This fall, a truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached. Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear. Economists, needless to say, are sharply divided on what would reappear in its place — and whether such a basic-income scheme might have some appeal for other, less socialist countries too.
Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive - NYTimes.com (via rickwebb)
The problem with this is that they can’t afford it. The Swiss budget is 62.8 CHF. They have 8 million people. That’s only 7,800 CHF each which is clearly not enough to make poverty disappear.
The fact that the Times didn’t bother to present this simple math shows how dumb the story is.
There’s this part: “Evelyn Forget, a health economist at the University of Manitoba, has done some of the best research on the results. Some of her findings were obvious: Poverty disappeared. But others were more surprising: High-school completion rates went up; hospitalization rates went down. “If you have a social program like this, community values themselves start to change,” Forget said.”
That was $10,000/yr Canadian. 7,800 CHF is about 8,57 USD. Not too far off.