Canada tries Mincome (again)

Last Monday (24 April 2017) the Canadian province of Ontario began testing universal basic income in three Canadian cities. About 4,000 residents of Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay were randomly selected to participate in the three-year program. Single people will get a maximum of C$16,989 (US $12,570) per year. Couples will receive a maximum of C$24,027 (US $17,777) per year.

This was done before in Canada from 1974 to 1978 with great success. (More on this below.)

NOTE: whenever anyone suggests a universal basic income (UBI), the strongest objections come not from the rich, but from the lower classes, who scream that, “No one will work! Society will collapse! The government will mess this up like they do everything else! How will you pay for it?” Throughout history, the lower classes have always been their own worst enemies.

Occasionally one person rises from the lower classes and tries to improve everyone’s lives in his nation, only to be destroyed by poor people in other nations. Then he is vilified for all eternity.

Anyway Kathleen Wynne is Premier of Ontario (equivalent to a U.S. state governor). Wynne says the purpose of the basic income experiment is to see whether it makes a positive difference in people’s lives. Participants will be screened to ensure that they are between 18 and 64 years old and living on a low income.

Many people think the USA will eventually have to implement something like this, because so many workers will have lost their jobs to automation and offshoring, and so much wealth will be concentrated at the top, that no one will have any money to buy anything. The economy will collapse. However I myself do not see the 1% as that smart. I see the 1% as a cancer that will keep growing until they kill their host.

One problem with basic income is how to keep the money circulating in the real economy. Today so many people are debt slaves (because of student loans, medical bills, etc.) that any extra money they get is stolen from them by the rich and the bankers.

This Canadian experiment has a potential flaw, namely that recipients who work will have their basic income slashed by 50 cents for every dollar they earn. They will be penalized for working. This will allow opponents of a universal basic income to say, “See? Just like we said! No one will work!”

The reality is that if people get a basic income, without being penalized for working, they work more, not less. This was proved by the Mincome experiment (“guaranteed minimum income”) in the town of Dauphin, Manitoba.

From 1974 to 1978, one thousand of the poorest families in Dauphin were given Social Security checks for free.  The government sent an army of researchers to Dauphin to analyze the experiment in exhaustive detail, and they filled 2,000 boxes with pages of statistical data. The researchers did all kinds of studies, and also compared Dauphin with other towns that did not receive the Mincome.

The researchers found that only two segments of Dauphin’s labor force worked less as a result of Mincome: [1] teenagers, who worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families, and were able to stay in school. And [2] mothers with newborns who temporarily stopped working so they could care for their infants.

“Mincome” empowered workers. People did not have to take the first horrible job they found. Workers could leave their jobs if they were exploited.  And people found it easy to secure a new job, since they were not desperate. (It is easier to find a new job when you have an income.)

Since the workers continued to collect their monthly Mincome checks, even when working, they took pleasure from their jobs. They became ambitious. They took chances, knowing they would be okay if their entrepreneurial gambles failed.  If landlords became abusive, then tenants simply moved. The rates of crime, substance abuse, domestic violence, and hospital visits all dropped. Everyone felt like a human being. The community of Dauphin became sane.

“Sophisticated” liberals will use plausible sounding nonsense to condemn Canada’s program. For example, since being poor means you have no money, they will flip this around and say, as this woman does to the right. –>

Got that? Poor people suffer discrimination because they have no money. Therefore we must make sure they have no money so we can show that we “care” about their discrimination. In fact we should end Medicare and Social Security because we “care.”

Anyway CNN admits that, “Researchers found the 1970s Mincome program led to health improvements, with no meaningful reduction in the workforce participation rate.” Wikipedia has an entry about the Mincome experiment.

 

 

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