A guaranteed annual income for Finland?

The Finnish government is currently drawing up plans to introduce a national basic income. A final proposal won’t be presented until November 2016, but if all goes to schedule, Finland will scrap all existing benefits and instead hand out 800 euros per month—to everyone.

It sounds far-fetched, but it’s looking likely that Finland will carry through with the idea. Whereas several Dutch cities will introduce basic income next year and Switzerland is holding a referendum on the subject, there is strongest political and public support for the idea in Finland.

A poll commissioned by the government agency planning the proposal, the Finnish Social Insurance Institution or KELA, showed that 69% support (link in Finnish) a basic income plan. Prime minister Juha Sipilä is in favor of the idea and he’s backed by most of the major political parties.

There is more here, by Olivia Goldhill, via Matt Yglesias.

Comments

There was a smaller test study which was supposed to test if this can actually work. I don't know if the results are anywhere or if the study ever completed.

I hope this will be decided depending on expert / emprical analysis and not because of popular support.

I believe you're thinking of the Utrecht study which is to start January 2016. Another study was conducted in Dauphin, Manitoba during the 70s and although it only lasted for five years there's quite a bit useful information in the attached study:

http://economix.fr/pdf/seminaires/H2S/forget.pdf

I don't understand why people who have money should be supported by the state. It seems the opposite of progressive redistribution of income. Since overall benefits are not going to change the real beneficiaries will be young mostly middle class people who haven't transitioned/or who don't want to transition from education to employment.
I also worry that, since it won't be enough to live on, overtime pressure will be exerted on the government to raise the amount. Currently the pressure to raise benefits comes from the people receiving them (who don't have political influence) and those who involved in the social services industry (who have only a small amount of influence). If everyone receives this payment then everyone will have a strong incentive to campaign for increases.

"I don’t understand why people who have money should be supported by the state."

The two most obvious reasons are that 1) if try to restrict it people will game the system and then you need an expensive compliance system and 2) you always have to ensure that those working harder will get a distinct advantage over those who aren't, otherwise the harder workers will quit working harder.

> I don’t understand why people who have money should be supported by the state - See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2015/12/a-guaranteed-annual-income-for-finland.html#sthash.FP2iUZCJ.dpuf

If you pay more in taxes than you receive, then you're not being "supported." The purpose of this is to ensure that there's a gradual shift from being a net beneficiary to a net contributor as your income increases.

It avoids cutoffs where earning more in wages actually results in reduced income. This is common in the United States, where sometimes getting e.g. a $1/hour raise can get people kicked off of enough benefits to completely negate the raise. If someone earns $1 more per hour they should receive (at least close to) $1 more per hour!

"It avoids cutoffs where earning more in wages actually results in reduced income. This is common in the United States, where sometimes getting e.g. a $1/hour raise can get people kicked off of enough benefits to completely negate the raise. If someone earns $1 more per hour they should receive (at least close to) $1 more per hour!"

Can the same effect be achieved just with more gradual reduction in benefits? Today that we have computers, we could in theory make gradation completely smooth, with benefits gradually shrinking without huge bureaucracy. I am not sure if Basic Income helps, because you still have increase in taxation that is not smooth.

Will this do less damage than the alternative means by which people use democracy to vote themselves an income?

By the way, does "everyone" include babies, non-citizens, illegal immigrants, and so forth? And Santa and the elves?

The article claims that the income is only for adults. It is silent on non-citizens.

"Will this do less damage than the alternative means by which people use democracy to vote themselves an income?"

It does avoid a large state apparatus to administer it and police the results. Furthermore, it should theoretically avoid a lot of crony capitalist type arrangements and specific tax deductions. So, this should make it more efficient than your typical targeted redistribution scheme.

Do you wake up excited to be a snarky troll? Or are you kind of ashamed of it but you feel like it's your duty?

She's British. She wakes up hung over.

I thought dearieme was female for a long time, but then I saw a posting in which s/he identified him/herself as male. I remember this because I was surprised.

She lied.

So they are going to introduce a guaranteed income up to a level that is quite respectable by international standards *and* allow unlimited immigration into Finland? Well that may not work out too well.

Will they fold all other forms of welfare spending into this or will single mothers get this and a house? Higher taxes?

I have a better solution. A 800 euro a month poll tax. If you give teenage slackers free cash, they will be teenage slackers for much longer. If you jail them for not earning enough, their parents make sure they pay attention in class. China has had a poll tax for most of the past 2,500 years. Worked out well for them.

Finland decided to allow unlimited immigration? I didn't see that. Please share the background.

Well, they are in the EU which has freedom of movement and labor for all citizens. So they have unlimited immigration from the EU at least.

'Well, they are in the EU which has freedom of movement and labor for all citizens.'

However, the EU explicitly does not permit freedom of transfer payments, and no EU member allows citizens from another EU nation to settle within its borders to simply collect benefits.

There isn't a country in the Western world that is serious about enforcing even the most basic immigration laws. If Finland is deporting any significant number of people it is news to me.

But they have agreed to out source their immigration policy to Greece, Spain and Italy. Who regularly grant amnesty to anyone from the Third World. Especially if they agree to move to Germany.

Essentially Finland has open borders. The laws are only there to fool the rubes

Of course "serious about enforcing immigration laws" is quite a subjective determination. I don't know how many people are in Finland illegally and how many would even be candidates for deportation, but they do kick people out.
http://www.migri.fi/about_us/statistics/deportations]

As to your other concern, it appears the proposal is limited to a basic income for Finnish citizens. http://finlandpolitics.org/2015/11/05/710/

I don't think that Finns have a problem with overcrowding. In fact I guess they might welcome a bit more people.

I have always wondered why the pro-immigration people don't make more of the benign effects of the unlimited freedom of movement and work in Europe experiment. Despite giving people in very undeveloped countries (like Romania) direct access to high paying jobs and also generous welfare in places like Germany and UK, the results have been no-where near as calamitous as the anti-immigrant types would predict. Indeed the UK is pretty near full employment and the welfare bill as a percentage of GDP has even fallen in recent times. Doesn't this suggest that it is a bit fanciful that poor country people would move, en masse, to the rich countries if immigration restrictions were reduced in say the US?

Doesn't the US have a huge waiting list for immigration?

There are two main difference between Romania and Bulgaria and the other underdeveloped countries:
1. They are a rapidly diminishing people. Other sources of immigration breed 10 more for every one that leaves. In Romania and Bulgaria, TFRs are low, mortality is high, a great many people (the young and the intelligent hurt the most) have already left and, frankly, the age pyramid is such that there is not really that much excess labor to export. Unemployment is very low, if you discount the people already working abroad who should be incentivized to return. Romania fell from 23 million in the 1990s to the low 19 million today. Just in 2015, so far, the population was reduced by 600.000 people. Latest data is a Romanian dies every 2 minutes, is born every 2:40 and leaves every 5:30. People still leave, but the numbers are diminishing simply through population reduction. It is also quite possible to live a very decent middle class life in Romania and Bulgaria, as their economic situation improves (to the extent the brain drain will ultimately allow) and there are non-economic factors that weigh into the decision to leave or not or whether to return. Even if some magic compelled Romanian and Bulgarians to leave, then the flows would naturally cease very quickly. Also, many migrant workers that have moved to the West for money keep their families in the home country, where living costs are lower. They are not staying there, they shift countries to where the labor is (especially seasonal like the stereotypical fruit picker).
2. Some people are more assimilable than others, depending on cultural distance between home country and host country and on cultural factors. While differentials in crime rates and propensity for corruption are still an issue, they are not as large as with other non-European populations that are an immigrant sources, and Romanians/Bulgarians are very amenable to assimilation because they share their hosts' European social norms and mores of behavior and have the same ideas regarding an ideal society.
3. Romania and Bulgaria went through numerous hoops to get these freedoms and I fully support Western Europe's right to terminate these freedoms to access their countries should they see fit. So, we had to be validated to get these semi-open borders (which are now a nuisance because of brain drain), yet Germany introduces a carte blanche to anyone who can buy a Syrian passport to trample through Europe on their way to there?

Finally, there is this Gallup Poll that shows that 640 million adults (not counting dependents) would move in this generation of people to a Western country. That is what can be tapped if conditions are right - the target country is foolishly amenable, the potential migrants have the resources to undertake the journey (given by families, in the hope of reunification, or by criminal groups to expand networks, or by friendly Western groups etc).

http://www.gallup.com/poll/153992/150-million-adults-worldwide-migrate.aspx

What would 150 million new people in just a few years do to the US? Its welfare, its environment, its social capital, its communities.

Well, the latest seven hundred years, not so much.

It's why so many people are voting with their feet and moving to China, and why Chinese emigration has basically ceased.

Not to mention all those anchor babies in the USA.
Net migrarion: -0.44/1000 inhabitants. Not a disaster, but 3 times Brazil's and a little depressing after four decades of amazing. Even in its least depressing situation since the 1600s, China still is a nightmare for its own citizens (let's not mention that the latest 2500 wonderful years brought the unequal treaties, the humiliation of China before those foreign upstarters, the Empire's fall, the warlords' rule, the Japanese invasion, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution). I am not sure the magical properties of a poll tax helped much China since about Columbus' time. But maybe this was Deng's secret trick all along: a poll tax.

Will they fold all other forms of welfare spending into this or will single mothers get this and a house?

You could just read the article.

It's more economical if one person reads the article and answers questions from the rest of us.

You would be along in a minute to tell me what it all really meant anyway.

More to the point, the article is not clear. It says both that it will replace them and it won't.

If implemented, the so-called basic income would replace other benefits people currently receive, and would therefore be rather high, Kela's Research Department Manager Olli Kangas told Lännen Media.
....
The basic income model's full-fledged form would make some earnings-based benefits obsolete, but in the partial pilot format benefits would not be affected. The partial model would also retain housing benefits and income support packages.

So we don't know. Getting rid of existing benefits is next to impossible. Too many bureaucrats are too invested.

It's pretty clear that a basic income model wouldn't be sustainable--at least at anywhere near the level they are talking--without scrapping other benefits packages. Its appeal is that it let's people spend the money on what they need/value the most while eliminating the expenses associated with administering a constellation of other benefits.

Isn't the main question going to be what happens when someone wastes all their money and still needs more?

Then the media show up with their sob story, and pressure is there once again to recreate the old system, but with a new name - on top of the basic income?

Maybe Finns have harder hearts than Americans.

It is pretty clear that Social Security is not sustainable and has been for a long time. Hasn't stopped anyone yet.

I agree that we could probably agree letting people spend their money their way is a good idea. I am not sure the Finns will agree. It means fewer opportunities for graft. Unless it is regulated six ways to Sunday, no one will give politicians and bureaucrats the sort of attention and perks they think they deserve.

"It is pretty clear that Social Security is not sustainable and has been for a long time. Hasn’t stopped anyone yet. "

See the bellyaching associated with SS recipients not getting a 1% increase this year. A lot of those recipients are in for some pretty huge shocks in the next decade when the stored surplus dries up.

@SMFS: "It is pretty clear that Social Security is not sustainable and has been for a long time."

The fix for Social Security is easy: raise the retirement age to 70. It doesn't happen because both political parties want the issue to run on and the elites are convinced they can end the program entirely if they just bide their time and play their cards right.

Medicare's a better example of what you're talking about.

@JWatts: "A lot of those recipients are in for some pretty huge shocks in the next decade when the stored surplus dries up."

Nah. They vote. They'll get their benefits. Xers and Millennials won't stop it either once they realize the choice is a) find a way to cover the benefits or b) mom and dad move in.

If it comes down to libertarians and the Norquist brigade vs. the over-65 set, I'd bet on the over-65 set.

"Nah. They vote. They’ll get their benefits. Xers and Millennials won’t stop it either once they realize the choice is a) find a way to cover the benefits or b) mom and dad move in. "

You can't fund it without a) massive cuts somewhere else b) large tax increases (that Xers and Millennials will bear the brunt of) or c) massive additional borrowing.

As to option C, there's a certain percentage of GDP that the US can borrow against without fundamentally changing the interest rates. Once, the interest rates start going upward, the tax increase occurs in the form of high inflation.

It is pretty clear that Social Security is not sustainable and has been for a long time.

Rubbish. The United States is not Germany with it's 40 years of depressed fertility. Social Security can be readily repaired by placing the statutory retirement age on an escalator which leaves the ratio of the retired population to the working population a constant. Some amendments to the definition of disability and the procedure for awarding and reviewing disability benefits would also help. The political class just does not feel like it.

"Social Security can be readily repaired by placing the statutory retirement age on an escalator which leaves the ratio of the retired population to the working population a constant. "

I agree with this option, but I would just include it in the massive cuts column. SS is going to hit roughly a 25-30% deficit. So indexing the retirement age to reduce retiree to worker ratio, could do so with less pain than just cutting the amount delivered to everyone 67+. Since, many of those with an extended retirement age will keep working they'll simultaneously boost the worker numbers and reduce the retiree numbers.

The Finns -- for what it is worth -- are not happy about supplying the money to provide a guaranteed annual income to the Gov't of Greece.

Nor vice versa. Although Tsipris might be willing to write a check.

In my opinion, the numbers simply don't add up:
- Population of Finland: 5.439 million;
- Multiply that by (800 EUR/month)*(12 months): 52.21 billion EUR.

In contrast, the total government spending by Finnish government in 2015 is 53.7 billion EUR. And, after they introduce this new benefit, they still have to pay salaries to public employees, pay for roads and other infrastructure, pay interest on their public debt, pay membership contributions to the EU and a lot of other things. There is no way how they can afford to spend 52.21 billion on this new benefit.

This is an obvious problem with any system. It is expensive to subsidize bad behavior unless only a very few people do it. The Finns could try many ways to solve this problem. The obvious one is to change the tax system. Some quick googling suggests Finnish income tax rates are:

Tax (%) Tax Base (EUR)
0 1-16,100
6.5% 16,101-23,900
17.5% 23,901-39,100
21.5% 39,101-70,300
29.75% 70,301 – 100,00
31.75% over 100,000

800 euros a month is 9600 a year. Suppose they took the three lowest tax brackets and replaced them with a flat 20% tax. Someone earning 0 would get 800 euros a month. Someone earning 16,000 would pay 3,200 but earn 9,600. They would still come out ahead. Someone earning 39,000 would pay 7,800 but would end up 1,800 a year better off.

It might be do-able but it would be such a waste of time and money I don't see why they would bother. This would just be Milton Friedman's Negative Income Tax. No doubt the Finns would want to do the same thing but in another way so it is more complex and difficult (and so allow the employment of lots of Social Democrat-voting bureaucrats and require a great deal of lobbying by various interest groups which will keep retired politicians in sinecures for the rest of their natural lives).

FWIW, voting patterns in Finland are not those of Sweden or Norway. The Social Democratic Party never had that kind of purchase on the electorate. As we speak, the Social Democrats, the quondam agrarian party, an immigration control party, and what counts as a conservative party there each have about 20% of the electorate in their corner.

This is an obvious problem with any system. It is expensive to subsidize bad behavior unless only a very few people do it.

I suspect you can get around much of the problem by replacing the dole check with a tax credit. Their tax liability would be equal to a flat assessment on their personal income (from wages and salaries, interest and dividends, proprietorship, and pensions) less a credit (the dollar value of which is indexed). The impecunious have a negative liability which can be returned to them in the form of standard increments to certain mandatory savings accounts (for medical expenses, &c) and some free cash doled out in monthly installments. The free cash can be capped at a particular % of their earned income during the previous calendar year, a cap that can be relaxed for the elderly and disabled. You'd create an income floor for the elderly and disabled and a wage subsidy for the rest of the impecunious. You'd have some leakage from fraud and you'd still have some depression in labor force participation due to some people's income v. leisure trade-off, but less than you'd see if you just cut them a check no questions asked. Accomplishing this would require a grand simplification of the tax code, which is difficult to effect.

Obviously they will offset it with increased taxes.

The goal isn't to magically give everyone more money but to remove the waste from having to figure out who are entitled to exactly which welfare benefits etc. Longer term this is something every country needs to do as there won't be necessary that most of the population does work for money.

Also the entire population doesn't get the income, only adults.

Some of the basic income is sent right back as taxes, I'd assume.

"The goal isn’t to magically give everyone more money but to remove the waste from having to figure out who are entitled to exactly which welfare benefits etc. "

That waste is a Civil Service job. I'm not sure it will be easy to eliminate them.

It's no problem, just look how Ford Motors got rich by raising wages so its employees bought more cars. Ask Nick Hanauer for details.

Like a perpetual motion machine?

The guaranteed income would presumably still be taxed like any other income. So above the threshold for paying tax the government would claw back a large chunk of the 800 Euros per month.

We can invert the old saying, and say that the government gives you money then takes it away.

From the article:

"Under basic income all Finnish citizens would be paid an untaxed benefit sum free of charge by the government. "

Obviuosly you have the wrong numbers. 53.7 B/EUR are Central Gov Budget, not Welfare or Municipal. Total public expenditure is around 120 B/EUR in a country w/ 200 B/EUR GDP - about 60% public sector. Around 30% is already in the welfare system, but a lot is in healthcare and pensions, so only about 11-12% is direct cash payments (single mothers, disabilities, etc.) and certian services.
Check the numbers better next time.

I'm not convinced the correct numbers actually change the picture. It still doesn't appear to be affordable.

great but I think they should go with 150 euros a week ans only to adult citizens instead. 800/month seems like too much.

And payment should be reduced by half a euro for every euro that the earn until the payment is covered.

50% marginal rate from 0-24000 euros per year in income? Terrible idea.

Why? Many taxpayers are already at that rate. The Democrats say 70% is the revenue maximizing tax rate.

Bad deLong has offered that marginal rates over 70% were self-defeating in his reading of the literature. I'm not sure he's ever advocated such rates.

Who is being taxed at 50%? You might want to look up what "marginal tax rate" means and the reasons why marginal rates exist.

Rob in the context I was talking about marginal tax rates.

Some rich people in California will face marginal tax rates above 50%.

High-Income Taxpayers Could Face a Top Marginal Tax Rate over 50 percent this Tax Season

Some low income people in the USA face marginal tax rates much higher than 50% if you consider the facing out of Medicaid and other programs.

Effective Marginal
Tax Rates for Low- and Moderate-Income Workers

I have no problem phasing out a benefit a 50%. Once the benefit is down to $0 you can lower the marginal tax rate to current levels.Marginal rates are what matters as far as disincentive to work.

"Who is being taxed at 50%? You might want to look up what “marginal tax rate” means and the reasons why marginal rates exist."

Millions of Americans are. Add Federal Income tax, State Income tax, FICA and others that come out of your wages and plenty of Americans are hitting 50% marginal rates.

Tax rate progressivity should be continuous. Sharp changes create perverse incentives. For instance, creating a decision between zero work and 24k or working for half the minimum wage pre tax. High marginal rates don't make sense at entry level wages and would surely dissuade workforce participation. I don't see this as a controversial idea.

The whole point is to have money ABOVE your wage, so no to your points.

The whole point is to have money ABOVE your wage, so no to your points.

The whole point is to guarantee a minimum level of income while disincentivising work less that the current system does, without costing so much that it slows growth.

50% off my entry level wage in addition to other taxes? Yeah I'll be passing on that, like most other rational people.

I do not think you would. IMHO the biggest danger would be people working for cash and not reporting it. To most low income people an extra $100 (~$66 euros) a week is worth working for, and at a 50% tax rate that is just $5/hour for 40 hours. I am assuming that one of the things eliminated when the BIG is instituted would the minimum wage.

Also there is this: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/how-i-live-on-7000-per-year.html

"great but I think they should go with 150 euros a week ans only to adult citizens instead. 800/month seems like too much."

800 euros per month is complete pie in the sky. From some quick googling, Finnish median per capita income is roughly 2,150 euros per month. To provide 800 euros per month tax free and still provide their current level of government services would require a massive increase from their current tax rates.

There are pros and cons to this idea. However, if it becomes successful then it will be copied in several countries in Europe.

800 Euros is the rent of a cheap apartment, no more

Yes but could apartments be built smaller and cheaper if there was a market for them? If you cut welfare would rents fall?

Depends on what building codes and zoning allow. Rooming houses have disappeared from my home town. I doubt that's effective demand at work.

I mean 800 eur is not that much. It helps if you work part time but won't solve your life if you quit working. There is still motivation to work

But they may have to get room mates.

Perhaps even what in much of the world are called wives.

Or multiple wives.

"800 Euros is the rent of a cheap apartment, no more ...I mean 800 eur is not that much."

LOL, 800 euros is a LOT of money when compared to normal government expenditures. As someone above pointed out, this would probably be close to the same amount as the entire Finnish government already spends.

Put another way, if someone said they are going to raise your taxes 800 euros per month, would you still think it's "not that much".

One critique was that 800 euros will demotivate adults from working. If the country wide sum of 800 Euros per adult is an impossible tax scheme that's another story. However, that's their problem. They're crafty enough to survive just south of North Pole, so if there's a way to make it work they'll find it. If it's not 800 but 500 euros, would you call it a fail?

I think it's a balancing act between a substantial enough amount of money to make a difference and not so much money that it's going to be fiscally disastrous or repealed in a few years. I imagine 500 euros has a much better chance of surviving budgetary pressures, but frankly I think a 200 Euros to every adult citizen would be a better idea. Since everyone gets it, no one objects to it too strenuously. Furthermore, I'd set it up to automatically adjust upward with inflation and upward with the reduction in other benefits. I'd pair it with a flat income tax at whatever level generated a balance of payments. Then instead of removing any current transfers, I'd look at leaving them fixed with no future adjustments for inflation.

Over time it would effectively eliminate a host of other programs, but the change over would be gradual.

One possible benefit is that a basic income could keep many unproductive/problematic people out of workplaces. Might increase productivity for those who keep working

Either unproductive/problematic people are born or they are made. If they are born, the last thing we want to do is encourage them to have more children. If they are made, the last thing we want to do is encourage more people down the same path of X-Box, weed and casual sex. Or whatever else causes it.

Either way it is a bad plan.

they should be encouraged to freeze to death out on the tundra, preferably before they reach puberty?

There are programs in the US right now that many believe encourage these same people to have children. BI, might improve that. On another note, IUDs would dramatically reduce this societal burden you refer to.

If the basic income were contingent on NOT having children then it might have a beneficial long term effect.

"If the basic income were contingent on NOT having children then it might have a beneficial long term effect."

It seems likely that you would see the citizen's that qualify would have drop in their birthrate and then you'd have massive immigration to counteract the drop in population. So you'd be right back to where you started.

That depends upon the politics of the nation that made the basic income contingent on no children. If the people who voted that way did so for eugenic purposes then they would be against immigration as well.

Note that I don't think this is a particularly likely scenario.

It would be interesting to see if there are drops in other career competitive behaviours such as university enrolment, grad school completion, selling homes/ moving to a different town to find better work, upgrades in cars/ vacations/ material wants, etc.
I can't help but feel that this is the undoing of a struggle and strive economy that underpins innovation, non-sustenance entrepreneurialism, and marketplace dynamics - trading of a low stress life for a low achievement/ ambition life. I am betting on a stable or increasing depression rate after 18 moths of implementation.

If BI works anywhere it will be Finland, where a strong cultural impetus for hard work is combined with a small, homogenous and high social trust society.

I suspect that any benefits will be quickly trumpeted by welfare advocates everywhere while ignoring local cultural factors, just as many think high teacher salaries in Finland were the reason for their high test scores.

I don't know the contemporary Finnish society so I'm just going to assume in this regard it's a little like US society. A lot of people are going to college who really don't need to -- their four years of education really never contribute to their productivity. Perhaps if the BI leads to a drop in college attendance, it would largely be from these sorts of people. This scenario seems possible to me.

In this US this would be especially good because of the ultra-high tuition rates, the people who never benefit in productivity from going to college no longer going would help lower tuition rates for those who actually get a real value from going.

If the current population of Finland were to remain indefinitely as it is today, a guaranteed annual income might (might) work. But the population will change over the years partly in response to this policy. Costs will rise greatly and the legal system will have to become somewhat repressive to contain costs. On a KLM flight in the '70s, I recall reading an interview in the inflight magazine with one of the founders of the post-World War II welfare state in the Netherlands. He was then well into his 90s. His criticism of the behavior of the Dutch with respect to work ethic, etc., made him sound like (at least) Milton Friedman. He seemed like a sincere man but I am sure he would have scoffed if someone in 1947 had predicted how the welfare state would change behavior.

You are assuming it will be more generous than the current programs...

It's flagrantly silly and just makes a hash of threads to delete a post for no good reason.

It might be good if they actually follow through on commitments to end all other programs, but I am skeptical. Long-term care in the US costs hundreds of dollars per day, most of which is publically financed. Presumably costs could be lowered to whatever gets enacted, but if there is political will to do that, why not cut the costs now and determine the exact system later.

Someone has gone off the deep end. Hopefully he doesn't have access to guns.

You must not be American, then. The answer to a crazed American commenter having legal access to guns is for all the other American commenters to have guns too. And to allow concealed carry on campus of course, as noted here for another (non-taxpayer supported) Virginia instution of higher learning -

'In his remarks, President Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late religious right leader Jerry Falwell Sr., pressed students at the Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., to carry weapons on campus following Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

“It just blows my mind that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” he said to applause.

“If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now …,” he said while being interrupted by louder cheers and clapping. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he said, chuckling.

“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” he says, the rest of his sentence drowned out by loud applause while he said, “and killed them.”

“I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”' https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/12/05/liberty-university-president-if-more-good-people-had-concealed-guns-we-could-end-those-muslims/

Because apparently no one wants jackbooted thugs dressed in ninja black taking any American citizen's guns away from them, at least before good Americans have the chance to riddle them with bullets. It is what the Founders intended, apparently.

Though one would hope that Profs. Cowen and Tabarrok, with their broad connections, will choose something a bit more appropriate than this - 'Falwell told The Washington Post on Saturday that he has had a concealed-carry permit for about a year, but decided for the first time Friday to carry a .25 pistol because of the attacks in San Bernardino on Wednesday. Falwell said he has had several shotguns, rifles and pistols on his farm for several years but is new to carrying a concealed weapon and needs to find a holster for his pistol.' That's right, the part about 'back pocket' is literally true.

Tonight I was in a supermarket in the USA and happened to see a cup of yogurt with nuts and fruits affixed with a bright orange sticker proclaiming "SNAP Eligible." That's several dollars of public money wasted by not simply buying the ingredients separately, or better yet not at all. Naturally my thoughts turned to the a basic income, and now I read this news. Finland may yet save the rest of the welfare states from themselves.

I hope someone in Europe does the experiment on a country-wide basis- the only meaningful way this experiment can be usefully interpreted. It will be fascinating to the see the results.

There is one caveat: To support the guaranteed annual income for all citizens, Finland will need to dramatically increase immigration in order to boost economy.

Yes, but then you can't afford to give the new immigrants the same BI, in which case you sort of defeat the purpose.

Extraordinary! If only more policy decisions would be managed with science. Replicatable experiments in government. Who would think. Hope they get good data.

The rationale for this policy seems bizarre. The idea is to make low wage jobs more attractive to reduce the unemployment rate, but a guaranteed income would increase the reservation wage. Employers would have to pay more to lure workers into those jobs, meaning the number of workers those firms could hire would have to fall. The labor force participation rate would probably decrease, not increase.

How is this different from Inflation? If 'everyone' gets $800 more, then everything will become f($800) more expensive. No gain in living standard for anyone. You might as well not bother. Honestly, what the heck?

If i'm a landlord and I know my tenant is getting $800 more every month, why won't i raise my rent by $100? yes, there will be second order effects, good and bad. we don't know. and the greatest utility of this is to run the experiment and learn. but still, are they seriously selling this as some sort of welfare plan?

"Contrary to reports, basic income study still at preliminary stage".
http://bit.ly/1OfyZhV

The success of a basic income plan relies entirely on the amount of the payment. The median wage in Finland is over 2,500 euros. So 800 euros seems small enough to ensure that, for most, their lifestyles cannot be maintained without their earned income. Keeping the amount low is important so that citizens still have incentive to work, and so that their incomes will be large enough to be taxed. The poll commissioned by KELA where 69 percent said that they supported this idea did so with a slightly higher, 1000 euro payment in mind.
Finland’s ability to manage this cost is questionable. 800 euros per month for 4.9 million adults in Finland equates to a cost of 46.7 billion per year. The government reportedly only expects to have 49.1 billion in revenue for 2016, and has experienced a recession continually the last few years. There is a great likelihood that costs could exceed revenues and this system would contribute to the country’s debt. An article by Leonid Bershidsky cites the pulp and paper industry as being the nation’s strongest, but they are currently in decline.
Switzerland is also considering a similar basic income program, where the government will pay an even larger amount to citizens. They seem unlikely to follow through because of this high cost, reportedly projected to reach about 30 percent of their gross domestic product. The Netherlands is also testing it out in several cities as Canada has previously.
The basic income plan is an interesting way to simplify the social security system, and many countries seem to be on board with implementation, but costs are concerning.

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