To End Poverty in #Canada, Guarantee Everyone $20,000/year (But Are You Willing to Trust the Poor?)

This is not a new idea to Canada (or to this blog).

But this article is timely in light of a recent post that came across my Facebook News Feed about how “We all pay taxes so the government can give it to someone who doesn’t work as hard as you do.”

That misperception that people on social assistance are somehow inferior or lazy is a common one.  But among many problems with that belief, the worst is that you can label all poor people “lazy” (or all well-off people “hard-working”.)  As with anything in life, there will be a complex range of personalities and approaches and stereotyping everyone in a similar fashion is a huge mistake.

Beyond that, the larger point is that, as a society, we’re *all* better off when every adult is guaranteed a basic living income – without strings, rules and conditions – and research repeatedly shows that people with a guaranteed incomes have healthier families, improved education and workforce success, and tend to spend their extra income locally (including at businesses owned by “hard-working” Canadians who post about how much welfare offends them!) 😉

Essentially, Dr. Hanlon says, people will make the right choices without an aid worker peering over their shoulders. “Poverty is fundamentally about a lack of cash. It’s not about stupidity,” he says in his speeches. “You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you have no boots.”

We already know that guaranteed incomes make a significant difference in people’s lives – because we already do that for seniors in Canada (something even conservatives recognize.)

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, one of the more vocal proponents of no-strings-attached aid for the poor, points out that the guaranteed-income program for seniors has greatly reduced poverty, especially among women.

In politics, it’s rare to find ideas that appeal to both left and right wing.  A guaranteed living wage is one of those that has much potential to do exactly that.

(via Upstream)

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