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Thread: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    This fall, a truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached. Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear. Economists, needless to say, are sharply divided on what would reappear in its place — and whether such a basic-income scheme might have some appeal for other, less socialist countries too.
    Even better, conservatives think, such a program could significantly reduce the size of our federal bureaucracy. It could take the place of welfare, food stamps, housing vouchers and hundreds of other programs, all at once: Hello, basic income; goodbye, H.U.D. Charles Murray of the conservative American Enterprise Institute has proposed a minimum income for just that reason — feed the poor, and starve the beast. “Give the money to the people,” Murray wrote in his book “In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State.” He suggested guaranteeing $10,000 a year to anyone meeting the following conditions: be American, be over 21, stay out of jail and — as he once quipped — “have a pulse.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/ma...&smid=fb-share

    This is strange...

    The article paints the right wing as all over this one, because it would effectively replace all other "entitlement" programs. Some people say it would disincentive work, but... in reality, if $10,000 is all you get... no food stamps, no section 8, no public housing... you would have to work, because $10,000 isn't going to cut it. And a McDonald's or Walmart income on top of the $10,000 would actually add up to a living income.

    The thing is... EVERYONE would get it. Even if you make six figures, even if you're a Hollywood celebrity. I'm assuming that this would hypothetically replace unemployment as well (but hopefully not Social Security). Would inflation spiral out of control?

    And if someone isn't working or can't find work.... what are they going to do with $833 a month? That barely covers rent for a 2-bedroom flat where I live.

    Apparently, Libertarians love it because the money is simply paid out - there's no government involvement beyond that.

    What are your thoughts?
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    Making some assumptions for simplicity's sake: 300 Million people in the US, 10000/yr tax free for every single person = $3 Trillion/year. And that's just a rough figure, it's probably actually higher. I don't have readily available the total spending on poverty aid programs (soc sec., medicare, medicade, SNAP, etc.). It would be interesting to see a comparison for the US with actual figures counting all the economics at federal and state level to see how the 10K/year figure compares.

    The Basic Income Movement (as the article calls it), would only make sense to me if it does what its intended to do. Reduce government spending and complexity, and aid individual standard of living, mobility, etc. I don't know if it's been done before in modernity. There are sort of comparable things, like the Alaska thing where they send residents checks from the oil revenue, but I'm not sure that's the same thing.

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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/ma...&smid=fb-share

    This is strange...

    The article paints the right wing as all over this one, because it would effectively replace all other "entitlement" programs. Some people say it would disincentive work, but... in reality, if $10,000 is all you get... no food stamps, no section 8, no public housing... you would have to work, because $10,000 isn't going to cut it. And a McDonald's or Walmart income on top of the $10,000 would actually add up to a living income.

    The thing is... EVERYONE would get it. Even if you make six figures, even if you're a Hollywood celebrity. I'm assuming that this would hypothetically replace unemployment as well (but hopefully not Social Security). Would inflation spiral out of control?

    And if someone isn't working or can't find work.... what are they going to do with $833 a month? That barely covers rent for a 2-bedroom flat where I live.

    Apparently, Libertarians love it because the money is simply paid out - there's no government involvement beyond that.

    What are your thoughts?
    It's more direct and straightforward than strict welfare. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say inflation would spiral out of control, but I could see a rise in prices. To me it would seems smarter to just decrease the income tax rates by a margin, but I guess this seems more flashy, like Christmas or something.

    My thoughts are that it would probably just move the poverty line to a roughly $10K higher amount. Let's face it, sometimes this additional "income" would be directed towards self-destructive behaviors. You can never really remove pauperism from society, only actively discourage it.

    Realistically looking at it, it's not a far cry from a source of employment just cancelling a person's benefits and adding a certain amount to their individual salary. Only the government is the source rather than the employer.
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    Making some assumptions for simplicity's sake: 300 Million people in the US, 10000/yr tax free for every single person = $3 Trillion/year. And that's just a rough figure, it's probably actually higher. I don't have readily available the total spending on poverty aid programs (soc sec., medicare, medicade, SNAP, etc.). It would be interesting to see a comparison for the US with actual figures counting all the economics at federal and state level to see how the 10K/year figure compares.

    The Basic Income Movement (as the article calls it), would only make sense to me if it does what its intended to do. Reduce government spending and complexity, and aid individual standard of living, mobility, etc. I don't know if it's been done before in modernity. There are sort of comparable things, like the Alaska thing where they send residents checks from the oil revenue, but I'm not sure that's the same thing.
    Very similar to that actually from what I read into it. Only difference there from what I can surmise is Alaskan Oil Companies provide those subsidies.
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
    James Madison

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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    I will add this, it's not super friendly to the indigent, for those who believe in government being the entity that cares for the indigent.
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
    James Madison

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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    Making some assumptions for simplicity's sake: 300 Million people in the US, 10000/yr tax free for every single person = $3 Trillion/year. And that's just a rough figure, it's probably actually higher. I don't have readily available the total spending on poverty aid programs (soc sec., medicare, medicade, SNAP, etc.). It would be interesting to see a comparison for the US with actual figures counting all the economics at federal and state level to see how the 10K/year figure compares.
    Only people aged 21 and over would receive it.
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    The idea sounds interesting to me but I am sure I dont understand what all this would mean for everyone. 10k a year for nothing sounds awesome but if that means I have to pay 10k more a year for a place to live it does me no good. Plus if you have kids does that mean they get 10k as well? That wouldnt help those that just keep popping out kids and just encourage it so they get more money.

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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    Quote Originally Posted by raider8169 View Post
    The idea sounds interesting to me but I am sure I dont understand what all this would mean for everyone. 10k a year for nothing sounds awesome but if that means I have to pay 10k more a year for a place to live it does me no good. Plus if you have kids does that mean they get 10k as well? That wouldnt help those that just keep popping out kids and just encourage it so they get more money.
    Kids that actually live to 21, from what I gather. It would sort of penalize the parents of such up to that point.
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
    James Madison

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    I don't think it would affect the housing market much, particularly the rental market. This plan would increase demand for rental housing, but in just about every place I've lived... there's way too much unoccupied "supply" out there too push rents up. People in their 20's who live with their parents would actually be able to move out and occupy all those vacant rentals.

    The problem I see with this, is... it's basically saying "Here's an $833.33 monthly check. Don't have children, because that's all you get!" This replacing the "entitlement" programs would mean that money wouldn't be "concentrated" where the greatest need is.

    I suppose that getting rid of family size based entitlements and replacing it with this could create a disincentive for the jobless to have children; but how effective would it be... and would we have a new problem on our hands with children being homeless and starved? Could this force us to go back to the way we have it right now?
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Re: Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

    This fall, a truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached. Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear. Economists, needless to say, are sharply divided on what would reappear in its place — and whether such a basic-income scheme might have some appeal for other, less socialist countries too.
    Can someone explain how poverty disappears. If this was the case, why doesnt everyother handout program terminate poverty. And lets see, Alaska does pretty much exactly what is being proposed, I bet they still have poverty. Lastly, what is the Swiss deficit and debt running at right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/ma...&smid=fb-share

    This is strange...

    The article paints the right wing as all over this one, because it would effectively replace all other "entitlement" programs. Some people say it would disincentive work, but... in reality, if $10,000 is all you get... no food stamps, no section 8, no public housing... you would have to work, because $10,000 isn't going to cut it. And a McDonald's or Walmart income on top of the $10,000 would actually add up to a living income.

    The thing is... EVERYONE would get it. Even if you make six figures, even if you're a Hollywood celebrity. I'm assuming that this would hypothetically replace unemployment as well (but hopefully not Social Security). Would inflation spiral out of control?

    And if someone isn't working or can't find work.... what are they going to do with $833 a month? That barely covers rent for a 2-bedroom flat where I live.

    Apparently, Libertarians love it because the money is simply paid out - there's no government involvement beyond that.

    What are your thoughts?
    Same questions as before.

    Do two people living in the same house get two seperate $833 a month.

    $10,000 x 300,000,000 adults come to $3,000,000,000,000, I think we have that just lying around somewhere...
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