Comment 41078

By d.knox (registered) | Posted May 22, 2010 at 10:02:24

There's a fairly strong argument to be made that relative poverty is quite damaging to a society (The Spirit Level - Wilkinson & Pickett), both in terms of health and happiness. So it seems obvious that shrinking the income disparity gap would result in a better society. But I can't bring myself to agree to this leveling, even though I would benefit as much as anyone.

My understanding of guaranteed income is that everyone is entitled - that it would function like OAS or GIS, not as a top-up. But since it's only theoretical, I suppose it could be whatever we want it to be. I don't have an absolute opposition to a guaranteed income, theoretically, but as soon as I start to think of it in practice, I'm right there with Meredith.

Anyway, Grassroots, too bad about A. Smith. I was going to respond based on the current OAS/GIS levels, which leaves a single qualifier with approx. $14,000 per year not including other benefits (drug subsidies, etc.), but I wanted to hear your number. I agree with you that someone can live comfortably on $30,000 a year. Quite comfortably. So I would disagree with you strongly that the GIS should be that high. There has to be an incentive for someone to work and contribute to society. But then you see it as a top-up, so perhaps our numbers would work out the same by combining part-time work and supplement.

And so what would we have accomplished with $14,000 per person GIS? How long before the cost of living increases, before rents go up, before fewer kids finish high school because six of them can band together, throw in their $300.00 bucks in rent for their room in a house, and slide quickly down into human decay with drugs and alcohol? This happens now to some extent, but since welfare doesn't pay $14,000 per year, it's not much of a problem.

Still leaves the problem of what to do with the problem of poverty unsolved...but if I had the answer to that, I'd be on a speaker's circuit myself.

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