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Ologhai Jones

Citizen's Income

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In another thread[1], the idea of a universal benefit, dubbed Citizen's Income, was raised. It pretty much failed to set that thread alight, so maybe it will be a waste of effort to set up a thread specifically to discuss this idea, but I would really like to hear people's views on what problems (or advantages) there would be of such a benefit.

Here's the gist (details somewhat expanded from the skeleton idea in the other thread):

  • From the age of 18, everyone (irrespective of their circumstances) receives the Citizen's Income.
  • Citizen's income should be roughly sufficient for bare survival -- if you're happy with Asda Smart Price microwave lasagne, don't particularly need to run a car, and are happy not to be able to afford to go away on holiday.
  • Minors (those under 18) are granted Child Benefit pretty much as it is now (the universal version), which their legal guardian will receive on their behalf.
  • Personal tax allowance is scrapped -- every pound earned is taxed at a sufficient rate to pay for Citizen's Income... to pick a figure completely off the top of my head, say tax at a fixed 35%.

Advantages of Citizen's Income include:

  • Trivially easy to administer -- no means testing or special cases.
  • Work always pays -- Iain Duncan Smith's job is done!
  • No disincentive to saving for a rainy day -- having money stashed away or earning more money is no longer a disadvantage in any way.
  • Others?

Disadvantages of Citizen's Income:

  • ?

[1] SarahBell's 'It's The Voters That Won It' thread.

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Gives everyone a stakehold in the country.

Gives something to lose so that criminals can be fined, compensation can be paid, prison stays can be part funded..

Referendums can be made with reference to it. e.g. should we invade Iraq, it will cost you all £1000 from your citizens wage. Want a road past your village, cough up then..etc

Other stuff:

Spatial monopolies should be nationalised and profit shares beyond the workforce be fed into the citizens wage (utilities and transport distribution infrastructure primarily).

Give an additional £10k tax free income on top.

Set the citizens wage at £10k.

All govt services can be bought privately with it, bar national defence, legal framework and those pesky spatial monopolies again .

Edited by DabHand

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Disadvantages of Citizen's Income:

  • ?

On a flat rate home owners (own outright) would surely be far better off than those renting and paying rental costs out their income?

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This topic keeps appearing from time to time and refuses to go away.

In Germany and Switzerland there are very active promoting the idea, and an excellent Swiss film (only in German) as below:

I attend meeting now and again in Freiburg, Germany of the local group promoting the Citizens' income idea in Germany.

The economics have been worked out and it is apparently quite feasible to give everyone living in Germany 1,000 Euro per month as a basic citizens' income.

What stops the implementation of such an idea is the VI opposition mainly from the civil servants, charities and others whose jobs would become redundant.

There is at least one political party, die-violetten, which formally supports the idea, and groups go to Berlin from time to time to present it to the Bundestag.

This is an idea which will eventually have to be implemented in one form or another at some time IMHO.

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On a flat rate home owners (own outright) would surely be far better off than those renting and paying rental costs out their income?

There are many ways in which people might become better off than others, e.g. working longer hours. I don't really see what's wrong with someone committing money to buying a house outright and, as a consequence, having more disposable income thereafter.

Is there a problem with that which I'm not seeing?

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This topic keeps appearing from time to time and refuses to go away.

In Germany and Switzerland there are very active promoting the idea, and an excellent Swiss film (only in German) as below:

I attend meeting now and again in Freiburg, Germany of the local group promoting the Citizens' income idea in Germany.

The economics have been worked out and it is apparently quite feasible to give everyone living in Germany 1,000 Euro per month as a basic citizens' income.

What stops the implementation of such an idea is the VI opposition mainly from the civil servants, charities and others whose jobs would become redundant.

There is at least one political party, die-violetten, which formally supports the idea, and groups go to Berlin from time to time to present it to the Bundestag.

This is an idea which will eventually have to be implemented in one form or another at some time IMHO.

Is there a dubbed/subbed EN version of that film?

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Opposition comes from different groups...

1. Civil service deadwood

2. Globalists that don't want to see their little game of wage arbitrage ruined.

3. Those that fail to understand that unemployment is only ever going to go up from this point on.

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Is there a dubbed/subbed EN version of that film?

Unfortunately not, but my Swiss/German girlfriend says she may do the translation - and I know the filmmakers (they run a cafe in Basel), so I may get their permission to dub it (I have the software).

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There are many ways in which people might become better off than others, e.g. working longer hours. I don't really see what's wrong with someone committing money to buying a house outright and, as a consequence, having more disposable income thereafter.

Is there a problem with that which I'm not seeing?

10,000 years of work there is still a pretty strong work vs getting stuff for free type debate going on. Hell in Asia 80-100 hours a week is pretty normal, Korean men I'd see were awful leave to go to work at 530am, come back at 11pm day in day out. Japan is even worse! People literally do end up dying in workplaces or on the assembly lines. Kawashima an acquaintance of mine works in an office job for an electricity company. He is regularly blackmailed into doing 115 hours a week work (yet only being paid for 42).

He went nuts though and broke down mentally... he now lives in Hong Kong for a telephone company working 72 hours a week.

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This idea runs into the same problem the state has with benefits- how to get people to carry out unrewarding and/or unpleasant tasks without having to offer significant financial incentive to do so.

It's a well established principle that the only way to motivate the already well rewarded in society is- of course- to offer them even more.

It's an equally well established principle that the only way to motivate those who are poor is to threaten to take even more away from them.

You idea undermines the second principle by placing the poor in the same position as the wealthy- that is, the poor would be free enough from fear of destitution to demand more.

And that- of course- is unacceptable to the cadre of millionaires that make up our governing elites.

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This idea runs into the same problem the state has with benefits- how to get people to carry out unrewarding and/or unpleasant tasks without having to offer significant financial incentive to do so.

It's a well established principle that the only way to motivate the already well rewarded in society is- of course- to offer them even more.

It's an equally well established principle that the only way to motivate those who are poor is to threaten to take even more away from them.

You idea undermines the second principle by placing the poor in the same position as the wealthy- that is, the poor would be free enough from fear of destitution to demand more.

And that- of course- is unacceptable to the cadre of millionaires that make up our governing elites.

I don't really follow your points.

If a job is unpleasant, then (all else being equal) wouldn't a free market ensure suitable reward? After all, if the reward isn't suitable, then the job won't get done -- so it will just HAVE to become suitable, or we'll discover that the job isn't viable (i.e. it costs more than anyone is prepared to pay for it).

I don't see that the idea of Citizen's Income places the poor in the same position as the wealthy, but if the 'poor' do want more, then they can work -- even if it's just a few part-time hours. After all, there'd be no disincentive to work -- it would always pay.

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I don't really follow your points.

If a job is unpleasant, then (all else being equal) wouldn't a free market ensure suitable reward? After all, if the reward isn't suitable, then the job won't get done -- so it will just HAVE to become suitable, or we'll discover that the job isn't viable (i.e. it costs more than anyone is prepared to pay for it).

I don't see that the idea of Citizen's Income places the poor in the same position as the wealthy, but if the 'poor' do want more, then they can work -- even if it's just a few part-time hours. After all, there'd be no disincentive to work -- it would always pay.

Not ventured out from under your rock recently?

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I fully support this idea of essentially a negative tax rate for low income that rises progressively to become a tax and then an increasing tax.

Such a system can define maximum wealth and minimum standard of living.

It's very simple, civilised and very easier to put into place. It would also free people to work in a more productive manner.

I often say, reduce my benefits by 50p in the £. But when its done at a rate of £96p in the £ and I have to pay to travel to work, I can often be better off on benefits. In such a scenario, only a fool would work.

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Opposition comes from different groups...

1. Civil service deadwood

2. Globalists that don't want to see their little game of wage arbitrage ruined.

3. Those that fail to understand that unemployment is only ever going to go up from this point on.

4. Those who recognise that it is just another scheme to rip production from the producers and that all similar schemes end the same way. With a refusal to produce.

If you want some of all that lovely wealth that people are working hard to create you are going to have to offer something for it, funny money and theft might work for a bit, but not forever.

The decade (and more) long credit flood has disguised the gross theft but more and more professional people I speak to independantly are talking about the pointlessness of working hard when for many people (once housing costs are factored in) there is little difference in wealth.

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This idea runs into the same problem the state has with benefits- how to get people to carry out unrewarding and/or unpleasant tasks without having to offer significant financial incentive to do so.

It's a well established principle that the only way to motivate the already well rewarded in society is- of course- to offer them even more.

It's an equally well established principle that the only way to motivate those who are poor is to threaten to take even more away from them.

You idea undermines the second principle by placing the poor in the same position as the wealthy- that is, the poor would be free enough from fear of destitution to demand more.

And that- of course- is unacceptable to the cadre of millionaires that make up our governing elites.

It would deny people like Bogbrush san the delight of seeing legions of unemployed people scouring monied neighbourhoods offering to take dogs for walks, wash cars, and shining shoes. That's what monied class is really looking forward to, a working class so demoralised and humiliated they'd end up as little more than chattel.

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4. Those who recognise that it is just another scheme to rip production from the producers and that all similar schemes end the same way. With a refusal to produce.

If you want some of all that lovely wealth that people are working hard to create you are going to have to offer something for it, funny money and theft might work for a bit, but not forever.

The decade (and more) long credit flood has disguised the gross theft but more and more professional people I speak to independantly are talking about the pointlessness of working hard when for many people (once housing costs are factored in) there is little difference in wealth.

So you support the current byzantine benefits system?

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IDS' universal benefit seems to be close to a citizen's income, but it is tapered with earnings. In this respect, it is a CI which reduces more sharply when you earn (as taxation offsets the CI).

Therefore, I'm happy to see IDS make these proposals. In time, maybe the tapering levels will be changed, depending on political arguments. IMO, it would be good to go with a land value tax too, as rising shelter costs would be offset by a higher CI, with the reverse being true too.

In terms of funding, it could be set as a percentage of taxation, GDP or some such. The fewer people work, the smaller the CI would get.

As for negatives, you could argue that giving less to everyone, means that those who have a dire need will be left short. IMO, as long as a CI provides the minimum needed to exist with basic food/shelter/clothing and work pays, I'm not sure if this is a huge issue. Linking with a LVT, the shelter costs could be kept down too.

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It would deny people like Bogbrush san the delight of seeing legions of unemployed people scouring monied neighbourhoods offering to take dogs for walks, wash cars, and shining shoes. That's what monied class is really looking forward to, a working class so demoralised and humiliated they'd end up as little more than chattel.

Meaning? :D

"It's like deja vu all over again"!

Or, as Sam would say to Max, "You continue to baffle me, little buddy".

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It will take time to get to a citizens income, seems like we'll only get there via Universal Credit in the UK. My guess is that IDS wanted to give more details of now UC but will wait until benefit cuts (mainly HB)start to bite before bringing UC as a saviour. I really feel they have a cunning plan...

Citizen's income or even Universal Credit would suit me just fine as I'm as tight as a DA, not materialistic and will always choose to work part-time in preference to not working or working full-time.

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Opposition comes from different groups...

1. Civil service deadwood

2. Globalists that don't want to see their little game of wage arbitrage ruined.

3. Those that fail to understand that unemployment is only ever going to go up from this point on.

It would deny people like Bogbrush san the delight of seeing legions of unemployed people scouring monied neighbourhoods offering to take dogs for walks, wash cars, and shining shoes. That's what monied class is really looking forward to, a working class so demoralised and humiliated they'd end up as little more than chattel.

You've pretty much summed up the problems with those 2 posts :)

It will be strongly opposed by both the (right-wing) stinking rich and by the left-wing*.

I.e. the 2 groups who are most used to playing politics.

* by left-wing, I don't mean those horrible little working class people. I mean the ones who have taken it upon themselves to think for them - the public sector.

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Meaning? :D

"It's like deja vu all over again"!

Or, as Sam would say to Max, "You continue to baffle me, little buddy".

The context to that requires that you saw another thread in which someone suggested something similar.

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IDS' universal benefit seems to be close to a citizen's income, but it is tapered with earnings. In this respect, it is a CI which reduces more sharply when you earn (as taxation offsets the CI).

Do you have any links to more detailed info on what IDS's plan is actually going to be -- kind of the nuts and bolts of it?

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  • 138 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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