Poverty Elimination with a GLI
Poverty is the number one impact on an individuals health. Inadequate housing, inability to buy healthy food, and the social isolation that comes from not being able to afford participation in society - make people physically sick and mentally unwell. The cost of allowing poverty to remain is greater than the cost to eliminate it with a Guaranteed Liveable Income, a variation of the UBI.
Our social safety net has various programs, each with costly administration. Still, people are falling through the gaps. Poverty causes hunger and homelessness, or creates constant threats for each. These stressors increase the need for mental health interventions. Poverty leads to desperation and increased criminal activity, which in turn contributes to higher costs for police, courts and jails. Poverty costs our medical system $7,600,000,000 (yes, $7.6 BILLION) per year. We can solve these problems by investing in what it costs to fix them, or keep paying the same amount, or more, just to manage them and maintain the status quo. We will pay either way, so we should do what ends suffering.
A Universal Basic Income going to all, or a Guaranteed Liveable Income going to those in need, based on Income Tax filings with the Canada Revenue Agency, would be far more effective in helping those in need, and eliminating poverty.
The COVID-19 crisis resulted in the CERB benefit, which was added to the piece meal programs already in place. Still, many have been left desperate for help, and are not finding it. And those that did receive CERB benefits from the federal government at $2000 per month, would lose it if they went back to work and made half that amount. Discouraging people from returning to work has been an ongoing failure of many of our social safety net programs. A UBI would not be scaled back at all. A GLI would only be taxed back gradually, and stopped, only after the recipient makes a significantly larger income. These programs can eliminate poverty without disincentivizing work.
First supported by individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Milton Friedman and Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, the concept of ending poverty through a UBI has gained traction. Economists say it is the most effective way of ending poverty, while reducing the costs to healthcare, policing, courts and jails. It allows people to seek more education, get retrained for new employment, become entrepreneurs, or be with their children in early years.
Current evidence points to economic growth benefits that come from a UBI. When the wealthiest people get more money through government tax breaks, they hoard it in banks. When poorer people get more money, they spend it on goods and services in their local communities. In turn, that money gets spent again and again by others in the community (on average 7 times) before it finally gets parked in the bank accounts of the richest. There is no evidence that trickle down economics works, but trickle up makes the system economically stronger and benefits those most in need.
Take immediate steps, with federal financial support, to increase the benefits of current provincial assistance programs to ensure those being helped are able to afford their housing, food and other necessities without living in insecurity and poverty. This would help the majority of people in need without having to get the provinces on board for a UBI program.
Move to convene all provinces in dialogue with the federal government to approve and implement a nation wide UBI that would effectively end all poverty, while simultaneously dealing with housing affordability issues.
Sign the petition to implement a GLI in Canada at https://www.greenparty.ca/en/adopt-gli
Write your MP and MPP declaring your support to stop managing poverty, and simply end it through a UBI or a GLI type benefit.