Pirate Party proposes a basic income for all

“Pirate Party Australia is pleased to announce our basic income policy,[1]” said NSW senate candidate Sam Kearns. “Technology is going to impact on work in many ways, abolishing many jobs that currently employ thousands of people. Work will become increasingly uncertain and many people will find themselves without the means to survive.[2] We have a choice as a society, do we want to create an antagonism between workers and the machines that are replacing them? Or do we want to ease the social cost of automation by ensuring everyone has a solid economic foundation that reduces the economic and social damage of people losing their job?”

“The current welfare system is woefully inadequate to deal with these coming changes,” Mr Kearns continued. “Where other parties support people languishing on the dole, barely able to keep their heads above water, we propose granting all Australians a basic income regardless of situation. This will reduce the labyrinthine bureaucracy running our social security system and provide certainty for anyone unfortunate enough to lose their job.”

“Budget for this policy comes from disbanding the inefficient, patronising and punitive bureaucracy that currently exists around social security payments, as well as the removal of divisive government subsidies for the rich such as negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks. Basic income is inherently fairer than means tested social security because everyone is subject to the same rules and the same tax rates. This also solves the problem of the transition to work problem where a welfare recipient in the current system can be worse off financially for taking a low paying job,” he said. “Despite media portrayals to the contrary, research in the field of charitable giving has shown that poor people are actually very good at knowing the most effective way to use money to better their situation.”

“Basic income is the safety net for all the corner cases our current welfare system excludes. Consider a person working full time caring for a loved one at the end stage of their life. After consuming their leave entitlements, their options are to take unpaid leave or resign. Add the costs of treatment and support, and now the carer is placed in a precarious financial situation through no fault of their own. It’s a fairer outcome for people who find themselves in difficult circumstances through sheer bad luck and it’s funded via efficiencies gained through tax and welfare reforms” added NSW candidate Darren McIntosh.

“An additional benefit to a basic income scheme is that people who wish to attempt to innovate with new ideas, new businesses or startups can do so. If we are serious about supporting innovation, it makes sense to remove one of the biggest barriers to innovation – the fear of falling into the welfare poverty trap under the punitive scrutiny of Centrelink” concluded Mr McIntosh.

Pirate Party Australia are contesting the federal election on July 2 in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, running under the slogan “Transparency, Liberty and Digital Reform (or TLDR).

[1] https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Policies/Tax_and_Welfare#Combine_tax_and_welfare_into_a_single.2C_fair_system_through_a_negative_income_tax
[2] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/researchpapers/Documents/future-workforce-trends-in-nsw-emerging-technolo/Future%20workforce%20trends%20Briefing%20Paper.pdf

26 thoughts on “Pirate Party proposes a basic income for all

  1. This sounds really interesting. I am on a disability support pension. I have 40 years experience in my field and a Master’s Degree. Sometimes I am fine to work part time – sometimes I am not. It is hardly worth my effort doing any work because of the amount I lose and stand to lose. This sounds as if it could be a great improvement and encourage me to use my skills.

  2. Watch out for “market power”: The economic fact that prices adjust in such a way that the strong get all the money from the weak.

    1. Yes, it has to be funded out of property tax.
      Rents and Home Values will rise by an exact equivalent amount to any Basic Income that is paid.
      Proprietors will be able to confiscate and appropriate to themselves any basic income paid, and this appropriation is always enforced by state power.

  3. a debit tax of 2% on all bank movements of cash / money and the removal of all taxes from the states and the Commonwealth , No one will be able to manipulate this including all and every business as the money will eventually have to go thru a bank system , the black market will also be effected as all money eventually finds its way to a bank in the end

    do the sums and you will see that this will also give Australians a average wage like what occurs in Europe in some countries as the 2 % Debit Tax will fill the government spending with large reserves for emergencies

    this is a no brainer


    kym , Independent Alliance

    1. I like this idea actually. not sure those who profit from the current system will like it as much but that is another question

      1. The needs of the many out way the needs of the few this something that the top end of town need to be made aware and accountable

  4. This is very similar to an idea I’ve been espousing for years now. But personally I don’t agree with giving people cash. Instead I’d make a range of government services free (with generous rationing to prevent abuse).

    – Free vegan food
    – Basic housing
    – Educational materials, qualification tests
    – Clothing, everyday necessities
    – Water, electricity, etc.
    – Normal health care.

    Basically everyone should be able to live a secure and healthy (but frugal) life with zero income.

    But if they want any luxuries, they can work for it.

    At the same time we can get rid of barriers to employment like minimum wage, unfair dismissal laws, etc. Now that anyone is free to walk away from a job they don’t like, we don’t need to regulate jobs quite as much.

    1. I think this is an excellent idea. Such things that are basic necessities should be available to everyone.
      I know that in Norway, there are free baby packages so that when you give birth you are given a large box (which doubles as a crib) full of clothing and much needed items instead of cash. These things are much more valuable to people.
      In Russia, women’s sanitary items are free.
      It should be a basic human right to have food, shelter and running water.
      People with families in need would worry a lot less and I believe people would be a lot less stressed knowing that they didn’t have to worry about where their next meal was coming from or where to get the money for their next power bill.

    2. It needs to be cash because of the ‘multiplier effect’. That is people with cash make choices to buy things. Their spending gives income to another, who also uses their money to make choices and buy things and so on. and so on. MKeynes put it much better when he was suggesting ways to end the Depression. It was also the thinking behind the cash handouts we got during the GFC and was one of the reasons we avoided a recession in 2008.

      1. The multiplier effect is only relevant in an economy where people need to work to survive. You want money circulating pointlessly so that people keep their jobs. If I pay you $10 to clean my bathroom, and you pay it right back to me to wash your clothing, we both keep our “income” compared to if we just did it ourselves. (And taxes take a cut each time, funding other things.)

        If basic survival is a guaranteed entitlement, we don’t need to subsidise jobs or give cash handouts to keep money circulating and people employed.

        (There’s an additional element needed to keep the system going, which is a parallel state economy to ensure the supply of necessities. The full detail of my plan is too long to post here…)

    3. It needs to be cash because of the ‘multiplier effect’. That is people with cash make choices to buy things. Their spending gives income to another, who also uses their money to make choices and buy things and so on. and so on. Keynes put it much better when he was suggesting ways to end the Depression. It was also the thinking behind the cash handouts we got during the GFC and was one of the reasons we avoided a recession in 2008.

    4. You can’t be serious. Vegan food? What happens to the agricultural land that is not suitable for growing kale?
      How can you tell who is a vegan?
      You don’t, they tell you.

      1. It needs to be vegan because you can survive on pure vegan. Meat is dangled as an incentive to work, for those that want to eat meat. Same with junk food, sweets, etc.

        Like I said, the basic entitlement is a healthy, secure (but frugal) life. I try to take as many luxuries out of the package as possible, to incentivise work.

        1. Your idea does not make any sense, maybe you are suffering from dietary deficiencies?

          1. Monkey wrenched don’t hate me, I agree with you. I’ve worked in an office for an insurance firm. It sucked. No one wanted to do anything but lust after the next pay grade. Corporate ethics suck. But I don’t believe in ethics.
            Corporations are all about shit floats.
            Work to me is fixing a neighbours garden cause she has arthritis, making a kid smile coz you gave them an apple. Investing in your community. Reaching out to ones neighbours. We are social creatures. Yet the government and media use scare tactics to prevent that.
            Hand outs are fine but the litmus test is what did you do today to make the world better.
            And that’s not a corporate thing. It’s down to you and me. Not the 3 r’s.

    5. The entire point of a Basic Income is to replace the nanny state deciding who is and isn’t worth keeping alive. What you want is an expanded welfare all aimed towards things you think are right. That’s always been the problem with welfare in the first place, someone deciding what’s right for everyone else.
      Just give people the money they need and stop dictating to them how to live their fucking lives.

      1. His state doesn’t decide who is and isn’t worth keeping alive. Everybody is kept alive.
        “Give people money and let them be” is a problem for people with debt or obligations (a hight rent after you lost your job).

      2. The problem with a flat amount of cash is that living costs vary a lot between areas and people’s circumstances vary.
        Also, any policy like this has to battle the people who don’t want to subsidise “bludgers”.
        If you give people plenty of cash, there will forever be suspicion and resentment that some will spend it on luxuries if they have spare. So there will be ongoing pressure to cut the payment to the bone, which starts to push people out into cheaper/poorer areas etc.

        Having the entitlement be necessities instead, will help blunt suspicion of abuse. For example, lets say public transport is free. Noone can “waste” or abuse free public transport.

        Similarly, if the free food is available at cafeterias and no takeaway is available, then its harder to abuse such a system. You dont get additional servings if you havent finished your plate.

        My system doesnt judge who gets to live – everyone is equally entitled to survival. But for such a system to be politically practical, you still have to appease the judging eyes of the voting majority.

        Which means you have to remove the stigma that people will stay on the streets and spend all their payments on drugs/alcohol etc.

        I’m not proposing a nanny state where someone decides what you should be entitled to. I’m proposing that survival be built into the infrastructure of a country, just like roads.

        Once the system is in place, the nation can adjust the entitlements based on the available resources. Eg. In the distant future, if more and more of the economy becomes automated, the entitlements can become more generous as the need for workers decreases.

        1. “The problem with a flat amount of cash is that living costs vary a lot between areas and people’s circumstances vary.”
          That’s not an issue, if you have steady income at all as in a basic income then you have something to budget with, if where you are is too expensive for you, you move because you have been given the financial freedom to at least be capable of moving.

          “Having the entitlement be necessities instead, will help blunt suspicion of abuse.”
          That’s a problem, firstly because it’s inefficient, if you have to pay for anything someone might need you’ve created a socialist nanny state with price fixing that will crash the economy like Venezuela.
          Secondly because you won’t pay for everything anyone would need and will create poverty traps like America where food stamps don’t buy diapers, therefore poor single mothers can’t access daycare and as a result they can’t maintain their employment.

          Just give people the damn money.

    6. You have to ensure the market behind the subsidies is still free, i.e. the person is not forced to get food or clothes from one vendor, and the vendors can compete.

      1. I’m more thinking that the entitlement system be purely government run, possibly with an alternate currency.

        It will be inefficient and you’d have to guard against corruption, but i think its a matter of national security that the “basic survival” system is completely self-sufficient and insulated from the worldwide economic conditions.

        Eg. In the event of war or embargo, you still have a fixed food and manufacturing capability that can ensure basic survival for everyone.

  5. Bludgers will be bludgers. If you’re not willing to work, why be given a free perk?!
    A tax on profits is what’s needed. If a company made a billion in profits then that should be taxed.
    The money taxed should go to the working struggling people of Australia.
    Banks making 4 billion a year profit?! Bullcrap, what does a bank do to better a persons living?
    A fee for this, a fee for that. Things were better when I got paid in a little yellow envelope and didn’t have to pay my bank 10% in fees and charges just so I can get paid.
    I used to work to live. Now I work to survive.
    Two minute noodles are my friend.

    1. I didn’t know that when proprietors close down factories, after taking all the government perks and community support and a factory built up by all of society but closed down by a parasite, and a society detooled, that that parasite was performing work.
      Can you give us a definition please, with all of your arrogance, as to what is work? What constitutes “work” exactly?

    2. I’m just not sure if the corporate parasites are actually working. Maybe they’re just bludging off state power, getting a free perk. Can you show me anywhere the corporate parasites have actually earned what they got?

    3. You said it yourself – you’d rather work to live, rather than work to survive. If survival was an entitlement, then your working income can go to improving your life.

      Think about this – we pay for convicted prisoners to be fed, housed and clothed, and yet people who have committed no crime other than not being “economically productive” get forced out onto the streets.

      Theres plenty of value in a person apart from their economic productivity. They could be a single parent, or an artist, or a founder of a startup, or even just a good friend and nice person. Surely these people deserve to survive just as much as convicted criminals, right?

  6. xyz bob in relation to your proposal what would be the cost of running this. Of distributing each package, of making sure each person has the same food etc. I believe that would cost in the billions of dollars to run. A cost that would be reduced by simply giving people cash.

    As to the funding I humbly do not believe that using the current welfare money would cover it and we would need to find additonal sums, especially if you, like me, believe that automation and advances in other technological areas will wipe out large numbers of jobs in the future. Which means the current taxes government gets from income tax would be greatly diminished. I believe to fully implement a basic income we need to do the following.
    1. Stop believing that people must work or their is something wrong with them and they deserve nothing. This attitude simply stops people acknowledging what is already happening and causes a bitterness between people.
    2. Invest in our technological future. That is actually push automation, zero employee factories, automated knowledge based systems for example the use of Watson for basic GP visits. Opening of automated manufacturing plants. And from that introduce a tax on all profit of those companies above the current taxes that will be used to help fund the basic income. That is Australia actually begin manufacturing a lot of the goods we buy overseas at a competitive price. Yes some countries maybe able to pay children virtually nothing and thus have low cost goods that we cannot currently compete with. But if we build factories with zero or no zero labour costs we could compete very easily with those prices.
    3. Properly tax current companies.
    4. Increase Sales tax, as noted as people lose jobs we lose income tax. That is going to be a reality.
    5. Reduce house prices, by getting rid of overseas investment, Getting rid of negative gearing. Increasing deposits needed for investors on investment properties. The more they need to have in cash to buy a property the less likely they are to bid too high. For example each additional investment property would need an extra 10% deposit. So if a person was on their 5th investment house and it is valued at 1 million dollars they would need a 50% deposit i.e 500k to buy it. I could see many bidders not paying that and the costs would go down. This is very important because if we do not get house prices to reduce and reduce significantly the basic income we would have to pay would be far too expensive to fund. We could also reduce prices by the government 3d printing basic houses that could be bought for around 30k. This would also bring other house prices down to compete.

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