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. /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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    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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