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Old 12-09-2015, 09:35 PM   #1
lumberjim
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Finland experimenting with Basic Income system

The proposal is to give every citizen 800 per month. Roughly $10,000 annually.

Everyone. Regardless of income. This removes the quandary of low income jobs being a worse deal than unemployment. I think you could survive on 10k if you pooled resources with friends or family. And then you get a job to augment and get your self into a better situation.

Rich folk can't complain because they get it too. It's so simple. What's not to like?
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:00 PM   #2
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It certainly would make the people at the bottom much better off, and at the top they could take a extra winter trip to the warm.

But where is this $10,000 x 323,000peeps = $3,230,000,000 each year, coming from?
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:05 PM   #3
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excellent question, Bruce
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:10 PM   #4
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They have 9% unemployed. How much do those 9% get annually for waking up?

You do the math, and figure out what you're paying out to the slugs and cut it by the adult population. Give every one that piece, and make it taxable. The life time welfare abusers will take a huge pay cut by percentage. They will have to get a job now. The rich will pay most of it back in taxes anyway.
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:17 PM   #5
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That's how we're going to do it in jimtopia.
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:59 PM   #6
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Somebody wrote if they gave all the people collecting welfare $20,000 once a year and cut out all the other programs it would save the US government something like $100,000,000 a year. I didn't get into it enough to see if his calculations sounded reasonable, but the number was startling.

That said, I know there are welfare cheats, but I don't believe the percentage is higher than you'd find in card cheats, or anything else, there will always be some, it's human nature. I'd bet money it's a lot lower than tax cheats.

There's a lot of reasons people are on welfare besides just because they can. Addicts, mentally ill, physically handicapped, the people that got stuck when manufacturing went away, and people who have been stuck in poverty for generations. Sure there are examples of poor who have "pulled themselves up by the bootstraps"(which by the way is a scientific impossibility), but really refers to hard work and initiative. There's a lot more who have tried and been stubbed out like a cigarette butt.

Some have been sold the bill of goods that going to community college and get that degree you'll be set for life, which is bullshit. There's a lot more going on in life that can work for you or against you. Racism is still huge, but most of the people on welfare are not black. That's hard to believe around here because the ghettos like Camden and Chester are mostly black, but nationally, no.

Disability is a big one for stories of cheating, everybody has a friend who's cousin lives next to a cheat. You might even know someone you suspect. It's bad because if anyone needs help it's somebody who's worked, and got injured so they can't anymore. Hey, I saw him walk out to the mailbox, and he didn't even limp. That doesn't mean he can do his job eight hours a day, or even stand that long.

It twists me because I want to see people who really need help get it, but the cheats and laggards chafe my ass too. The China/Cuba system has had people on every block who keep an eye on everyone in that block. It's hard to know what everyone's doing all the time so these block czars enlist a couple friends to snitch. But they found these little fiefdoms were predominantly corrupt. So it appears just trying to big brother everyone to eliminate cheats isn't the answer.

Solving the problem and cutting the waste is haaarrd.
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:46 AM   #7
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Well said Bruce.


Most of us woefully overestimate the percentage of welfare/benefits claims that are fraudulent and the percentage of unemployment that is chronic. We underestimate the percentage of welfare/benefits that are unemployment based.

In this country, unemployment benefits make up a tiny proportion of a benefits. The overwhelming majority of what is paid out in state or council benefits are paid to pensioners and to supplement low paid workers and part-time or underemployed workers.

Of those claiming unemployment benefits a tiny percentage remain on them permanently. The overwhelming majority will return to work within 2 years. Of those that remain unemployed for longer a large percentage are mothers and single parents with very young children - even then the majority of single parents will rejoin the workplace in some way once children are in nursery or school.

In terms of outright fraud, such as people claiming they are not working, whilst taking cash-in-hand, or who claim to be too sick to work, but are later seen engaging in heavy physical activity, or claim to be single and unemployed whilst their well-paid partner lives with them - I don't know for sure, but the last I looked it was something like 1% of claims.

The government here has been banging the austerity drum since they came into office - they've cut mercilessly, focused their efforts on the unemployed, who've bene consistently demonised in our press and on tv (lots of reality tv shows like 'Benefits Street' looking at the day to day lives of one little street with a very high percentage of unemployed benefits claimants - poverty porn we call it, and most of it is titled and focused on the extremes and show benefits claiming i the most negative light possible).

They've reduced support for people with disabilities or serious long-term illnesses. They've taken away much of the support that was available to under 25s (like housing benefit) and they've made the systems through which the long-term unemployed, many or most of whom have clear barriers to overcome, harsher and more humiliating. The sanctions scheme they now operate has literally driven people to suicide. Despite clear evidence to the contrary the DWP consistently denies operating targets for their staff to impose benefits sanctions on claimants - these are imposed with no warning, theoretically for failure to adhere to jobseeker agreements, but in reality for any arbitray reason including missing an appointment because they didn;t send out the summons letter until after the appointment date, because they failed to make 50 job applications in any one week, because they were five minutes late getting to a job centre that takes 90 minutes to travel to, and in some cases when people have failed to attend a work programme advisor meeting because they were at a job interview, and the advisor didn't get the message they left for them.


There's a lot more going on, particularly around housing and particularly around the most vulnerable claimants.

But the gist of it is that we have been sold the lie that the reason the country is broke is because the previous government allowed benefits to get out of control and we can no longer afford to throw money at people who don't want to work.

But the more they cut, and the deeper, the worse the situation gets. They save the country so very, very little money when they do this. And those savings are just in the headline figures. The hidden costs grow. The cuts to housing benefits saved a tiny amount, and what was saved was dwarfed by the increased costs of dealing with sudden homelessness and families in crisis.

They make it more, not less, difficult for the unemployed to find sustainable work that will allow them tobe fully independent of state help - and we end up with people accepting, because the alternative is scary as shit, appalling working practices and a complete lack of working rights, and companies employing workers at criminally low wages (in some cases literally, once youve factored in how much of the work is unpaid and how much is paid at mimimum wage).

All it does is drive the more of the economy towards low wages and insecure employment, make the help and support we do offer less effective and actually also less cost-effective and at the same time force a bunch of people to pretty much vacate the main economy and inflate informal economies.

Sorry - that started out as a cogent point in my head but turned into a teeth-gnashing rant. It pisses me off so very, very much and always has.

Good on Finland for giving a possibly revolutionary alternative a try. I hope that it takes off. Very interested to see what happens with it.
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:37 AM   #8
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Culture is such a predominant factor in economics that systems that work in one place won't necessarily work elsewhere.
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:41 AM   #9
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So I have a cousin who is mentally retarded. She's an adult and has a part time job sorting newspaper clippings at the historical society. She makes minimum wage. It's some sort of program she's in where she has a job provided to her. She lives in a small apartment by herself. She has a case worker who checks in on her. There's a support group she belongs to and they get together to go bowling and stuff. I honestly don't know if she prepares her own food or if it's delivered in a meals on wheels type of program. I can't imagine her having the skills to cook.

She has a legitimate disability that prevents her from living a life like yours or mine. The government supports her.

Finland's experiment is interesting, but my cousin would not survive on $10k per year plus her part time minimum wage job, and she's not capable of taking on more.

I think society is always going to have people who simply can't fend for themselves and we need to take care of them.
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
Culture is such a predominant factor in economics that systems that work in one place won't necessarily work elsewhere.
Totally agree. There is no one size fits all solution to social and economic inequality and distress. I can't see a system like that working in the UK or US (much as the hippy socialist in me likes it as a concept). But it's a genuinely interesting and fresh approach and it takes a special kind of political and cultural bravery to try something like that. I hope it works out for them. I think it is of benefit to our world for there to be more options than a choice between two fundamentally opposed basic economic models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
So I have a cousin who is mentally retarded. She's an adult and has a part time job sorting newspaper clippings at the historical society. She makes minimum wage. It's some sort of program she's in where she has a job provided to her. She lives in a small apartment by herself. She has a case worker who checks in on her. There's a support group she belongs to and they get together to go bowling and stuff. I honestly don't know if she prepares her own food or if it's delivered in a meals on wheels type of program. I can't imagine her having the skills to cook.

She has a legitimate disability that prevents her from living a life like yours or mine. The government supports her.

Finland's experiment is interesting, but my cousin would not survive on $10k per year plus her part time minimum wage job, and she's not capable of taking on more.

I think society is always going to have people who simply can't fend for themselves and we need to take care of them.
I also agree with this. But that actually is perfectly in tune with the theory of a flat wage for all supplemented by work. Because what that says is that there will always be a basic level of support, even if you choose not to work and participate in the wider economy and work becomes the thing you do to improve your lifestyle. People will still, as now, have to make decisions between a poorer life with more free time, or more family time, and a more affluent life with some of that sacrificed. But it is choice - just as the choice to have a large or small family. For those who are unable to participate, through ill-health or disability - for whom it is not a choice, then the state should stand as their participation.
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Old 12-10-2015, 09:01 AM   #11
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And it's an interesting thing to consider anyway.

I've heard that, if you took all the US money that goes to various programs, and simply gave it to everyone under the poverty line, to the point where they reached the poverty line, it would be cheaper than how things work now. I don't know how true that is, or if it includes social security to seniors (where, mostly, people above the poverty line are paid).

But I bet it is true, because for one thing, doesn't every program have administrative costs. Local offices and whatnot. Some attach to the legal system and then there are *shudder* lawyers making it more expensive. If there were some way to just cut gordian's knot with all that shit it would be great.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:08 AM   #12
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Yeah, but the problem is, not all but many of the folks under the poverty line are there because they are irresponsible. Not evil, not scamming the system, but fundamentally not skilled in the area of responsibility, in the same way that glatt's cousin can't be responsible for some aspects of her life. For a variety of potential reasons, they don't have the ability to take their $1,000 monthly check and say, "Okay, $500 of this goes toward rent. I'll go pay my rent now." So, okay, you only give them $500, and you take care of the rent for them... and all of a sudden you've got a housing voucher program that needs a staff, offices, and you're back where you started.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:35 PM   #13
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sigh...

well.. maybe the answer is Soylent Green
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:47 PM   #14
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Yabbut is the Finnish experiment going to take away the social support (in terms of practical support) from people like glatt's cousin and leave them to fend for themselves? Or would they still be given guidance on budgetting etc?
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Old 12-10-2015, 04:54 PM   #15
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b08e945ff09ea8

I don't have the time to read through this and the links it contains, but at a glance it seems that they are considering several options with hybrids of different systems.
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