Another basic income proposal is making the media rounds. This one is a bit different, it involves giving people under 55 £5000 a year for two years at the time of their choosing, over the course of a decade.
The RSA suggested that the money would benefit those left out of work by the increasing automation of jobs through the 2020s
I would have thought that people over 55 are just at risk of ending up on the scrapheap because of automation as young people.
While the scheme would cost around £14.5bn per year, the RSA said, the government would make savings by axing other state benefits such as Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
So in other words, this isn’t going to happen. Not in a million years.
One of the things that attracts even sensible libertarians like Tim Worstall to the Basic Income Scheme is that you can supposedly just sweep away all the bureaucracy involved with the welfare state and give all the money that goes on that directly to people instead. No need to decide who should get paid the dole and who shouldn’t, just give the money to everyone. They’ll be enough to go around if you axe all the bureaucrats.
If that were true then it might be a good idea (although I have various other problems with it, which I won’t go into here). But, meanwhile, reality. Axing all the welfare state bureaucracy? Is that really going to happen? To answer that question, do this sum. Multiply 32 by 1024, add 10000, square it, then multiply by a million, then cube it. Take the number you’ve ended up with, and write ‘No, of course that won’t happen’ that many times on a very large blackboard. There’s your answer. There is no way on God’s Earth that any government can just make this happen.
And even if they somehow magically did, within a few years the bureaucracy will have come back, because the BBC and The Guardian would continually run all sorts of stories about how Something Must Be Done about the various issues that will arise, and before long the whole apparatus will have re-established itself, and now it will cost twice as much (or three times as much, because it will inevitably be even more expensive than before, plus you’ll have to start building up structures from scratch again).
As for this particular model, they say:
Payments would not be means tested, but applicants would have to demonstrate how they intended to use the money. “The payment could be administered through a range of accredited organisations, which could be local authorities, schools, colleges, advisory services, accredited employers and trade unions,” the report adds.
This is ghastly. You only get the money if you get stamp of approval from ‘progressive’ institutions. Even ‘accredited employers’ will have to be progressive, with the right equality policies, etc. So you’ll have to be doing something that the progs approve of to get your hands on any dosh. Writing an eco-novel, fine. Writing a novel like mine, forget it. So basically this is just another way that the progs can get their hands on more money which they control.