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union has raised the notion in their internal party debates.

On top of this, the basic income advocates have even been handed some ammunition by Germany's consititution, the Basic Law. Over the years, certain elements of the Hartz reforms have fallen foul of the constitution and its celebrated opening line "human dignity is inviolable". The German state is obliged to guarantee its citizens a life compatible with "human dignity," a principle that resulted in a 2010 court ruling that said the standard Hartz IV payment is not calculated in a way that ensures that. In April 2012, a Berlin court decided that the monthly Hartz IV payment was exactly 36 too little (or 100 for a family) to comply with constitutional requirements. That is not yet, and probably won't ever be, enough to overthrow the entire Hartz concept, but the conflict with the "pressure to work" ideology is growing more apparent.

More here:

'Hartz reforms': how a benefits shakeup changed Germany ...

Basic income could end food insecurity – Upstream

Eating is an essential act of survival that we do every day. But eating is much more than biology. It's also social, cultural, psychological, emotional and political.

The food we eat and the circumstances we eat it in tell us who we are and where we belong in our society.

What does it tell us about who we are, and where we belong, when we cant afford to buy the food we need and want for ourselves and our families? All of us have had the experience of being hungry, having skipped a meal or as we await our next. But for most of us, we know that food will soon be available. That is an entirely different experience than having no food in the cupboard and no money to buy more. This condition of food insecurity affects at least 4 million Canadians, including more than a million kids. What does it tell us about who we are as a society that we tolerate this in a land of such wealth and abundance?

Most Canadians cannot bear the thought that so many in this country are hungry. That's why we have food banks, an effort started by ordinary Canadians in their communities, distributing food to those who didnt have enough to eat. But after more than thirty years of trying, food banks have been unable to solve the problem of hunger. When they started in the 80s, food banks saw themselves as a temporary measure. They expected to fold up and disappear once the economy improved. But even though we are vastly more wealthy as a country, the number of Canadians using food banks remains high, and the number of food insecure Canadians is even higher.

"What does it tell us about who we are as a society that we tolerate this in a land of such wealth and abundance?"

Its not surprising that food banks havent been able to eliminate hunger, because the upstream problem is poverty. Food insecurity is one of the many symptoms of poverty and will disappear only when we effectively tackle its source.

As an academic and researcher who has studied food insecurity for more than twenty years, I yearn for the day when food banks can close because they are no longer needed. Two years ago, I learned about an exciting new national campaign to promote an unconditional basic income guarantee to eliminate poverty. I became a founding member of the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee and have watched this idea take off. While there have been national conversations off and on about basic income for many years, it now appears basic incomes time has finally come.

As part of a progressive package of social supports including programs like pharmacare and affordable housing, an effective basic income guarantee really could eliminate poverty. In doing so it would also eliminate food insecurity and a host of other social determinants of stress, poor health, suffering and premature death. Some of us believe there is a strong moral and ethical imperative for us to look after each other. There is also a strong economic case. We know that for every dollar we invest in reducing poverty, eventually we will save about two dollars in health care, education and the justice system.

"Its not surprising that food banks havent been able to eliminate hunger, because the upstream problem is poverty."

For these reasons, even those uninterested in poverty reduction have become supporters. A basic income guarantee could help alleviate the pervasive sense of insecurity that we are experiencing, as full-time jobs with benefits disappear and climate change creates uncertainty. At Queens university where I teach, at least 40% of the undergraduate students are on anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. That anxiety has in part been created by the systematic underfunding and dismantling of social programs, and years of being told that we are on our own to face the uncertainties of life. Intense individualism and competition for allegedly scarce resources (like a decent, stable job) have taken an immense toll.

All across the country health professionals, non-governmental organizations, elected officials and ordinary citizens are becoming enthusiastic about basic income. Food Banks Canada has endorsed basic income. Mayors Nenshi (Calgary) and Iveson (Edmonton) are fans, as well as mayors in many other cities. The recently elected premier of PEI, Wade McLaughlin, has pledged his support. Kingston City Council recently became the first elected body to endorse basic income, and did so unanimously. Now other municipal governments are following suit.

"It now appears basic incomes time has finally come."

Just last month Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, has begun seriously considering a federal basic income guarantee, and newly appointed Quebec Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, Franois Blais, has been mandated to explore a basic income for Quebecers. Former Senator Hugh Segal is one of Canadas biggest (and most persistent) champions of basic income. The Ontario Public Health Association, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Medical Association, and many other health professionals and their associations are calling for a basic income guarantee to eliminate poverty, improve health, and save Medicare.

Well-known author and activist Naomi Klein recommends the implementation a basic income as the most important step in solving global climate change. She believes it will foster a sense of collectivity, enabling us to work together to tackle this urgent public health problem.

From solving poverty and food insecurity to facilitating action on global climate change, a basic income guarantee can give us a solid collective footing to work together again, to find new ways to live together and more sustainably on the planet, and reimagine our collective future. Implementing a basic income guarantee would tell us a lot about who we imagine ourselves to be as Canadians a compassionate and pragmatic people who understand that addressing the upstream causes of poor health and premature death is a nations most urgent and important goal.

---

Elaine Power is an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Studies at Queens University. She teaches social determinants of health to several hundred undergraduate students and does research about food and eating, especially in the context of poverty. She is a co-founder of the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee and a member of the Basic Income Canada Network.

The rest is here:

Basic income could end food insecurity - Upstream

Basic Income Canada Network

Over 50 presentations made at the2018North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, held May 24-27 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, are now available!

Titled "Basic Income: Bold Ideas, Practical Solutions for discussion of the idea of Basic Income," the 17th Annual NABIG Congress wasthemed around (1) the converging paths leading to basic income (e.g., health, human rights, automation, sustainability, democracy, etc.); and (2) making basic income a reality, through pilots, policy, and public support. Approximately 275 people, from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Chile, the U.K., Germany, Portugal, Russia, and Australia attended, including approximately 120 people who presented on a wide range of topics. See the final Congress Program.

The annual NABIG Congress is organized by the Basic Income Canada Network and theU.S. Basic Income GuaranteeNetwork. The 2018 Congress was organized in collaboration with McMaster University, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, Low Income Families Together (in Toronto), and otherpartners. Very special thanks are given to McMaster University for tremendous on-site logistical support, and to McMaster University, the LIUNA Enrico Henry Mancinelli Chair in Global Labour Issues, theHamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, Deloitte Canada, the Hamilton Community Foundation, theSisters of Providence (Kingston, Ontario), and to a number of individuals for their very kind financial or in-kind support.

Excerpt from:

Basic Income Canada Network

Basic Income Guarantee – Your Right to Economic Security …

"This book is a great idea - brilliantly stated. Some may think it's ultra-liberal, as they did when I proposed a similar idea in 1972. I see it as true conservatism - the right of income for all Americans sufficient for food, shelter, and basic necessities. Or, what Jefferson referred to as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." - U.S. Senator George McGovern, 1972 Democratic Party Presidential Candidate

"Sheahen and I are as far apart on political philosophy and the causes of the nation's current mess as two people can be, but we both think that a basic income guarantee has to be part of the solution. That says something about the potential of this important idea whose time, as we both hope, is coming. Basic Income Guarantee will help make that happen." - Charles Murray, author of In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State

"Basic Income Guarantee is a fascinating, lucid presentation of a complex subject. Sheahen asks and answers the questions of what a just society should and could do to overcome income insecurity. Given our prolonged economic malaise, everyone in America should be thinking about it." - Theresa Funiciello, author of Tyranny of Kindness and head of Social Agenda

"Absent as an issue for almost fifty years, Allan Sheahen places the idea of a basic income for all Americans squarely back on the national agenda. In plain English, this radical idea is not only clearly explained but answers even the toughest objections that can be raised. This book should make sense even to my most dysfunctional colleagues in Congress." - Bob Filner, U.S. Congressman of San Diego and former chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee

View post:

Basic Income Guarantee - Your Right to Economic Security ...

The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee …

'Yes, a different world is possible, and it will include basic income security for all. But it will not come about without a thorough discussion involving a broad range of scholars, determined to look beyond the borders of their discipline and their nation, and eager to learn from the failures of the past. This is precisely the sort of collective effort which this book splendidly illustrates.' Professor Philippe Van Parijs, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and Harvard University, USA 'Big ideas like these, carefully considered, could change the world. Although not everyone will agree that basic income guarantees should top the progressive social policy agenda, readers of this book will be enriched by the breadth and depth of arguments on their behalf. Ranging from narrative history to technical labour economics, these essays describe a compelling strategy for developing a kinder, gentler economy.' Professor Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts, USA 'For anyone researching a Citizen's Income this book is essential reading.' Citizen's Income Newsletter 'The book makes an excellent contribution to the literature...the quality of the essays is truly outstanding...thought provoking, well researched, well written, and well edited.' Journal of Economic Issues

Follow this link:

The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee ...

Is a Basic Income Guarantee the Right Choice for Ontario?

Ontario has introduced basic income pilot projects in 3 Ontario communities that aim to provide a living wage for all. For those who believe in a living wage, the question is whether or not the approach being tested in the Ontario pilot projects is the best way to achieve this objective.

Introduction

In 2017, Ontario introduced pilot projects related to a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) benefit in three Ontario communities. The Ontario pilot projects apply to both low-income individuals in the workforce and low-income individuals not in the workforce. The objective of the pilot projects is to assess whether there is a simple way of providing a living wage that would lift all Ontariansout of poverty.

Before assessing BIG in the context of both working and non-working low-income Ontarians, here is how the BIG benefit works in thethree Ontario pilot programs now underway.

Four thousand low-income Ontario residents in three communities have been offered a spot in the pilot study.Non-working Ontariansreceive a Basic Income payment instead of standard social assistance and those working will receive what amounts to a wage supplement. The annual payment is set at $16,989 for single individuals, or $24,027 for married couples. An additional $6,000 per year will be provided to individuals with disabilities. Recipients get to keep any child benefits, dental and pharmaceutical access, and disability supports to which they are already entitled. However, their Basic Income payment shrinks by 50 cents on each dollar of work related earnings, and by 100 cents on the dollar of CPP or EI income.

Eligible participants are those living on a low income (under $34,000 per year if youre single or under $48,000 per year if youre a couple). There are no asset tests involved in determining eligibility.

Part 1: BIG and Low-Income Workers

According to the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social services, 70% of those living below the low-income threshold in Ontario do not receive Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program benefits andare eligible for the pilot projects for Ontarios Basic Income Program. In other words, all low-income workers will be eligible for the benefit as a top-up of their earnings.

For those who are working, those eligible for the BIG will include not only the approximately 14% of Ontario workers earning the minimum wage but a majority of the roughly 30% of Ontario workers earning within $4 of the minimum wage. A back of the envelop calculation suggests that close to50% of Ontarians eligible forthe Basic Income Program would presently be in the labour force.

Ifclose to 50% of Ontarians who would be eligible for a province-wide BIG are currently employed (whether part-time or full-time), the BIG project must be seen as a labour market initiative as much as it is seen as an attempt at income support reform.

In turn, viewing the Ontario BIG initiative through a labour market lens forces the fundamental question as to whether the best way to bring low-wage workers out of poverty is to: 1) provide these workers with an income supplement to theirwages funded out of the tax base (as a BIG does); or 2) to enact labour law changes that put upward pressure on wages complemented by active labour market measures (e.g. training and apprenticeship) that encourage high wage, stable employment.

The answer to this question, in turn, begs the question as to who Ontarios low wage employers are. In other words, are the employers of Ontarios low-wage workers primarily small mom and pop businesses struggling to pay their rent and hydro bills or are they larger, profitable companies that can afford to pay higher wages and provide full-time employment? If Ontarios low-wage employers are primarily very small businesses, then that strengthens the argument for a BIG as some of these small businesses may have trouble affording significant wage increases. If that is not the case, and a majority of low-wage workers are employed by good-sized, profitable companies, then the better approach is likely to be stronger labour laws and an expansion of active labour market measures that would put upward pressures on wages of large corporations that can afford the higher wage costs.

Unfortunately, definitive Canadian statistics on the size and profitability of low-wage employers are hard to come by. However,in the U.S. it is clear that some 20 mega-companies dominate the minimum-wage world. Walmart alone employs 1.3 million workers at or near minimum-wage; Yum Brands owner of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC is in second place; and McDonalds takes third.

Overall, 60 percent of American minimum-wage workers are employed by businesses not officially considered small by U. S. government standards.

In Canada, evidence suggests that the U.S. pattern of low wage work dominated by large, profitable companies, is similar with many of the same multi-nationals ranking in the top 10 of employers of low-income workers in both countries.

The take-away from this is that the Basic Income benefits going to Ontarios low-wage workers will directly end up subsidizing some of the worlds largest and most profitable companies companies that have a history of virulent anti-unionism and companies for whom a low-wage, precarious workforce is a key element of their business strategy.

Of course, the use of means tested public programs to compensate for low wages is nothing new. The question is whether Ontario wants to initiate a new, large-scale program that would massively increase these sorts of subsidies to large profitable companies.

The U.S. Experience in subsidizing low-income workers Walmart as an example

At this point, its useful to take a close look at the role existing U.S. programs aimed at low-income households have in subsidizing the incomesof low-wage earners. Lets use Walmart as an example.

Looking at subsidies going to Walmarts U. S. operations is instructive in that a fair amount of research has been done on the subject and also because the absence in the U.S. of universal health insurance and a tradition of miserly income support programs, allows for a focus on U. S. means tested programs like Medicaid and Food Stamps and therefore an easier calculation of subsidies being funneled into a particularly profitable company through means tested programs.

First, according to a report prepared by the Americans for Tax Fairness, the annual bill that States and the U.S. government foot through means-tested programs for American working families making poverty-level wages is $153 billion with $6.2 billion of that going to Walmart alone. In many states, Walmart employees are the largest group of Medicaid and food stamp recipients!

The study estimated that the cost to U. S. taxpayers of a single Walmart Supercentre was between $904,000 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,000 and $5,800 on average for each of 300 workers typically employed in the Supercentres!

And Walmart is not just big it is enormously profitable.

While $6.2 billion in Medicaid and food stamp aid was required to keep Walmarts low wage employees heads above water, the company had $14 billion in profits in 2016 on revenues of $473 billion. The Walton family, which owns more than 50 percent of Walmart shares, reaps roughly $5 billion in annual dividends and share buybacks from the company. Taken together, the six Walton heirs are the wealthiest family in America, with a net worth of $149 billion. Collectively, these six Waltons have more wealth than 49 million American families combined. The second richest family, the notorious Koch brothers, trail far behind with a total net worth of $86 billion.

Whither Ontario?

The point of this detour into the world of American corporate welfare is to shed some light on the central question of whether low income Ontario workers who again, comprise roughly half those eligible for BIG pilot projects can best be lifted above the poverty line through a BIG or through higher minimum wages and labour law changes that ultimately lead to increased union density in the low-wage service sector.

In the authors opinion, the fact that in Ontario so many BIG eligible workers are employed by large, profitable employers who can afford to pay higher wages and provide more full-time work, suggests that labour law reform leading to higher private sector union densities, is the preferable route.

And to be blunt, does Ontario really want to spend billions of dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money making the Waltons (Walmart) and the billionaires who run 3G Capital (owners of Tims and Burger King) even richer than they already are through subsidizing the wages of their underpaid employees?

So proposition # 1: improving the lot of the working poor is best addressed by an aggressive approach to increasing the minimum wage combined with labour law reform that allows for increased union density in the low-wage, private, service sector. Companies like Walmart, Macdonalds and RBI (the parent company of Tims and Burger King), should not be receiving tax-payer paid income supplements to compensate fortheirlow-wage, precarious workforce that is a key element of these employers business strategy.

The argument to this point is that an aggressive approach to the minimum wage and fundamental labour law reform resulting in increased union density in the low-wage, private sector is more desirable than BIG from a policy perspective.But what is the political feasibility of fundamental labour law reformof this sort? After all, Ontario just went through a comprehensive round of labour law reform that culminated in labour legislation (Bill 148) and while there was a significant increase in the minimum wage,the modest, pro-union changes in the Ontario Labour Relations Act contained in the bill were not the sortof fundamental changes that will likely lead to increased, private sector union densityin the foreseeable future.

In other words, the obvious objection to the argument that labour law changes are the answer to low-wage, precarious work is that the kind of legislative changes that would put substantial upward pressure on wages are simply not going to happen that private sector labour has been on the decline for at least 35 years in Canada and throughout much of the developed world, and that there is no reason to think that that decline is going turn around anytime soon.

Moreover, proponents of this view suggest that the forces of globalization, automation, the so-called sharing economy, and artificial intelligence will continue to strengthen and that continued downward pressure on private sector wages and working conditions is inevitable. It is worth noting that many of the most prominent proponents of the inevitability of an increase in low-wage, precarious work in particular the giants of Silicon Valley are also strong advocates for a Basic Income Guarantee as they are hostile to unions and more generally any regulatory initiatives that would impinge upon their core business models.

The problem with this view is that regional labour markets are products more of politics and policy than of global macro-economic trends. And while it may be true that the general trend over the past 35 years has been policy changes that de-regulate the labour market, keep the minimum wage low and weaken unions, that has not always been the case. The fact is that the politics of labour market policy plays out in a particular time in a particular place and that there have been a number of exceptions to the general trend towards deregulated labour markets. Just looking at Canada, examples of significant initiatives towards the re-regulation of regional labour markets include Ontario in 1992, British Columbia in 1993, Alberta in 2017 and Ontario again in 2017. And Quebec has for decades maintained the strongest labour laws in North America.

In Ontario, the labour legislation passed in December, 2017 (Bill 148), certainly represented a modest tilt towards more regulation of the Ontario labour market that will result in at least some upward pressure on wages. The biggest win by far for advocates of higher wages for low-income workers was the aggressive approach to increasing the minimum wage which resulted in a $14/hr. minimum wageon January 1, 2018, and $15/hr. by January 1, 2019. Of course, the increase to $15/hr. from 14/hr. is in question should there be a PC victory in the June 7 Ontario provincial election.

While Bill 148 certainly included some important gains for Ontarios workers such as the minimum wage increase, it is increasingly clear that without some sort of sectoral, broader-based bargaining regime, Ontarios labour movement will have difficulty in reversing the downward trend in private sector, union density.

On this question, it was somewhat disappointing that the Changing Workplaces final recommendations failed to endorse some of the bolder sectoral bargaining options put forth in the interim report. Moreover, important recommendations that did make it into the final report such as the consolidation into a single bargaining unit of franchisees with the same employer in the same region were rejected by the government. This suggests that labour policies that move beyond the single employer, Wagner Act model, are encountering considerable resistance from both within and outside the government (i.e. the employer community).

That said,the fundamental analysis underlying the Changing Workplaces report and the overall direction of the subsequent legislation, strongly endorsed the view that the growth of low-wage, precarious work was bad for Ontario and that measures needed to be taken to begin to reverse these labour market trends.

This is a view also shared by the provincial Liberals and New Democrats.

BIG and Non-working, Low-income Ontarians

At this point, it would be possible to simply end the paper because once one declares BIG the wrong way to go in dealing with the challenges of the working poor, one essentially abandons the notion of a BIG. It is by definition a solution that applies to all those living in poverty whether they are working or not.

But to say that BIG is not the answer for the non-working poor begs the question as to what is.

It is therefore necessary to address the roughly 50% of BIG eligible participants that are not in the labour force many of which are receiving benefits through Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

To provide some narrative continuity, this article will maintain the same somewhat simplified structure in this part of the paper as was provided in the first part and assess a BIG as it would apply to the non-working poor against an obvious alternative option for improving their lot: namely the policy agendas advanced for decades in one form or another to bring the non-working poor above the poverty line through Employment Insurance reform, social assistance reform and related income support measures.

The first issue that jumps out when comparing the feasibility of a province-wide BIG relative to the social assistance and EI reform agendas that have been advanced for decades, is the huge cost of a province-wide BIG.

The Ontario BIG pilot project will reportedly cost the province $50 million per year and will provide basic income to approximately 4,000 people. An extrapolation from this in an attempt to calculate the cost of a province-wide roll out of BIG involves integrating so many interdependent variables, that even coming up with a cost within a broad band involves much speculation. But starting with the costs related to the top-ups of benefit levels for OW and ODSP (currently costing the Ontario treasury roughly $9 billion dollars) and then factoring in top-ups to EI recipients and low-income workers, it is hard not to come up with an annual net incremental cost of between $15 $20 billion dollars. And by net I mean taking into account potential efficiencies to be gained by implementing a BIG, such as administrative efficiencies and the alleviation of many of the indirect costs of poverty.

And there is only one way to finance an increase in net social spending of between $15 and $20 billion through a massive increase in Ontario provincial taxes.

Tax increases needed to roll out a BIG province-wide

Here are some numbers that suggest why such an increase is not politically feasible.

Ontarios current program spending totals $130 billion on tax revenues of roughly $95 billion.

Other non-tax sources of revenue come from federal transfers which Ontario has little control over, income from Government Business Enterprises, and other forms of non-tax revenues involving fees, etc. These revenue categories provide very little room for growth leaving the only real option to fund a BIG massive increases in the taxes that Ontario has control over.

However, when it comes to the all important provincial Personal Income and Corporate Income taxes, Ontario has control only in a limited sense in that it has no say over the base on which the provincial tax rates are levied. All deductions and exemptions related to the base are controlled by the federal government so on these taxes Ontario can only increase overall revenue by increasing provincial tax rates and reducing provincial tax credits.

On the HST, Ontario still has control over the provincial portion of the rate (currently 8%) but has lost much of the flexibility to apply an increase selectively that it had under its own Provincial Sales Tax (PST). This makes it harder to tailor a HST increase in a politically tactical way. And even when Ontario had more control over what goods and services were subject to its sales tax, an increase in the old PST was always a political hard sell.

Bottom line: the Personal Income Tax, the Corporate Income Tax, and the provincial portion of the HST account for $71 billion of Ontarios total tax revenue of $95 billion. And given that Ontario has no control over the corporate and personal income tax bases, the truth of the matter is that the only way to raise an additional $15 $20 billion to finance a BIG province-wide, is to implement huge rate increases in personal and corporate income tax rates along with a significant increase in the provincial portion of the HST. And this is simply not politically feasible.

Therefore, the danger is that if too many eggs are put into the Basic Income Guarantee basket and the government of the day comes to believe that it is a political necessity to push a BIG out the door province wide, we are very unlikely to get a benefit level that ensures that no one is in poverty (and supplementary programs are maintained) because the increase in taxes to do this would be politically unacceptable. In fact, we are more likely to get a small Universal Basic Income well below the poverty line combined with social program cuts because the initiative would be scaled back to fit politically feasible tax increases.

There is also a danger of the Basic Income project replacing (or at least stalling momentum on) other initiatives under way in Ontario that have similar goals to the Basic Income for the non-working poor but are much farther along in terms of working out the details and are more political feasible. These include the proposals contained in the Income Security Reform Working Groups report, Income Security: A Roadmap for Change.

At the federal level, there is also the danger that EI reform and efforts to significantly increase the Working Income Tax Credit might be undermined by the Basic Income albeit admittedly there does not appear to be a whole lot of momentum behind these initiatives.

An alternative policy agenda to ensure a living income for Ontarios working and non-working poor.

So, whats the alternative agenda if you have your doubts about BIG but believe government should commit to a living income for all?

Here is a partial policy agenda:

Conclusion

Incrementality in all its messiness and complexity is sometimes preferable to a silver bullet that solves all problems. The search for a silver bullet such as BIG to once and for all eliminate poverty and increase equality has its attractions, but it can undermine a set of practical and incremental initiatives where there is already momentum, where many of the details have already been worked out, and which represent substantial steps that taken together, move us closer to the long-term goal of a living income for all in Ontario.

Perhaps the BIG pilot projects will give us some useful information. There are a range of administration and integration issues that will have to be worked through that can be integrated into the agenda outlined above.

But the danger is that the BIG silver bullet approach to eliminating poverty will end up with a weaker social safety net, inadequate labour laws, and a Basic Income benefit that falls far short of ending poverty. This would largely reflect the fact that Ontarians are extremely unlikely to support the kind of tax increases that would have to be implemented to finance a province-wide BIG that would truly give all Ontarians a decent living wage.

In Ontario, much of the hard work of developing detailed policy options to reduce poverty has been completed or is well advanced and are detailed in a variety of recent reports (e.g. Changing Workplaces, Gender Wage Gapand Income Security: A Roadmap for Change). Of course, the extent to whichany future provincialgovernment will actually implement these policy options remains to be seen but the past year has certainly seen some modest progress in assisting low-income Ontarians. Whether that progress continues obviously depends upon the results of the June 7, Ontario election.

Social progress is always a long-term endeavor. And if incrementalism sometimes seems frustrating and the complexity of actual implementation sometimes seems overwhelming, the truth is that it has been ever thus. There really are no alternativesto improving the lot of low-income Ontarians andreducing inequality in this province.

These days, simple solutions are much more thedomain of those who want to hurt low-income Ontarians than to help them. For proof of that assertion simply Google Doug Ford.

Read the original post:

Is a Basic Income Guarantee the Right Choice for Ontario?

‘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

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