Basic income now a need
As I listened to our prime minister and premier these days talking about ways in which to help Canadians financially get through this pandemic as well as the economic crisis, I thought, you know, if we had already instituted and had in place a basic income guarantee, which so many thoughtful and forward-thinking folks have been working toward, then perhaps we wouldn’t have to go through the many piecemeal programs that many Canadians are finding so difficult to see whether they qualify and how to access them. Am I being too naive? I don’t think so.
I’ll bet the assistance provided by the government at this time would have been so much easier to figure out, faster to deliver, more generally effective and probably less costly if we already had a national basic income program in place.
The basic income idea has been around for years. It’s a common-sense approach to keep people out of poverty. Basically it provides an income sufficient for life’s basic needs, guaranteed by the government for all. Like universal health care and the old-age pensions, it’s unconditional. It brings the lowest income people up to the level of others. It is simpler to administer than other social service programs; it carries no stigma, no hassle. It fully respects recipients’ autonomy. It’s been proven to reduce poverty rates and health-care costs. And above all, it gives people dignity.