Scotland may test out a basic income for each and every citizen after two local municipalities consider a trial run.
City councils in Fife and Glasgow are considering the implementation of a universal basic income, an idea championed by the Labour party in the U.K. Leaders in Finland have attempted to tackle poverty with similar proposals.
“Like a lot of people, I was interested in the idea but never completely convinced,” Councillor Matt Kerr of the Glasgow City Council said, according to the Guardian.
Kerr has been an advocate of the idea, as a leader of the “anti-poverty” movement in Glasgow.
The question remains as to how much money each citizen should receive, and where that money would come from. Some have suggested that the minimum should be based on a calculation of a “living wage.”
As to where the funding would come from, Jamie Cooke, head of RSA Scotland, told The Guardian, “It could be funding from particular trusts, it could be individual philanthropic funding, as we have seen in the States, or it could be a redirection of the existing welfare spend,” Cooke explained to The Guardian.
Brazil previously attempted to implement a basic income for its citizens, and was far from successful. Brazil’s welfare system has been criticized for discouraging citizens from seeking out work. The country’s impoverished citizens receive cash from the Bolsa Família program, which is a private foundation, and some believe they stop looking for jobs since they’re content to live on the program’s wages.
Experts question whether a universal basic income could succeed in the United States.
“Giving people cash is not the solution to improving opportunity,” Aparna Mathur, a labor policy expert with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“In the long-run encouraging people to work or acquire skills and training and education is the only way to help people move up in life,” Mathur explained.
Mathur explains that cash handouts should be tied to work. “If cash transfers are conditional on work or job training, they are much more likely to be effective in improving mobility than if we simply give everybody an unconditional cash transfer,” she told TheDCNF.
“If we gave people the money without making it conditional on work, it might reduce their incentive to work,” Mathur concluded.
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