You know the concept of a Citizen's Basic Income? Personally, I instinctively like the idea. It is attractive on a lot of levels, but I think that it has a number of implementation problems - common objections, specifically:
- You would need a much more secure way of proving that you are a unique indivisible person who is a citizen. It would need a damn good ID scheme
- It would make populations less open to the idea of immigration - something that is good for the economy, not to say a decent thing to be relaxed about. Imagine the Daily Express headlines...
- That it would be a hard sell to voters - the idea that Our Taxes Are Being Dished Out To The Feckless.
- Partly as a function of 1-3 above, but also because of bureaucratic resistance (bean counters have mortgages as well, y'know!) and the logistical problems of getting from here to there, the whole idea will forever be a non-starter, so why bother advocating it in the first place?
No-one but an utter charlatan or a fundamentalist (and, therefore, anti-democratic) libertarian can now deny that much more generous handouts to much less deserving people are necessary to stabilise society. Surely it would be easier to make the moral case now than ever before?
One of the more attractive bits is that CBIs can be sneaked in by providing everyone a share in profitable national assets. North Sea Oil could have helped here, but that ship has sailed, it seems. But what about the dividends from all of these bits of the banks that we've apparently bought (we have bought banks, haven't we? I've got that right, haven't I?) in order to pay everyone a dividend towards the CBI.
Oh, yes, one other thing: You know those flashing screens on QI when panelists offer common misunderstandings as answers?
I'm trying to work out how to code this blog so that it screams and flashes whenever anyone (apart from Pete who makes jokes about them) puts the word 'voucher' in the comments box.
That, and (for this post only) any jokes playing on the word 'feckless'.