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April 14, 2005


Tim Worstall

Again, fully agreed. Difficult to think of a better way to reform the welfare state.
One way to aid in its funding would be to abolish the income tax personal allowance. (By chance, very similar to the number of the basic income).

Paddy Carter

It certainly bears a lot of thinking about.

I wonder whether it could be made to add up. For instance, £100 per week is just is not livable on, in London at least, unless you are also receiving housing benefit.

I guess it's like the great minimum wage debate. it's all very well saying minimum wages create unemployment, but what if the clearing price for unskilled labour turns out to be unacceptably low?

What if the affordable CBI turned out to be unworkably low?

Joe Blow

I haven't seen a CW proposal yet which takes account of non cash welfare benefits.

A CW which would replace housing benefit would either substantially over compensate recipients outside major metropolitan areas leading to less incentive to get up off their arse and work.

Or it would leave a large portion of the electorate with the prospect of not being able to pay for the roof over their heads.

Never mind the knock on effects of levying VAT on food and childrens clothing etc to pay for it.

If it's necessary to start adding supplementary benefits on top, what's the point.

Human nature being what it is, those who would get out of bed to work and build up a nest egg over a lifetime would see the vast majority of it confiscated to finance the CI of those who couldnt be arsed because any 'generous' CI would indulge their natural tendency for sloth and idleness.

A negative income tax system would be far preferable.

Some interesting figures in this uk.p.m thread here



I assume people would get this £100/wk even if they worked? It would be a guaranteed income from the Government?
I mean if we thew in Worstall's love of the flat tax (which I dont like that it includes VAT as VAT is a tax on the poor - I would favour 23pc Business/Income tax and a lower VAT of say 10pc) and increased the tax-free earning to £10 or 12k.. then would our entire system work and be the envy of the world or fall apart?

One positive of this guaranteed income is that it may encourage people to study. However, if we're cutting income/savings-assessment from our society we also need to do so for tuition fees - which *are* a good thing; if a university course leads to a better income than it is a fair idea people pay for it, if a university course is a waste of time, people wont pay for it and we'll get less dropouts doing media stuies. However the tuition fee should be a fixed £10000/degree - which would be paid at £1000/year for ten years after finishing the degree, employed or not.

BTW inheritance tax at 40pc, what's ludicours about it: too high or too low?


The inheritance tax is, I assume, ludicrously low. I've seen basic income people argue that an income at a substanially higher rate than's being proposed here could be funded by punitive levels of inheritance tax which then went into a fund, the interest from which funded the income. Also, many people find inheritances objectionable because they are the result of (largely: might be option luck your relatives don't cut you off) brute luck, and so an unjustified basis of advantage or disadvantage.

I have some sympathy with the basic income proposals, but would note the problem of children: do children get a citizen's income or not? If they don't, what happens if their parents are poor? They become disadvantaged for no reason other than their parent's poor choices. If they do, then the situation currently with child benefit continues to exist, assuming that no child would really have control over their basic income, even if we actually gave it to them. This is part and parcel, I suspect, of my general dislike of the 'don't give benefits to people with kids, they choose to have kids, so they're liable for the costs' line. Firstly, I don't think the option luck/brute luck distinction necessarily justifies outcomes (I'm not going to argue that here). Secondly, it doesn't map onto having children reliably, unless you enforce an implausibly strict version of it (I'm not going to argue that either). Thirdly, it's not about the damn parents: it's about the kids. They didn't choose to be born to idiots who couldn't plan a piss-up in a brewery, much less both their own and a dependent's life. So, rant over. Stop bashing child benefit. Basic incomes are good. Whatever.

Neil Harding

What we need are small practical trials of a CBI. The Isle of Man or something.

I agree with Chris that the numbers do add up and I'm pretty sure the number of shirkers would fall with a CBI. Let us not forget, if someone doesn't want to work they can spend their life on benefits at present. Even under Thatcher there were people who spent the whole time on benefits (perhaps supplemented by the black market or criminality).

How can we force these people to work? Under a CBI, there would be financial incentives for them to work. The current benefit system not only costs us a fortune in administration, it is a financial disincentive for people to work.

Neil Harding

PS I think it would have to be set at around £150 a week (assuming all benefits, housing etc, were scrapped).

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