Happy International Basic Income Week! Today marks the fifth of our seven-post series. There are many conflicting claims about basic income – how do we go about understanding it? Today, we will outline some foundational concepts about basic income. Share with your friends and family as you see fit!
- There are two radically different models of basic income usually referred to as universal basic income (UBI) and basic income guarantee (BIG or NIT).
- UBI: UNIVERSAL DISTRIBUTION: Everyone gets the $$, but it’s taxed back from those not in need
- BIG: UNIVERSAL ACCESS. Everyone is eligible for the $$ but only get it if/when needed.
- The start-up cost of UBI is huge; the start up cost of BIG is completely manageable (estimated $30-60b)
- BUT HEADS UP! UBI costs are often cited to mislead people about the feasibility of BIG.
- BIG itself has two competing models: austerity/progressive.
- AUSTERITY proponents argue for a BIG that rolls ALL social assistance supports into a single payment, ‘in kind’ assistance to be bought on the market.
- PROGRESSIVE proponents argue for a basic income to replace welfare and disability benefits and maybe some other cash transfers only, ‘in kind’ assistance to be maintained.
- BUT HEADS UP! The austerity version will leave people considerably worse off.