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UBI (2) Why should we push for a UBI? (Universal basic income).

Written By: - Date published: 3:37 pm, January 17th, 2014 - 26 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, Economy, employment, global warming, human rights, poverty, superannuation, sustainability, welfare - Tags:

Continued From. http://thestandard.org.nz/ubi-1-memes-and-paradigms/

Why a UBI?

Firstly. To overturn some paradigms:
That a great many people should lead poor and constricted lives, so a very few can be rich.
That ordinary people are disposable economic production units.

The economy, and I use the word in its broadest sense, exists for people, not the other way around.

New Zealanders, apart from a few extremists, generally accept that some of the income/resources available to those in paid work is transferred to those who are too young, old, ill or incapable to undertake paid work and those who undertake work, such as childcare, which is essential to our society.
The debate is about the amount, and how to fund and distribute it.

So. Why should we use a UBI?

A UBI empowers everyone, especially those who are currently marginalised, with the principle, everyone should have enough of societies resources as of right, for, at least, the necessities of life. I would go further, and say that everyone deserves enough, to be a inclusive part of the community.

A UBI acknowledges, and enables a living, for the many people, such as those bringing up children, (Mostly women) who carry out essential, but currently poorly paid or unpaid, services for our society.

A UBI looks after those whose work is displaced by the necessary shift to a more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable economy.
We cannot expect the involved workers, for example, coal miners, to bear the whole costs of the shift.

A redistribution of income to those at the lower end, who have to spend all their income, will be “good for business”, especially local small and medium enterprises (SME’s).
A UBI and initial flat tax rates removes the high marginal rates on low income earners. Encouraging workforce participation, entrepreneurship and progress away from “welfare dependency”..
The simpler tax system possible with a UBI makes compliance easier, especially for SME’s, and avoidance harder.
Redistributing income to those who spend it locally, instead of on Maseratis, Hawaii holidays and imported electronic junk is good for our balance of payments.
It reverses the, economically and socially disastrous, re-distribution of income upwards of the last 3 decades.
Increases the money available for savings and investment locally.

Libertarians, the principled ones, can see a lot to like in giving people choices in how they spend income, rather than giving it to the Government to spend. Less Government involvement in income redistribution and allocation may well “shrink” some parts of Government. We see from the “mincome” experiment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincome , that spending on welfare, health care, crime and other effects, of poverty and social dysfunction, will reduce over time.

A UBI allows time out; to study, get well, bring up children, carry out voluntary community work, teach, start a business, avoid burnout, add to community services/wealth.

We already have a UBI, for older people. NZ super.
It has been totally successful in removing poverty amongst the elderly, (less than 3% in poverty). We can, at least, extend it to children.

Time we “made poverty, history!”

26 comments on “UBI (2) Why should we push for a UBI? (Universal basic income).”

  1. aerobubble 1

    Stunted children is the outcome from poor constrained upbringings, the inability to test boundaries tracked into adult life where workers become harder to fathom, predict, motivate…

    Its understood that parents who don’t see their kids harms their efficiency, motivation, and their kids. Yet in NZ we work longer than most places. Why?

    Its the Kiwi disease, management in NZ is atrocious. Would we need a UBI if the jobs were shared around better?

  2. McFlock 2

    We already have a UBI, for older people. NZ super.
    It has been totally successful in removing poverty amongst the elderly, (less than 3% in poverty). We can, at least, extend it to children.

    Hmmm.

    “UBI for children” certainly sounds a lot better than “extending working for families”.

    At 10k per kid (probably more than necessary, but what the hey) that equals about $11B to cover 0-18y.o. (then onto UB as a backstop).

    Less $2B in DPB and current WFF rebates.
    Didn’t cullen’s last tax cut give about $10B in tax cuts? So zero child poverty is pretty doable with changes to tax system.

    And if it works well and good, then progressively decreasing the gap between the venerable UBI and the vulnerable UBI would help overcome the old “1:leave a comment here, 2:something, 3:dramatic social reforms achieved” policy analysis we can be prone to committing.

  3. karol 3

    I very much agree with the idea of a UBI, but I also don’t think it can be done successfully in isolation. It needs to be part of a raft of changes. For a relatively egalitarian result or process, there also needs to be the following: acccess to education to tertiary level for all, throughout life – whether it be vocational, academic or community education; possibilities for start ups of enterprises; workers’ rights, adequate public services – health, community and leisure services, etc. along with a focus on change in cultute and its values.

    I think UBI can make a major contribution to a paradigm shift, but it won’t truly happen without a change in focus towards more grass roots democracy, towards cooperation and away from competitiveness. It needs some institutional, system and associated culture changes. Otherwse those that want power and wealth will just shift to saying, “You’ve got your UBI, what more do I eed to do for you? It’s all up to you now.”

    I like that the post recognises the important role UBI would have in helping to value caring work, and the recognition that surrently that sort of work is still largely done by women. But without institutioanl and cultural changes to re-value caring work, I fear a similar reaction to above, (“you’ve got your UBI, so get on with the caring”).

    In recent decades there has been a bit of a shift towards men doing more domestic and caring activities. Unless such caring work is positively valued, the role of women as carers will be reinforced, while many guys, and others without children, will just get on with doing the things that UBI has freed them up to do.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      The mass movement of political pressure needs to press for all those things you speak of Karol. It needs to develop the ideas and make them understandable to many.

      But no left government will have the political capital or time to get it all done even in 9 years.

      Also, Government policy only has weak, relatively facile abilities to change the underlying culture and attitudes of society, unless full on, multi-level social engineering and propaganda campaigns are engaged. Even then, it probably has to be a multi-decade programme.

      • karol 3.1.1

        I agree that the pressure needs to come from below. There’s no magic bullet. Especially no single government policy that will change the direction we are heading in.

        However, I do think it’s important to be clear that any government initiiated changes need to be accomanpanied by a well thought out explanation and ways of presenting the changes – things that embrace embrace a shift in culture as well as a shift in one or many systems.

    • KJT 3.2

      More “grass roots democracy”.

      Definately! :-)

    • Chooky 3.3

      karol +100 …..agree, especially with the addition of access to education throughout life ….the old saying:….”man/woman does not live by bread alone”

      …also value for caring work with a UBI would be a huge step forward

    • RedBaronCV 3.4

      Good points Karol. The UBI could enshrine the value of unpaid work (caring) at the same rate as those who are free to pursue their own goals whilst receiving it. Somehow I think the RWNJ would love to have minimal payments because no more payments from males towards their child responsibilities.
      Since we have a UBI for the elderly, we could have UBI for children (formerly known as the child benefit) and maybe women. Males have to apply for it and meet certain criteria (drug free, looking for work, immunised, no female shoes under their bed?) Interviews and letters from WINZ

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Excellent work, KJT.

    To me the notion is simple: when you make money, earn a good salary, turn a solid profit, do a hard days work – you are doing it not just for yourself, but also for the good of your community and of your country.

    • Michael 4.1

      How simple is the notion: when you don’t make money, earn a crap wage (no “salary”), make record profits for the “shareholders” and management, and a do a harder day’s work than the overpaid, troughing bastards in the boardroom – you are doing it not just for yourself, but also for the good of your economy and of your country’s elite?

  5. Philj 5

    Xox
    In my view, there is No justification for mega wealth. The Common Good (or TAX) should take care of that. If the mega wealthy want to emigrate, good. We want an egalitarian society. Or at least, I do. NZ is in a great place to advance a better way. Show the world, again!

    • Mike S 5.1

      I agree completely Philj. I fail to see how anyone can justify having more than say 1 billion dollars of worth. A billion is more than 99.999% of the population of the planet could ever dream of having and enables the billionaire to live in essentially a different world entirely than 99.999% of the population. Surely that is enough, why would you need 2, 5 or 10 billion more FFS?!

      At any given moment there is essentially a(n?) finite amount of ‘money’ in the world. For a billionaire to exist, there needs to be roughly over half a million people (that’s half a million people!!) somewhere throughout the world who have absolutely no money whatsoever. For Bill Gates to have 50 billion, 25 million human beings somewhere on this planet must have nothing. That is a ridiculously sad indication of where we’re at in terms of evolution.

  6. Will@Welly 6

    At what point is too much (income) too much?
    When you can’t possibly spend all that you earn, or when you earn so much that you can buy virtually everything you desire?
    On Monday (U.S. time) it was announced that distillers Jim Beam Ltd had been sold to Suntory Holdings of Japan for $13.6 billion. Now Jim Beam wasn’t a company being run badly, or in financial difficulties. Remember Charlies, sold off to the Japanese, for “expansionist motives”, or go back in time, Lion Nathan and D.B., both once two breweries that employed a lot of staff, traded on the New Zealand stock exchange, and paid taxes, both company and through their shareholders.
    The reason I’m “concerned” about Jim Beam is their supply networks are based in the U.S., but with this takeover, how long will this stay in place. With “globalization” if a large company like Jim Beam can be shafted, what about the minnows, in places like New Zealand? Key & Co are the most damaging sorts to be running this country right now.
    The other point is, if we want to put something truly progressive as a U.B.I.in place, we need firms to stay in the hands of New Zealanders so their profits do not drift off overseas. If we can keep those resources here in New Zealand, then we are all better off. Right now Johnny Key sees the money and the ownership heading off-shore as a better investment for him and his cronies.
    The other point, the taxation system needs a complete overhaul. The model we are using is based on one where everyone pays their fair share of tax. Ever Sir bloody Roger Douglas knew this was a fart when he tried to convince New Zealanders otherwise back in the ’80′s. Peter Dunne admitted the truth when he spoke of “legitimate tax avoidance”, and this from the Minister of Inland Revenue. So we need big changes there too.
    The question is, can the opposition do it, have they got the stomach for it?

  7. SPC 7

    An embrace of UI would have to come with a state by stage implementation.

    The first of these should help popularise the concept

    The obvious first steps.

    * universal student allowance at the post graduate level – gets the young onside.
    * a payment to those doing voluntary work/caring for relatives – suits the pro community meme.
    * a payment to non working partners with work test (no work test for those with children as per DPB) – the non working partner has equality with non working singles and the non working parent equality regardless of whether a sole parent or in a relationship.

    • McFlock 7.1

      those aree good options, esp universal allowances.

    • Chooky 7.2

      From what I have been told…..Joyce has made those who want to do honours, masters and PhDs pay through the nose for their education…..so unless you are a rich kid, higher than a basic university qualification is being made very difficult for you …..a discriminatory disgrace in favour of the rich ! …..so UBIs for those doing PhDs and post PhDs…until these students are employed…imo

      • Pasupial 7.2.1

        Chooky

        Yes it would be good if a NZ Universal Student Income was Universal to all NZ Students.There should also be some provision for overseas students who get residency to study (contingent upon a years contribution to NZ for each year of study, perhaps?), but that’s a way down the track.

        Also you and JC appear to have caught galloping ellipses; hopefully you didn’t contract them from too long an exposure to PU the other day.

        • Chooky 7.2.1.1

          JC?…and PU?

          • Pasupial 7.2.1.1.1

            jcuknz [at comment 8, this post thread] & phil ure [playing the veganer-than-thou card one too many times on the 17-1 open mike]… O no! Now I’m doing it!!

          • Chooky 7.2.1.1.2

            @Pasupial ….you mean a sort of galloping equine horse virus?……hope not…..i am well immunised against horses…i know them well

  8. jcuknz 8

    For those with one billion working for their second or those with 25 B working for 50B it is not that they need it but the challenge of doing it … like climbing Mt Everest for Sir Edmond … at least that is the reason one hears in stories about such folk.

    When my son was young, he is 46 now, my wife used to get a payment for him …. that sounds like a minor form of UBI to me …. why did that get scrapped? Did it?
    Since we didn’t need it she put it in the bank for him when he was older and needed money of his own.

    • Pasupial 8.1

      JC

      The Lange/ Douglas crowd abolished the Universal payment of the Family Benefit, so the payments you mention would have been pre1985. After that there were the; Family Support Benefit &; Guaranteed Minimum Family Income scheme till that was abolished by Bolger/ Richardson.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        Yes and sad how most New Zealanders under the age of 50 or so have no idea that we used to have these Universal benefits/tax credits.

        What was once normal is now considered impossible.

      • Will@Welly 8.1.2

        Pasupial – I had this real sick feeling you were wrong on this point so I went and looked it up. Ruth “mother of all budgets” Richardson cut the Family Benefit on April 1, 1991.
        How well a “universal” payment like this would sit with the right today would be interesting?
        I could imagine some of their children “demanding” their money!!
        Again, its something the Labour Government could have re-instated had it had the political where-withal, but it lacked the moral fortitude. Better than WFF, which panders to the middle classes, and does nothing to lift wages.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    And interestingly enough the family benefit was used to discriminate against low income earning women. If they received family benefit and earned small amounts of money they were not able to claim what was then called “low income earner tax rebates” the value of which by the close of the scheme exceeded the rate of family benefit.

  10. tricledrown 10

    The family benefit was cancelled in the early 90s by ruth richardson and shipley mother of all budgets.

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    The Green Party are calling for a truly independent body to regulate our food safety.Food safety Minister Nikki Kaye has announced the establishment of a Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council as part of the Government's response to last year's...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Another report won’t help the East Coast
    The Government has a critical role to play in regional development on the East Coast says Gisborne-based Labour MP Moana Mackey “The release of the East Coast Regional Economic Potential Study highlights a number of areas of strength and weakness...
    Labour | 23-04
  • Another interest rate hike will punish mortgage holders
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says another interest rate hike on Thursday will cost home owners an extra $25 a month on a $250,000 mortgage, on top of the $25 dollars a month from the previous rates rise, and she...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Green Party launches Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill
    The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand's first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party.Members of the public will be invited to shape the proposed law, which will protect ten basic rights and...
    Greens | 23-04
  • Sanil Kumar has to leave New Zealand tomorrow
    The Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye’s decision not to intervene means kidney transplant patient Sanil Kumar must leave New Zealand by tomorrow, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Rajen Prasad. “Kumar, a plumber and sheet metal worker, was on a work visa...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Time to do the right thing for our veterans
    A Labour government will adopt the Law Commission’s recommendation to ensure all war veterans are eligible for a Veteran’s Pension, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Veterans are only eligible for the pension if they are considered ‘significantly’ disabled, or more...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Public servant is owed an apology
    Nigel Fyfe is owed an apology from the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “The former MFAT official has now been restored to a position in the Ministry...
    Labour | 22-04
  • Laws for enforcing not trading off
    The idea that a Government department can give a nod and a wink to traders that it won’t enforce shop trading laws and for a Government MP to then claim it as grounds for a review of the law is...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Kiwis still paying too much for ACC
    Kiwis are still paying too much for ACC so that the National Government can balance its books, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “ACC Minister Judith Collins told Cabinet levies were too high but ACC’s proposed cuts would impact the...
    Labour | 21-04
  • Collins’ memory recovery raises further concerns
    Judith Collins sudden memory of briefing the New Zealand Ambassador to China about her dinner with a Chinese border official and her husband's fellow Oravida directors raises further concerns about exactly what was discussed, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This...
    Labour | 21-04
  • MP to attend progressive politics conference
    Labour MP Grant Robertson will attend the Progressive Governance conference in Amsterdam later this week. “This conference brings together Social Democratic parties from around the world to discuss how progressive politics should work in the post global financial crisis environment....
    Labour | 20-04
  • Storm fans fire service commitment
    Further damage from the huge storm that battered the West Coast was prevented by the great work of our volunteer Fire Service and locals will be extremely grateful, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our region has been...
    Labour | 19-04
  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spok