Huh? The time for a Guaranteed Annual Income might finally have come

“So how much would introducing a GAI across Canada cost?

According to several Queen’s University professors, the cost of replacing social assistance (which includes welfare and disability support) and Old Age Security (which includes a top-up for low-income seniors), plus providing every adult with an annual income of $20,000 and children with an income guarantee of $6,000, would be $40-billion. The Fraser Institute calculates the total cost of Canada’s current income support system (payout plus administrative costs) at $185-billion in 2013.

Our own estimates, which build on existing social programs, range from a gross annual cost of $17-billion for a program that (in today’s dollars) is slightly more generous than was offered in Dauphin, to a “Cadillac” version costing $58-billion that would guarantee everyone a minimum income equal to the low-income cutoff and pay at least some benefits to people earning well above the low-income cutoff.”

The numbers intrigue me as they purport to show a much lower overall cost than our current mish-mash of programs.

But it still doesn’t explain how we would pay for it all as the incipient “automation of everything” is expected to cause massive job losses.

Adding to the mess Canada maintains a record breaking immigration intake, a short sighted policy that smacks of generals fighting this war with the last war’s tactics.

I doubt any politician has the guts to halt that nonsense. Who wants to lose the ethnic vote?

  • Jay Currie

    Well, first you fire all the social workers and the “benefits cheat” auditors, repeal the Indian Act and close the borders to all but high skill level immigration.

    Then, when Hell has frozen solid enough for the flock of flying pigs to land, you impose a modest VAT which will capture some of the surplus profit from “worker free” manufacturing and distribution.

    Any other questions?

  • Al_the_Fish

    I worked as a summer student for the Mincome project back in the 1970s. Part of the project was to investigate how the GAI would impact the person’s willingness to seek work to increase their income, or if they would become lazy slugs (my term, not the study.) As far as I know, the data was never correlated as the provincial NDP government of Ed Schereyer was replace mid-project by a new Conservative government led by Sterling Lyon in 1977. The societal impact of GAI became unimportant (and most of the research staff cut), and the delivery cost was, if I remember correctly, used as an excuse to wind the project down.

    • Pity.

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      Sterling Lyon.
      Best Premier ever.

    • canminuteman

      I would become a lazy slug, and I make good money. I can’t see anyone who makes minimum wage, or has a really crappy just above minimum wage job not saying “screw it, why am I getting up in the morning?”

  • And then the believers is big government will legislate that all pigs must fly.

  • DD_Austin

    What a team….

    a professor of sociocultural studies ( can you say “diversity”)
    an economics professor ( can you say depression since 1976)
    a “business” professor ( psycho-shit babble peddar)
    and a postal worker ( Cupe clown)

    These clowns couldn’t balance the books for a 7 year olds kool-aid stand
    without running a billion dollar deficit.

    They only things they know are lying and parasiting

    • I agree, there are or should be less biased sources on the subject.

    • David Murrell

      The economics professor in question was on my PhD thesis board way back when, but there are a few things wrong with the GAI. First, governments cn never fire all the social workers and bureaucrats, within all those redundant welfare agencies. Second, the GAI would create a tremendous diincentive to work. Obama brought in an ultra-cushy unemployment inurance program that drove large numbers from the work force. Charles Murray has written much about work iincentives.

    • Clausewitz

      Again, any academic pursuit with the word “Studies” in it’s description is indeed not worthy of funding.

  • Alain

    GAI, a socialist wet dream that has been around for as long as I have lived. The first problem, always missed by committed socialists, is from where exactly would the money come. The second problem, again ignored by committed socialists, is that it removes any incentive for people to lead productive lives. Don’t think so, how many living off welfare and social benefits are interested in work of any kind?

    • Martin B

      The third problem is that GAI as a one-stop-shop replacement for welfare & social benefits will never work in the real world, because committed socialists will never accept the abolition of welfare & social benefits.

  • FactsWillOut

    Well, if we scrapped EI, welfare, and got rid of all the state poverty pimps, and gave everybody say, $15000 base tax free income, paid quarterly, I bet all the drug addicts would die in the first year, and the rest would learn to budget themselves, and anyone with ambition could start up a small business, or what have you. Of course, that would also entail reducing compliance costs by firing a bunch of fed., provincial and municipal admins. It would eat up less of the budget than the current system.

  • DMB

    A guaranteed annual income is a lot like Cuba’s former system of equal pay for all. Giving people money to be unproductive is nothing more than a continuing expansion of the welfare system. If communist Cuba can reject a system like that why are we even contemplating it.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      When your cab drivers are paid the same as your doctors, you will know you have achieved a worker’s paradise.

      I can’t wait to see the Mariel-style boatlifts across most of the great lakes after that one kicks-in.

  • errol

    A very large number of the recipients would actually be non-resident in Canada. $20G goes a long way in many parts of the world. Of course, a large number of recipients would never have actually set foot in Canada. The organized scam industry will be in like Flynn.

    And of course the only solution to the sudden scarcity of low wage labour would be to flood the nation with “temporary” foreign workers.

    And as tuition assistance makes post-secondary education more expensive, much of the GAI will end up going towards increased rental accommodation costs.

  • Jay Currie

    Well, coming down the road, faster than most people seem to understand, is the twin problem of robotics and AI. Once you start replacing most of the entry level and low skill jobs with robots – and that will include people like taxi drivers, delivery drivers, long haul drivers, fast food clerks, much of retail and such like – and the higher skill jobs with low level AI, you won’t have work for people regardless of “incentives”. You also won’t have people to spend money to keep the whole show running.

    We allocate resources, to some degree, according to the work which people do. If there is no work how do you allocate resources? In the Great Depression there was no work and no productivity (not to mention very little “offshoring”) and so the economy seized up. But this time there will be less and less work with increasing productivity but no one to buy the goods because: no work=no pay.

    We actually need to be thinking about GAI in terms of managing consumer demand and trying to adapt to an economy of relative abundance. Yes, of course there will be people who will do nothing and collect their cheques – there are now and there are jobs begging. As conventional employment becomes less and less necessary for production, we will have to come up with ways to raise and distribute income.

    It is not at all a trivial or obvious problem.