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Scrap Benefits and pay every adult, working, non working or retired, an unconditional basic income of £15,000 a year? Discuss

(332 Posts)
CorruptBstard Wed 04-Jul-12 15:35:15


Ok Mumsnet, what do you think of this?

Pay every adult in the uk £15,000 a year, with no conditions attached, so that every adult is free to use their time to do stuff, just for the love of it.

This basic income would cover basic needs for food and shelter, if people wanted to earn more money they could go and work for someone else or start a business of their own

This would abolish poverty in one fell swoop.

Wheres the money coming from to pay for it?

well apart from scrapping all "state benefits", we could also scrap income tax and fund it all by taxing money every time its spent.

ie Government gives me £5. I pass that £5 round a group of 10 friends. By the time the £5 comes back to me, it has been "spent" 10 times. Creating a turnover of £50. If the government taxes that spending at 20%, it raises £10 in tax. Making a profit of £5.


If you recieved £15,000 a year unconditionally, what would you do just for the love of it?

picketywick Wed 09-Jan-13 11:32:09

CB Yours is a good idea but too sensible for any government to try it. Pity.

lougle Sat 15-Dec-12 22:09:49

Perhaps wages should be equalised - a certain amount of £ for an hour's work, regardless of the job. The Government could conscript the population to work according to their assessed skills, so those with the aptitude could be sent to work in Law, similarly, those with the skills could clean, etc. No choice, no 'worth', just using your skills where they are needed for a national wage. How would we like that?

Heroine Sat 15-Dec-12 18:10:37

Hang on, if you lose all the government bureaucracy then there will be many government people unemployed and getting paid the £15k so.. oh yeah! Hang on that IS still a saving!

AmberLeaf Sat 15-Dec-12 18:00:51

Good luck if you or yours ever get seriously ill/disabled on £6k pa and no healthcare wobbly.

Abitwobblynow Sat 15-Dec-12 17:51:03

The economic boom during the Thatcher years and beyond was down to the banks, irresponsible lending, consumer credit etc. Built on and maybes. We are paying for it now and will be for some years to come.

Tressy, are you serious? The economic boom during the Thatcher years was North Sea Oil revenues before the deregulation of banks.

The irresponsible lending and consumer credit belong to the glorious years of Gordon 'I have saved the world' McMoron.

Abitwobblynow Sat 15-Dec-12 17:48:41

This is a therory put forward by the economist Charles Murray and I think it is a very good idea.

£15k is too high. I think he advocates around £6000 pa as a universal benefit - ALL OTHER BENEFITS abolished - and there are two provisos:

you have to buy health insurance
you have to buy a pension plan

Apart from that, you can do what you like and you are responsible for your own life. Set up a surfing commune in Cornwall? Work 3 jobs? OAPs agreeing to live together for mutual support and sharing the costs? Go for it. As people's income rise, their tax bracket goes up as normal (with a hugely simplified tax system).

I think the hugest strength of this theory, is that it takes the well-meaning but inefficient and wasteful government (bureaucracy) out of the equation, pulls all people into having bank accounts (and out of the reach of loan sharks), and that benefits DO NOT ACCOMPANY BABIES.

That benefits accompany babies is the hugest flaw in the welfare system as it is currently set up.

Tressy Fri 23-Nov-12 12:27:53

The economic boom during the Thatcher years and beyond was down to the banks, irresponsible lending, consumer credit etc. Built on and maybes. We are paying for it now and will be for some years to come.

MiniTheMinx Fri 23-Nov-12 12:21:20

why should I waste my time, if anyone hits you with anything that requires you to read and think, you ignore and pick up on a point that you find easy to counter with the same clap trap smile that you oft repeat ad infinitum.

Tressy Fri 23-Nov-12 12:18:48

Yes please, I work 35 hours a week for not much more than this. I would cut my hours by half and feel rich. Doubt it would work though.

niceguy2 Fri 23-Nov-12 12:11:37

Really? Care to dispute any of the above?

MiniTheMinx Fri 23-Nov-12 11:56:29

Your full of shit Niceguy.

niceguy2 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:04:48

Ha ha Achillea. Brilliant! Oh yes....when Thatcher came to power the unions were doing a cracking job of running the country weren't they? Into the ground that is. Winter of discontent anyone? Rampant inflation? Power shortages, rubbish mountains. Oh yes, the unions were doing a blinding job.

And when Thatcher/Tories left they handed over a booming economy and a balanced budget. Thirteen years of Labour rule (who are funded by the unions) and we're back to square chuffing one. Once again they handed over a massive deficit and an economy in the shitter.

If unions had been left unchecked we'd not only have 2 days off a week, we'd probably have 7.

picketywick Thu 22-Nov-12 12:34:43

Margaret Thatchrt was single minded as a ferret in a rabbit hutch, politics needs more vision and humanity than that. (Macmillion said she needed to "read a few books " ) And he did not mean 50 Shades of Grey.

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 19:40:27

The unions were right to be so bolshy. They knew exactly what would happen when Thatcher and her ilk came in and deregulated. Look at where it has got us. We should have listened to them and their 3 day work to rule. We are now all working 6 days for 3 days money anyway. At least we would have 2 days off if the unions had had their way.

MiniTheMinx Sun 14-Oct-12 17:29:29

Yes it was caused by a banking crisis. Caused by a housing bubble, silly lending and lack of regulation and the end of the Breton Woods agreement. Do you have any idea how many crisis there has been in the history of capitalism?

Xenia Sun 14-Oct-12 17:16:55

Lady Thatcher got our economy going again. We had a huge crash in the 70s, we had inflation over three years of 18, 22 and 20%. We had a 3 day week. We had power shortages, oil lamps and the country was in fear of the unions. She solved all that and brought us to the prosperity levels we have now which were unimaginable in the 70s. We are were very lucky to have her.

MiniTheMinx Sun 14-Oct-12 17:08:32

Well said achillea. Thatcher bundled in to smash the unions because she wanted to sell UK PLC to the highest bidders and had a fetish about inflation. She set out to create unemployment and she succeeded.

Mr Pants, why a right wing libertarian? why not just a libertarian or a left libertarian. I agree with much of what you say but......I don't think capitalism is fit for purpose. What is more, what is wrong with having active engaged citizens involved from the grass roots up in democratic organising where every man has equal rights under law. Where people have freedom from hunger and every human need is met in a planned economy.

It seems that it is only economics that divides left & right libertarians which makes me feel that equality is fine with you as long as your property makes you more equal than others. Whilst freedom and liberty is a worthwhile ambition in and of itself it means nothing when all of human history has been about a struggle for the material necessities of life. Something which under you system would be denied to those less equal.

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 14:27:53

We had manufacturing before Thatcher, we produced our own coal and oil. Now we don't. Our public services were a bit lardy, and the unions were getting a bit bolshy but she could have sorted that out without selling our country to the highest bidder.

Most people don't work because there isn't any in their area that pays a wage worth working for. In the 70s there was plenty of work, but Thatcher put hundreds of thousands of people out of work and left them sitting there in the villages of mining towns with feck all.

Xenia Sun 14-Oct-12 14:16:19

We hvae not had free markets and Thatcher hugely improved Britain. I lived through the 70s. It was no fun.

The suggestion that we have one benefit for everyone perhaps in work or out of £15k a year (which of course would reduce the sums paid to those who choose to bring up children without a partner or not living with other adults or their family) is a simple and good one. Universal benefits have worked really well. It m ight though incentive some people not to work at all which may not be that good for the economy. On the other hand if you earn say £40k a year you will not be giving that up just to get £15k, instead you will enjoy your £55k knowing that the benefits scrounger next door who also does work cash in hand is in a sense losing out.

No one is suggesting abolishing tax. Even capped flat taxers of my ilk could live with 10 - 20% tax each perhaps capped at £50k or £100k per person.

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 09:46:58

I agree with Xenia (oh dear) that having a flat fee to spend as you like is good for a benefit system but taxation is a completely different kettle of fish. Benefit is a fallback a subsistence level for when people need support and should always exist but the country can't thrive in a world economy when the markets have control because the long term development of the country would not be supported.

By this I mean things that we have government for in the first place, that provide preventative measures such as good healthcare and ensuring there is equality for all, a decent legal system, education that works and ensures that the nation survives not over the next parliamentary term but over the next decades. The things we pay our government to do.

Thatcher's free market economy is the perfect example of how leaving the markets to dictate the country's future can wreck the things we have a government for in the first place. The markets have infiltrated every corner of our state systems, from the health service to the legal system, to social care. It doesn't work, the two do not go together. We have more inequality than ever, and free markets are to blame. Just because we had slightly over-fed public services whose systems were not exactly lean and mean does not mean we should have ripped the heart out of them and allowed private companies to profit.

I wouldn't touch the tax system without being extremely careful. The tax system is complicated and bizarre, but so is the legal system but it is all for a reason. It is simplistic and slightly naiive to think that we can just 'do away with' the 'red tape' because it's 'unnecessary'. Read some history books, look at what makes our country great, and read about the things we should not be proud of. Our country wasn't made great by McDonalds, big pharma, extremely wealthy oil barons. You can't just do away with things because they're a bit complicated.

Xenia Sun 14-Oct-12 08:11:34

If everyone in work or not were paid £15k a year if they are over 18 and that included pensions we might save. I have not done the sums. If the £15k would not feed and house you yo might try to get work or families would have to take responsibility for children and parents and that would be no bad thing. Apparently my housing benefit alone would be £20k a year !! if I chose not to work. Far too much.

We already tax spending hugely with 20% VAT. We could add VAT to everything and reduce the rate if we were trying to fund the £15k a year. The £15k would giev a couple £30k and if two couples chose to live together that would be £60k even if they did no work.

Tory scum comments just make people realise how silly the left are. The Coalition is trying to deal with some very difficult issues. Most politicians for all their faults work very hard and most could earn a lot more in other jobs. I think my daughter in mid 20s already earns an MPs' wage. They are not scum on either side.

achillea Sun 14-Oct-12 02:12:19

I think anyone on unemployed should be paid a flat fee that they then spend on whatever they need. Some will spend more on rent and others will spend more on food etc depending on their life choices.

Tying that in with a tax system is defeatist as tax is the,way that we express our political differences. I see your point about taxing spending rather than income but wouldn't that just mean the rich would stash away their cash and live on a small percentage of what they hold?

MrJudgeyPants Sun 14-Oct-12 01:43:54

ttosser Rant and rave all you like but it will take a colossal amount of denial and doublethink on your part to equate the riots we saw in the UK last year with the demi-revolutions that are ongoing across parts of Europe. As for the bodge which is our system of government (complete with its contradictions warts and all) it is still 'our' system and not some EU imposed junta. As we both believe in democracy and freedom I hope we can, at least, agree to condemn the EU for that.

The point I was making that half of your income goes to the state wasn't a reference to the (now reduced) 50% tax rate. Many more than just the top 1% are paying more than 50% tax. For example, Add together income tax, national insurance, VAT & council tax and 40% tax payers (and a sizeable chunk of lower rate payers) are contributing over 50% of their total income - whack on the taxes associated with running a vehicle, drinking or smoking and the figures are higher still. This isn't about the 45% tax rate - although it is a convenient smokescreen for the misinformed - this is about a state that collects and spends so much money that it distorts the whole economy in a negative way.

...legality doesn't mean morality. Some laws are just and some laws and unjust. Some things which are unjust are legal, and some are illegal.

So what we need is a small state solution of only the fewest laws required to keep our society functioning and not some top down and draconian system which enslaves us in petty rules (Or the New Labour approach of enacting almost a new law for every day they were in power). Blimey - two things in one day with which we agree on; will wonders ever cease?

On NHS satisfaction, I've seen that poll too. Our free NHS was compared with various 'not-free' alternatives and, not surprisingly, won. Compare the stats on cancer survivability, hospital infections, doctor / patient ratios etc and you'll see we don't stack up nearly as well.

I also suggest laying off the Tory scum insults if they are aimed at me. I've stated on these boards several times - and to you in particular no less - that I am not Tory Scum, I am Libertarian scum thank you very much! I vote Conservative in the absence of a practical right-wing libertarian alternative and consider the Tories to be the least bad option of the three main parties. However, I consider the current crop to be virtually interchangeable with the Blairite brand of Labour and, much as I respect Cameron, do not consider him, or them, capable of fixing the problems that this country faces.

aufaniae Sat 13-Oct-12 22:37:37

Well said Mini.

MiniTheMinx Sat 13-Oct-12 16:33:08

No the real irony is that Capitalism creates need rather than fulfils need.

Capitalism as you rightly point out is very effective at creating new technologies and I would argue efficient in doing so. We have products and services we never knew we needed but usually the conditions can be made that we have to relent and pay for it anyway. A good example is making people claim for UC on-line when it is introduced....there are plenty more.

China embracing capitalism some 30 years ago correlates with declining living standards and wages in the west. Which serves to underline the fact that capital flies to where it has a docile and cheap labour force & government spending on infrastructure. The problem now is that we in the west have less money in which to consume what they can produce. China's economy is slowing down, China has spent billions on water, roads, rail, airports creating the conditions where capitalists can operate but they have a rising middle class who now see their prospects for continued growth under threat. I actually think in another 30-40years china will be in decline similar to what we see happening in the states and the state will have shrunk not because of idealogical change but because the Chinese state will never see the return on the investments they are making.

In 2012 china has spent a $110 billion on police and security to control it's people. (their defence budget was $5 billion. There have been between 50,000 and 100,000 protests that were considered mass incidents in recent years. People do not riot for want of less prosperity they riot for BREAD. French revolution.... bread, Russian revolution..... bread!

Why are these chinese workers so upset?

Capitalism is even MORE efficient in creating inequality than it is in producing new goods and services because those goods and services can only be created by the exploitation of labour in the pursuit of profit. They can only be sold when there is a demand to buy them. Impoverished workers can't buy and pay your workers too much and you can't compete. what way? well almost every way you can think of, we lay whole cities to waste (detriot) we degrade the environment from rivers to deforestation, we waste people living on $1 a day, we create goods that sometimes no one really needs or wants, houses are reposessed and left empty while people sleep on the streets......

The really fundemental thing to understanding capitalism is that it thrives on inequality, creates inequality and eventually the wheels fall off because of inequality.

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