Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Let the big lies flow

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  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    relentless dissatisfaction

    Coming from English, that sounds like a politely gentrified version of Orwell's "boot stamping on a human face - forever."

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Just the idea that everyone is getting the same means that people start working and acting in a more community minded way. It is all about social justice.

    Yes, I think attempting to boil the whole idea down to the exact $ each person gets is a good way of completely ignoring most of the point of it. It's not just about how much $ you get, but what you have to do to get them. Or what you might be able to do differently, given them. Or what others will no longer be able to do to you, given them, and what others are also getting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    To be clear, I support the introduction of a UBI.
    However, I'm a little confused as to how the social justice notion "that everybody is getting the same" is compatible with incremental testing or rollout. By definition, surely if it's only applied to some groups, or in some communities, it's not a UBI?
    (India has applied it from the bottom up, taking the caste system as a framework; naturally, castes just above the cutoff are protesting.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to linger,

    By definition, surely if it’s only applied to some groups, or in some communities, it’s not a UBI?

    It could be universal within the group or community. Which most benefits aren't. So it's not entirely crazy to trial the idea. I don't think that's how it should be trialled here, though. This isn't India. This is about as far from India as you can get on so many levels.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Nat,

    I'm fascinated with the idea of UBI but would like to read more about it. The back of the envelope calcs I've done do seem staggeringly huge, especially here in the US. Does anyone have a good primer, or reference? (I'm not an economist but happy to do maths)

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Johnson, in reply to Nat,

    In economic terms it’s a correction because our gdp has not fallen the way that was promised. So you get a significant increase of dollars to the guy or girl cleaning your work toilets or any hard low paid job like that. Suddenly they have a $10,000 increase in annual spend, they buy more, they shop more, we use the potential of a full market place to create wealth,but essentially it’s a smart correction on an economic system which has failed on its trickle down promise yet still created the wealth it envisaged. Clever.

    It needs to be accompanied with a jobs plan. 6 % is an unpromised result.

    It's time to honour the pledges of 84.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    You can't really accuse people of lying about the likely cost of a policy when you refuse to put any numbers around it yourself.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    You can't really accuse people of lying about the likely cost of a policy when you refuse to put any numbers around it yourself.

    Of course you can accuse. "This policy is likely to cost $82bn" is a truth claim that can be wrong, and it can be consciously wrong, whether or not worked costings have been provided.

    "How much did your car cost Stephen?"
    "I refuse to tell you how much my second hand Legacy cost".
    "I estimate Stephen's car likely cost a MILLION DOLLARS".
    "That is a lie".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the way Labour's handled this UBI stuff, but it is pretty clear that an $82B figure is, ah, driven by some interesting assumptions.

    In fact you pretty much can cost the preferred UBI policy set out in the Harris & Bierema paper - probably an $11k pa UBI, probably no-one worse off in terms of current benefit rates achieved by the retention of supplementary payments to affected groups, probably a progressive tax system on top of that. Children's UBI not entirely clear but probably no.

    I mean, it's not a fully costed proposal but you can put some bounds on it pretty easily. And helpfully you can eliminate claims like Labour will pay everyone $22,000 pa.

    The critiques of the paper's UBI proposal are surely on the grounds of (a) $11,000 per annum underestimates the average Jobseeker rate by $2,000 because it leaves out the accommodation supplement and is even worse for people in expensive areas, (b) doesn't really eliminate W&I and therefore high EMTRs for people coming off any supplementary payments, which given it doesn't handle accommodation supplement may well include many Jobseekers, and (c) will involve substantial but not unprecedented tax raises for some comparatively wealthy people.

    Not this rubbish about it costing a trillion dollars over ten years or whatever way of inflating it you have come up with.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Nat,

    Does anyone have a good primer, or reference?

    History of basic income Basic Income Earth Network.

    Basic income Wikipedia.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    You can’t really accuse people of lying about the likely cost of a policy when you refuse to put any numbers around it yourself.

    There is as yet no detailed policy to cost, which means that any numbers you pull out at this stage against it act only to shut down discussion of the whole concept.
    I find it rather telling that National's reflex, presented with a topic for discussion, is to act as an opposition, not as a government.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Attachment

    I’m not going to wade into the debate over whose fault the flag failure was. My views are what you’d expect them to be.

    Speaking of the flag, I've called my final judgment on it - it can indeed be worth billions.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    “I estimate Stephen’s car likely cost a MILLION DOLLARS”.
    “That is a lie”.

    I think if you explain to Stephen how you reached the million dollar figure, he ought to say more than "that is a lie" and ought instead to say something like, "no your first and second assumptions are wrong, so it was much much less than that - definitely less than $100,000 but more than $10,000." This is especially so if you are trying to impress the people listening to the conversation that you are capable of running, say, a household budget and would not spend $1m on a car.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    My $86b figure is an annual figure based on three assumptions: (1) it is universal from age 18, (2) there are no losers and (3) you can do away with other welfare schemes to remove means testing and eliminate the problem of high EMTRs. This is a gross figure, so you can subtract the current annual cost of the welfare state, $25 billion. This still leaves a gap. You can bridge that gap through extra revenue sources or dropping one or all of the assumptions. But saying "it's a lie" is just an attack that avoids dealing with the policy assumptions or the maths.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Ah. See I think it is very clear that Labour will not in fact set the UBI at a rate high enough to ensure that you can eliminate other welfare schemes. (See 5.3 of Harris & Bierema.) Instead it will be set at, I would imagine, the level of the Jobseeker's.

    Which leads to all the problems I mention above. But it doesn't lead to a $86B bill!

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    My column notes that if set at Jobseekers it would cost more like $43b, plus maybe $6b for extra support for children. This is gross of course, but you don't get to take off the full $25b because that includes National Superannuation.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    $86B-$43B is quite a big difference, you'd have to say.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Yes, although once you're above $25b it all becomes a bit academic.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    How so? There’s no reason a future Labour government couldn’t implement a moderately redistributive tax policy like a fiscally-neutral $11k UBI .

    [Whereas I very much doubt that you could practically implement the $86 billion policy.]

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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