Analysis: Labour’s $38 billion bribe
The Herald reports:
All adult New Zealanders could be given a government handout of at least $200 a week under a new policy being considered by the Labour Party.
The co-leader of a global network promoting a “universal basic income,” British professor Guy Standing, will be a keynote speaker at a Labour conference on “the future of work” in Auckland next week.
He said yesterday that a system “where every legal resident of New Zealand should be entitled to a modest monthly basic income” would reduce inequality and give some security to people who increasingly have to earn a living from insecure casual and short-term work.
And Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said Labour was considering a local version of a scheme developed by economist Gareth Morgan, who proposed paying every adult a basic income of $11,000 a year ($211 a week).
“I’ve spoken to the Morgan Foundation about it. They are continuing to work on the idea,” Mr Robertson said.
“We are looking at how do we ensure income security, and one of the things we are looking at is whether or not a universal basic income could form part of that policy. It’s very early days.”
A discussion paper on the idea, due to be published by Labour today, suggests paying an $11,000 universal income to everyone aged 18 or over to replace all existing welfare benefits except for “supplementary transfers for disadvantaged groups”.
So what would this cost?
We have 3.49 million people aged 18 or older.
$11,000 per person is $38.4 billion!!
This is fantasy land stuff. Not even Jeremy Corbyn would float this.
Even if you used this to replace Vote Social Development (Benefits) which is $19.5 billion, that leaves an $19 billion gap.
This would be slightly more generous than Dr Morgan’s proposal, which suggested a lower rate of $8500 for those aged 18 to 20, and the paper acknowledges that “there may need to be some changes to taxation policy to mobilise revenue.”
“The top tax rate could be increased or further revenue might be gathered from other forms of taxation,” it says.
This would require everyone earning over $48,000 a year to pay 82% income tax.
This isn’t so much the future of work but how to get everyone working to leave New Zealand.
Poilitical commentator and pollster David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.