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Old 07 December 2015, 05:41 PM
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Default Finland is considering giving every citizen 800 a month

Authorities in Finland are considering giving every citizen a tax-free payout of €800 (576) each month.

Under proposals being draw up by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela), this national basic income would replace all other benefit payments, and would be paid to all adults regardless of whether or not they receive any other income.

Unemployment in Finland is currently at record levels, and the basic income is intended to encourage more people back to work. At present, many unemployed people would be worse off if they took on low-paid temporary jobs due to loss of welfare payments.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...0-a-month.html
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  #2  
Old 08 December 2015, 01:04 AM
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I think Cracked proposed that at some point the US is going to move towards something similar. Given that most jobs are being either automated or sent overseas, eventually we're going to wind up with a large population of unemployed people. And since the unemployed don't have money, they can't be consumers and create more jobs, things will continue to get worse. Also, while many would advocate just letting them die in a gutter, spoiler alert: doing so usually ends up costing the government more than if they'd just, y'know, paid a little cash so said person didn't wind up dead.

But given how the US is the most against giving anybody anything, I really doubt this country would embrace the idea of everyone getting a monthly stipend. Heck, we can't even get Universal Health Care no matter how many of us point out that it would actually cost taxpayers less than our creaky, antiquated system.
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Old 08 December 2015, 01:53 AM
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What I particularly like are the Alaskans who rail against welfare states.
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Old 08 December 2015, 02:55 AM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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I also notice that they are finding the money by taking way other benefits. I wonder what the people in the US would say to that, especially those getting the benefits that would be taken way.
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Old 08 December 2015, 03:35 AM
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I suppose that would depend greatly on whether or not ones current benefits exceed 800/mo, among many other things, for example, whether one had working family members whose extra 800/mo could also be used in lieu of current benefits. I don't know anything about Finnish welfare but I doubt if many people would be worse off.
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Old 08 December 2015, 03:23 PM
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I think it is a great idea, and wish it would happen here. I think the amount they are talking is probably too low, although that may come down to cost of living in the area. Ideally, I would want to see everyone cut a check that would pay for enough food to live on, a reliable method of transport (although beefing up public transport would be better), and a decent apartment, with universal health care on top of it. That way, no one would have to work a crap job in order to eat, but people would still be motivated to work in order to get more than the basics. I think eventually we will have to go to this, especially when places like fast food automate.
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Old 08 December 2015, 03:42 PM
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But if there are more people receiving benefits than are working and paying taxes into the system, eventually the well will run dry, won't it?
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Old 08 December 2015, 03:56 PM
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Why? There are more people receiving government stuff in every country than there are taxpayers, but those wells are all running dry. The important thing is money brought in vs. money spent, rather than number of people.
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Old 08 December 2015, 07:33 PM
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If giving a minimum pay check to everyone would cut back on taxes to people and businesses, it might work. That would mean removing lot of government benefits to pay for it. Also those government workers would be without jobs. On the other hand people would have more money to spend and businesses could hire more people at better wages. Also just handing everyone a paycheck may be cheaper and benefit the people more in the long run.
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Old 08 December 2015, 07:38 PM
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Imagine what would happen to companies that just pay people minimum wage with few or any benefits, like fast food restaurants. If people weren't forced to take those kind of jobs to survive, suddenly the companies would have to start putting in incentives to get people to actually want to work there.
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Old 08 December 2015, 07:58 PM
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On the flip side of that, CH, a fast food job may be able to pay less if there was a decent minimum income. If you already have basic needs covered, you can choose to work fewer hours to get the money you need. With universal health care, fast food restaurants wouldn't need to cover that, so they may just take on part timers who are looking for just a bit extra cash.

And fast food automation is coming. I just went to lunch at McDonald's, and the only person I interacted with was the person who brought the tray to my table. Ordering and paying was all automated. The need to have cooks is greater than before, since they are actually grilling from fresh meat when you order, but I can't imagine the didn't shrink their staff when they did this.
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Old 08 December 2015, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Imagine what would happen to companies that just pay people minimum wage with few or any benefits, like fast food restaurants. If people weren't forced to take those kind of jobs to survive, suddenly the companies would have to start putting in incentives to get people to actually want to work there.
I really want to see what that looks like. Not only at the minimum wage fast food and retail level but also higher end white collar jobs. I suppose people with higher salary jobs will have undertaken sufficient financial responsibilities that they'll still need a decent wage but I think a basic income will increase the value of the opportunity to work. 40+ hours a week is a lot of time to fill and people seem to want to do something worthwhile. It'd be interesting to see compensation move away from "work here so you can buy food and pay the mortgage" to "work here to get the chance to do something meaningful."
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Old 08 December 2015, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
On the flip side of that, CH, a fast food job may be able to pay less if there was a decent minimum income. If you already have basic needs covered, you can choose to work fewer hours to get the money you need. With universal health care, fast food restaurants wouldn't need to cover that, so they may just take on part timers who are looking for just a bit extra cash.
I wasn't really talking about pay so much as they'd have to do things like offer more flexible hours or otherwise be forced to treat their employees better because suddenly the employees can afford to tell them to shove it without risking starvation or homelessness.
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Old 08 December 2015, 09:31 PM
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Oh, absolutely on that one, CH. There would need to be changes made on the part of a number of employers.
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Old 08 December 2015, 11:06 PM
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I suspect most of the work would get done better: both because employers would have much more incentive to set work up so as to make it possible to take pride in it, and because people wouldn't as often be forced into work they're not suited for, but could take the time to find the right work.

I doubt that very many people would decide to do nothing: in addition to the advantages of higher than basic income, and to probable societal pressure, for most people doing nothing gets boring after a while.

There might be considerable adjustment pains, though; as well as some people taking effectively quite long vacations before they got bored.
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Old 08 December 2015, 11:23 PM
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I must be missing something, but wouldn't the cost of living just go up about $800/month then?
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Old 08 December 2015, 11:38 PM
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No, if they paid for this by printing new money, then something like that would probably happen eventually. But this proposal would be redistributing money rather than creating it out of thin air. It's hard to say what it's effect on the price of various things would be, but it wouldn't raise the cost of living for everyone by 800 euro a month.
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Old 09 December 2015, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coughdrops View Post
I must be missing something, but wouldn't the cost of living just go up about $800/month then?
There might be inflation in some areas - rentals come to mind - but I don't think you'll start seeing $800.00/month apartments where they used to be $500-600.00. If anything, it might start a price war between competing developments.

As far as homeowners go though, it would have little to no effect on their mortgage payments. And it might lead to more people buying, especially in cities where there is a glut of single family homes.
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Old 09 December 2015, 02:26 AM
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Since it's in Euros, Finland can't "print" money to pay for it. They aren't using their own currency. Makes for a better test case, since it introduces more potential downsides than in a country with a sovereign currency.

Inflation (if I understand it right) would depend on two factors: how much more money does this put into the economy, since it's replacing existing programs, and can the supply of relevant goods be increased to meet the new demand. To use Horse Chestnut's rent example: it's better to rent two apartments at $500 than one at $800. Before prices can go up the existing supply (and the ability to increase that supply) has to be exhausted first. Otherwise, the guy trying to rent a $600 place for $800 is not going to find many buyers.
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  #20  
Old 09 December 2015, 03:09 AM
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It's not a coincidence that the amount is on the low side. Usually in these schemes the idea is to pay an amount that is sufficient to meet essential needs like food and shelter, but very little luxury. People are still incentivized to work, even for minimum wage, because that's where virtually all their disposable income would come from. Setting it at an overly comfortable level could result in more people leaving the work force than the economy could bear, but setting it at a minimal threshold should not have that effect. It will keep people out of the most severe poverty, but they'll have plenty of reasons to work if they can.

As technology improves, we might expect to continue to see a downward trend in the amount of unskilled labor needed to sustain the economy. The more this happens, the higher we could safely set the threshold. If the economy becomes highly automated with few manual labor jobs, we could probably afford to set the minimum income to a point that is actually a comfortable middle class lifestyle. Very talented and/or motivated people could still choose to work and become relatively wealthy, but we wouldn't have a lot of minimum wage jobs to fill, so we wouldn't have to worry about the minimum income reducing the low wage work force.

A lot of that depends on the exact direction that technology takes, though, which is unpredictable. If we don't develop more sustainable technologies than today, then we could be very constrained by natural resources, in which case things could be a lot more dystopian, with a lack of employment opportunities coupled with a low standard of living for most people.
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