Archive for the ‘Debates’ Category

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Guaranteed basic income in a time of need

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Milton Friedman, that leading apostle of small government and swaggering free markets, had something to say about new ideas. He succeeded in making his ideas seem like common sense. “Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around,” he said. The COVID-19 crisis offers the opportunity for Canada to stop merely discussing basic income. It’s time to get going with this common sense.

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Ottawa steps forward as COVID-19 crisis puts provinces in desperate straits

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

… temporary programs have a way of turning into permanent entitlements. Through the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, which pays suddenly unemployed workers $2,000 a month, “we might have backed ourselves into some sort of universal basic income,” … We may have accidentally federalized welfare… The problem with creating a basic income more or less by accident is that no one knows how to pay for it, or how it would adapt to regional realities.

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Their work is keeping Canada safe. But they earn a fraction of the national average

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

From food processing to warehouses to delivery services, the workers deemed essential to maintaining the country’s vital supply chain are significantly more likely to be low-wage and racialized compared to the rest of the labour market… “We have to really look at governments to respond in a longer term manner by increasing minimum wages, easing access to unionization, and increasing both protections and enforcement under minimum employment standards”

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Coronavirus has shown us we were living in an economic fairy tale

Monday, March 30th, 2020

… in late 2008, something extraordinary happens. Instead of allowing the system to fail as capitalism calls for, governments bail out the system. By doing so, they save the same people that created the crisis in the first place, effectively guaranteeing their wins and socializing their losses.
The “real” value of your cash is destroyed as new money is created out of thin air and the system is bailed out… Everyone once again believes in the fairy tale.

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There is no perfect economic response for Canada’s coronavirus shutdown

Friday, March 27th, 2020

There’s been a flurry of debate about the best method to get help to individuals in this crisis. Should it be delivered by way of targeted income-support programs, such as the CERB? Should the money instead go to employers, in the form of a wage subsidy, enabling them to keep paying their employees, even if they aren’t doing anything? Or should the government just mail everyone a cheque… the amount depending on their income – a universal, if temporary, basic income?

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Basic income is the answer to a COVID-stricken economy

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Let’s choose universal payments that can be in the mail next week rather than applying complex new formulas to an already dysfunctional system. It’s time for an emergency basic income to ensure hundreds of thousands of Canadians don’t fall through the cracks. Perhaps, like other plans that are drawn up in a crisis, we’ll discover that it makes sense to keep a basic income once this particular emergency is over. Because COVID-19 won’t be the last major setback to the Canadian economy.

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A wartime economy is a very particular thing

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

When there is only one economic objective, and everyone agrees what it is, central planning works tolerably well… Good policy ideas that are, for one reason or another, politically impractical at most times often become possible in crises, when the risks and rewards of experimentation are seen rather differently. The baby bonus came out of the Second World War. Perhaps some form of basic income will be the legacy of “World War C.”

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To address the needs of Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis, we need a targeted basic income

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

A targeted income maintenance approach that is conditional on income — what we refer to as a “targeted basic income” — meets the urgency of the current crisis. And, because seniors and children already have a guaranteed annual income through the Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement and CCB programs, the major remaining gap in social policy must address the needs of low-income working-age people — particularly those without children.

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Federal COVID-19 aid needs speed, and space to grow

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Many of us know the current system is broken and prioritizes profit over people and their well-being. The pandemic is making those cracks clear. The response to the pandemic has shown that the government has the capacity to act in the public interest on a massive scale – job-protected paid sick leave for all workers was not on any government’s agenda before last week. We will need to carry that urgency to build a better society with us into the recovery to ensure that we do not return to “normal.”

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Postponing Retirement New Reality For Older Workers

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

… given the COVID-19-related slump in the market, older workers may need to spend extra years on the workforce, or settle for a lower level of retirement income… Recognizing that working past age 70 will become more common in the future, Ottawa should also raise the age at which workers must stop contributing to tax-deferred saving vehicles and start receiving income from them to age 75 from the current 71… [and] amend OAS and the CPP to allow for the deferral of income from these programs to age 75

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