Saturday, August 04, 2018

A Dangerous Combination

As part of its march to a brave new world for Ontario, the Ford government cancelled the Basic Income Pilot Project. Catherine Mah, of Dalhousie University, writes:

The Ontario Progressive Conservative government’s decision is ignorant of the considerable thought and analysis on basic income as a promising policy solution for improving lives and strengthening the economy, ideas that come from the right and the left.
One of the best proxies that we have for understanding the effects of a basic income policy from an economic perspective in Canada is the guaranteed income received by seniors.
As part of the PROOF program of research led by Valerie Tarasuk at the University of Toronto, we have been studying the effect of policies and public programs to address food insecurity and its detrimental effects on health.
At the University of Calgary, Herb Emery and Lynn McIntyre studied the effect of a basic income guarantee on seniors’ food insecurity and health. Remarkably, they found that food insecurity rates drop by half at people’s 65th birthday as a result of seniors’ income supports.
The research team also compared seniors’ guaranteed income with conditional income assistance programs. They found that the income guarantee is beneficial to both physical and mental health, functioning in a way similar to wages.

Not only that, a basic income serves as an economic stabiliizer:

As Emery and McIntyre stated in their policy paper:
What is often not well understood is the efficiency case for addressing the root causes of poverty, and that poverty itself is a symptom of market failure. Symptoms of poverty, such as homelessness or household food insecurity, in this context, are not solely the product of an inadequate income level, but instead a lack of consumption insurance to address budget shocks — unexpected decreases in income or purchasing power of income. The ability to buffer against budget shocks, to maintain consumption levels when the budget is unexpectedly constrained, is a product of a surplus in the budget or the adjustable discretionary expenditure, and access to credit or assets.
In other words, people with more income don’t just have more money to spend. They can also maintain their purchasing power through hard times. They can stay their course as consumers —and keep spending, in the economy —even when unexpected household expenses arise, as they always do.

The Fordians are a number of things. But they're not bright. The economy has changed; however, their economic thinking hasn't.  “We want to get people back on track and be productive members of society where that’s possible," Minister of Children, Community and Social Services said after cancelling the project. 

It's the same kind of thinking that motivated the government to cancel Ontario's sex ed curriculum and return to the 1998 document.

There are two things that are painfully obvious: The Fordians are committed and dumb. That's a dangerous combination.

Image: Kawartha 411


Anonymous said...

Oh no! The people who voted for the Lying Face-Eating Leopard Party are getting their faces eaten! "We thought you would eat other people's faces," they cry, accompanied by the world's smallest violin.


Owen Gray said...

It is truly mystifying why voters can't recognize a con man who acts so shamelessly, Cap.

Lulymay said...

It seems to me that most of these folks who voted for Dug Fraud and his faux Cons were so conditioned to the notion that they must deeply despise Kathleen Wynne (for whatever reason) and therefore must vote against their own self-interest and give the keys to someone who in turn has no respect for them!

We do indeed live in a mixed up world, Owen.

Owen Gray said...

What's truly amazing, Lulymay, is how passionately people will vote against their own self interest.

Rural said...

From a post here in Sept 2016
Toby said... In a healthy society the misfits get laughed off stage. That we are now seeing so many misfits come to the fore should tell us that there is something very wrong. Think of Ford and Trump as canaries in their respective coal mines.
Owen Gray said...
A very salient point, Toby. Ford and Trump tell us more about ourselves than they do about themselves.
Hmmm, Aint that the truth Owen! Keep you respirator handy.....

The Mound of Sound said...

GDP is no longer an acceptable means of judging economic health because it has become so untethered from benefit to society. "Paid work" is a far more useful measure, one that we will have to adopt as we progress into this age of artificial intelligence and robotics. Tax policy will have to focus on income as a function of social benefit. If you're making money from activity that generates paid work that income should be taxed at a more favourable rate than money that instead goes directly into some rich git's offshore tax haven.

It's a full circle argument that can be found expressed in Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal speech from 1910.

Owen Gray said...

It's always been true that we get the government we deserve, Rural. These guys are living on the same planet we all live on -- although sometimes I question that fact.

Owen Gray said...

We have once again become a society populated by a few "malefactors of wealth" -- to use Teddy's term, Mound. We have forgotten that an economy is supposed to work for everyone -- not just the rich few at the top of the pyramid.