It's noteworthy that Andrew Coyne has come out in support of an Annual Basic Income Program. He admits that present studies are highly speculative. Nonetheless,
the results, speculative as they are, are intriguing. The PBO puts the cost of a nationwide rollout of the Ontario program, guaranteeing every adult of working age a minimum of $16,989 annually ($24,027 for couples), less 50 per cent of earned income — there’d also be a supplement of up to $6,000 for those with a disability — at $76.0 billion.
What would it cost? That, too is highly speculative:
The PBO estimates the cost of current federal support programs for people on low-income (not counting children and the elderly, who already have their own guaranteed income programs) at $33 billion annually. Assuming a federal basic income replaced these leaves a net cost of $43 billion. That’s still a lot — one seventh of current federal spending.
However, there would be savings in other areas:
But suppose we stick with the Ontario model. If implemented, it would replace Ontario Works (social assistance) and the Ontario Disability Support Program. The total savings: about $8 billion. Supposing equivalent savings were achieved in the other provinces — and federal transfers reduced accordingly — that would knock about $20 billion off the national pricetag.
These savings are based on the premise that the provinces would buy into the scheme. And, given provincial turf wars -- currently on display in the Kinder-Morgan standoff -- it's hard to imagine some kind of national unanimity. However, medicare faced the same hurdles.
Something tells me that if Doug Ford becomes the next premier, Ontario's basic income pilot is dead. But it is interesting to see that Conservatives like Hugh Segal and Andrew Coyne have come out in support of a National Basic Income.
Each man, however, is not currently revered in Conservative circles.