Wednesday, January 7, 2015

guaranteed bullshit

In 2014 the Liberal Party of Canada (the government in waiting, to hear the media tell it) joined the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Senate and of course the bolsheviks over at the NDP in calling for a guaranteed nation income. Their verbosely worded policy resolution 97 "Basic Income Supplement:Testing a Dignified Approach to Income Security for Working-age Canadians" calls for a pilot project to test out the idea of a guaranteed income for all Canadians. We here at the forum can save you fellas the trouble of going through all this work, this plan is a really bad idea.

In the rural areas especially (and among many ethnic minorities) there is a real stigma associated with welfare. Some people in this country still cling to this antiquated notion that nothing is free in this world and what you want you must work for. On the farm life is hard. You work long hours for little pay but there is a satisfaction in it, a feeling that you have made a meaningful contribution to the wealth of our society and to your own family. Instead of waiting forlornly for the benevolent state to come to their rescue people in smaller communities have always helped themselves and those around them in need. Indeed there is a certain justified antipathy in less sophisticated parts of the country towards those who languish on welfare instead of embracing the necessity of welfare, an attitude which their urban cousins might do well to adopt. But the Liberal proposal to make welfare automatic would remove this stigma and this would add countless more to the rolls. While an advocate of wealth redistribution might counter that it is demeaning to live off charity, how much worse a blow to one's righteousness it must be to live off what is not voluntarily given but what is instead taken through force. There is also a tremendous moral hazard to the welfare program in that many recipients use this free money to subsidize alcohol and drug use. Labour is good for the soul and idle hands are the devil's plaything.

The specter of poverty, against which this program is being urged, is a nebulous thing indeed. Today poor can easily mean owning your own house and car. Such an incredible amount of wealth has been created by modern industrial capitalism that we think nothing of the casual luxuries enjoyed by even the paupers of this society and were it not for the massive siphoning of wealth from the productive private sector into the hands of the parasitic political class we would be seeing the alleviation of scarcity continue at it's previous breakneck pace. The destitute of today are in a far better place than the kings of yesteryear but professional anti-poverty activists are constantly blurring the line between where poverty and normal everyday life begins; their careers depend upon it. Yet few consider how much poverty is created by the machinations of the welfare state. The salaries of all the bureaucrats and academics who design, carry out and rationalize these programs must come from somewhere, after all. The taxes which fund their activities cause significant harm to the families which must pay them. Taxation is bad enough when you are paying for something you need, like roads or police, but it's simply unbearable when you are actually funding something counterproductive like the welfare system. If all the people on welfare and all the bureaucrats who administer the system were actually out working creating value in the market economy our society would be much better off and our tax burden that much lower.

It's also a little naive to imagine that a universal basic income program would replace payments to seniors, free daycare or the rest of the welfare state. Haven't we learned anything from the 20th century? If this were ever to be adopted it would be in addition to everything else not as a replacement. At any rate trying to reform the state and make it more efficient is a losing battle. The function of government is to exploit and oppress. It is a means by which the politically connected can plunder those who have no pull. Who wants to be looted in a more effective manner? 

Want a guaranteed income? Get a job.

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