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Thread: Basic Income may get a test drive in Finland

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    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Basic Income may get a test drive in Finland

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    Scala Mountains Resonance's Avatar
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    I asked a Finnish friend who's been on unemployment recently and is familiar with the system.

    -She got about 350 euros/month when unemployed (earlier this year). On this plan, she would have gotten 560, without having to apply for it. (will also get this when working obviously)
    -The main problem is, it's replacing a lot of other social benefits. So while you have people who are just slacking or between jobs getting more money than they would otherwise, people who had other considerations to get more, such as needing expensive medications, in-home nursing services, etc. for long-term disabilities aren't any better off and may even end up poorer on this system. There are subsidies for medications that are separate from this, but those aren't 100%, so some people will still be stuck with expensive pill bills.
    -560 isn't enough to rent a studio apartment anywhere, so you'd have to have a roommate at the very least. Anyone who wants a bare minimum QOL is going to have to work still (she says 4 digits a month/ 1k euros is enough for a baseline).
    -It's going to lend more strength to right-wing anti-immigration arguments. Finland isn't quite as bad as the US but they have their Trumps.
    -If anything fails about it, everyone will shit all over the idea for decades to come, just like communism.
    Last edited by Resonance; 08-20-2015 at 09:16 PM.
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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    As usual, the devil is in the details, eh?
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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Well, part of the idea behind Basic Income is that it will replace older-style social welfare programs, thereby streamlining the system.

    It's why you'll actually find a surprising number of US libertarians interested in the idea, or in related proposals like a Negative Income Tax (where a generalized "Cost of Living" figure becomes a single tax deduction that replaces most or all of the itemized deductions currently used, with a "refund" if your income falls below that figure).

    Or, rather, I suspect the main reason you'll find US libertarians interested in BI or NIT proposals is that Milton Friedman said they were a good idea, but the basic point is that setting up a generalized lump-sum financial entitlement for the populace at large based on cost of living would ostensibly be more efficient and less of a "market distortion" than the government maintaining piecemeal subsidy programs for a long list of specific commodities given to a people fitting a long list of beneficiary classes based on their particular circumstances.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
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    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico
    less of a "market distortion" than the government maintaining piecemeal subsidy programs for a long list of specific commodities given to a people fitting a long list of beneficiary classes based on their particular circumstances.
    I'm not convinced special beneficiary classes would go away.

    The process would be more efficient in a bureaucratic sense but the logistics of distributing BI to everyone becomes another problem entirely. Add to that it would have to be delicately calibrated by region and periodically reviewed as price of living is not equal across the board. The real gain would be that those in need of assistance (which they would get anyway) won't have to hassle for it. The loss is real unemployment will go up.
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