Labour has been discussing the possibility of introducing a Universal Basic Income. The idea is to give every person over 18 years old a set amount of money. This will supposedly allow us to scrap the welfare system, and will ensure that everyone has the means to afford at least a basic standard of living.
At just over $200 a week, this would come to roughly $11,000 per person per annum.
I’ve done a few back of the envelope calculations in order to show just how nuts this idea is, and guess how much this is going to cost the taxpayer? I’ll tell you. It’s going to cost us THIRTY-TWO MILLION BILLION TRILLION DOLLARS PER ANNUM!
Do you know how much that comes to for every man, woman and child in this country? Well there are about four and a half million of us, so we are looking at roughly SEVEN BILLION TRILLION DOLLARS PER PERSON!
Yes, I know that number sounds too crazy to be true, but it’s a reasonable estimate based on what we know about Labour’s plans, and when we factor in various other things, like the cost to administer the scheme, projected population growth, and the possibility of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflation one day hitting us.
John Key is right. This is barking mad. How could we ever afford such a scheme? It’s crazy. We would have to start taxing Apple and Facebook in order to pay for it!
Above was reprinted with permission from Imperator Fish. Below is a further note:
Seems that the NBR will be carrying a similar estimate on the UBI today, which lead to an interesting exchange on Twitter.
$86b/4.5m = $19,000 for absolutely everyone, even babies.
Suggestion for @thenbr: Print @matthewhootonnz column in two-ply. More useful.
— Rob Salmond (@rsalmond) March 30, 2016
For commentary that actually makes sense see Gareth Morgan’s Keeping the basic income debate on track.