Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bad arguments for good ideas #1

The idea of a citizens' income - an amount of money paid to every individual, replacing most or all means-tested benefits - is an interesting one. Many supporters claim that it would be simple in application, increase economic efficiency, help reduce poverty and unite our society. I'm not completely convinced (some objections can be found here), but the thinking behind it is an important contribution to discussions about how to ensure that everyone is able to receive an adequate income.

Weirdly, UKIP and some liberatarians have also got interested in the idea of Citizens' Income. The difference is that their arguments are not very good. For example:

"The important point - that many overlook - is that a CI would also be paid to e.g. carers from better off households, stay-at-home parents and non-working spouses (with working spouses), students from better off families etc.

There are about 2 or 3 million of such people. So it's more likely to be better-off people (who tend to vote centre-right) who'd benefit from the CI, NOT existing benefit claimants, who, if they can be bothered to vote at all would normally vote Labour of BNP. And who would receive less in CI that they currently do (else the CI would be unaffordable).

CI is a centre-right idea."

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