Happy 10th International Basic Income Week! This marks the fourth of our seven part series. Today, we ask the question “Is Basic Income Affordable?”
Absolutely! Consider this:
Ten years ago, poverty was costing Canadians an estimated $72-86 billion/yr. Today, it’s certainly costing more. Included in such estimates are what it costs to administer and pay welfare benefits, plus pay for the unavoidable increases in health care, justice, education, child protection, costs related to poverty’s impact on family dysfunction and violence, early childhood development, physical and mental health, productivity, social cohesion, and food insecurity and homelessness. By 2013, Canada’s poverty rate ranked 20th out of 31 industrialized countries. There is no realistic prospect of reducing these costs without a major change in approach.
On the other hand, basic income has been estimated to cost between $30-58 billion/yr. It could be paid for by any or all of: savings in welfare costs, resource extraction royalties, newly taxing e.g., speculative trading transactions, substantial inheritances, robotics and AI, wealth, and/or simply restoring the former progressivity of our personal and corporate tax rates, closing loopholes and tax havens, pursuing tax evaders and so forth.
The question is how can we NOT afford basic income?