Can you survive on only $20,000 per year?
Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has proposed a universal basic income of 20-40 thousand dollars per year per person.
“That idea would add in the vicinity of $45 billion dollars a year to the Government’s defecit. Madness…” said Mike Nahan, Opposition Leader.
WA MP’s are saying the proposal is unsustainable.
“I don’t think we’re in that position at the moment in Australia, particularly not in Western Australia. I think It’s probably just one of those proposals that the federal greens have thrown amongst themselves to debate and bicker over i suspect…” said Treasurer, Ben Wyatt.
“Well they did the same thing in Russia… and if the Greens want to go back to it, they’re welcome to it *chuckles* but don’t bring the nation as a whole with them,” said Mr Nahan.
Global Politics and Policy Lecturer, Ian Cook, explained that to implement a universal basic income, increased taxation at federal level will have local economic repercussions.
“To commit to that as only source of income is to commit to a pretty simplified limited lifestyle. and thats where it’s going to meet a lot of its resistance, for most of us it’s just not enough to live on,” he said.
Mr Cook said what people don’t get about universal basic income is that it’s very low and very basic. Most people will turn around and say ‘No thanks, we don’t want basic income, we’ll keep doing our jobs and keep the salaries we’ve got.’
“A lot of people will chose not to take the basic income because they don’t want to live with the sort of lifestyle that would involve,” he said.
Mr Cook also said the Greens proposal only ensures an equal Australia, but does not address how it relates to the idea of increasing minimum wage for some workers, and future job stability.
“Certainly the way its being presented through the greens it’s not reflecting the other view of it which is its about changes in technology and the fact there may well be not enough jobs going forward,”
The universal basic income might get some legs in the future as Mr Cook explained we are yet to see the full effect of the use of digital technology and the extent to which jobs are going to be lost. He said the more clever machines get; the more jobs can be replaced.
“At the moment, the unemployed are viewed as dole-bludgers and drains of the economy, but we might need to start looking at people willing to live on basic income as doing service to their community,”
“We see it as a socialist agenda being put forward, rather than what might well be a sound economic policy in the future,” he said.