Understanding Basic Income.

There are three sides to this argument. The idea of a basic income for all Canadians is an idea championed by progressive politicos. And then there are the regressive politicos (usually conservatives) who think it is a terrible idea and that what all those lazybones need is a little encouragement. And then there are those academics who start out saying: “But on the other hand…”

The idea of a basic income program got new impetus when the federal government finally got around to the concept of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It caused a rush to the pay windows of the government and a response that sounded like the slamming of government doors and pay windows. While many of us appeared to be ignoring the small print, it was the first time we actually thought the government was turning on the spigots where needed.

But it was good to hear from one dubious recipient of the liberal largess: “I have to give the money back, but they were nice about it.”

What was sad but amusing about the government’s reneging on CERB was that to be a recipient, you had to have some earned income in the past year.

Dammit all, who the hell is going to worry about Canadians who are too old, too sick, or disabled, infirm, or incoherent, or simply unmotivated? The world is not a perfect place and we do have to deal in reality sometimes.

In 2015, Trudeau and his cabinet danced through a sunlit Rideau Park and, according to Justin Trudeau, all was supposed to be perfect.

To be fair, he did not expect a pandemic either. I think he has done good trying to deal with covid-19. He is no genius. He is his mother’s son. He has done his best. He might not be leading us to a land of milk and honey but he has probably done as good a job on the pandemic as we can expect.

But, for goodness sake, let’s keep the academics out of the implementation of a basic income. We expect to make mistakes. That is when we will know it is working. We will fix things as we go. Start by doing the honourable thing.

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Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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