Bernard Hickey makes some excellent points on the Unconditional Basic Income / Guaranteed Minimum Income:
Key fickle on minimum wages
It may be a little early to be fighting an election over, but the idea of a Guaranteed Minimum Income deserves a lot more thought and debate than the dismissal it got from the Prime Minister.
John Key described the idea, suggested as one of many at Labour’s Future of Work Commission, as “barking mad” and “utterly unaffordable”. In 2004, he described Working For Families as “communism by stealth”, yet he kept that programme more than eight years as Prime Minister.
He is also a staunch defender of several other limited versions of Guaranteed Minimum Income New Zealand already has. …
Hickey goes on to discuss Superannuation and various other existing welfare categories.
Key is right that a true Guaranteed Minimum Income, where the Government essentially paid everyone a version of New Zealand Superannuation, could not be afforded with our tax system. Gareth Morgan’s Big Kahuna proposal for a Universal Basic Income of $11,000 a year per adult would cost $18 billion, which he proposed would be paid for with major new tax on capital.
This is where the debate gets interesting and where it starts to marry up with the reason so many other countries are debating a Universal or Guaranteed Minimum Income. Finland and the Netherlands have launched trials and Switzerland will vote in a referendum on one later this year.
After discussing the increasing automation of work…
If the bulk of incomes are generated by capital owned by a few rather than wages going to many, maybe capital or intellectual property taxes are a better way to support the machinery of government and a civil society. Some call this massive transformation a Fourth Industrial Revolution or a Second Machine Age. Whatever it is, New Zealand will not be immune from its stresses.
Final word on the UBI:
We should do some proper work on it.
What an excellent idea.