Basic income would benefit the work-shy

By Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Published 24/06/2016 | 00:00

Deborah Coleman.
Deborah Coleman.

A referendum to introduce an unconditional basic income in Switzerland was rejected with an overwhelming majority this month.

A whopping 76 per cent of voters were against the proposal which was made in a bid to reduce poverty and inequality.

Switzerland was the first EU country to hold such a vote and the figure proposed was equivalent to €2,250, whether you work or not. This simply could not be a good thing. While many believe the social welfare payments in Ireland are too low, giving every single citizen this amount of income regardless of their contribution to society would be a massive mistake.

While every government must ensure that no citizen is living in extreme poverty, there has to be some recognition for those who work and pay taxes and who in fact fund the country.

A move like this would totally devalue the work of taxpayers in all sectors and worse still, would make it far too easy for more and more people to live off the state for a lifetime.

There would be no incentive for people to go out to work and this would not serve any country well.

The Swiss people clearly felt that this would be a mistake for their country and it is heartening to see a sensible outcome in this referendum. I dread to think of how those who 'want every thing for nothing' and who feel they should be kept by the country they live in would react if such a proposal was made here at home.

Having an unconditional basic income wouldn't be such a bad thing if it was paid to those while they were in education, or taking a career break for family reasons or to give back in some way like through charity work.

One of the arguments in favour of the payment was that a large portion of the work carried out in Switzerland is done for no payment, such as by parents or carers in the home.

Perhaps a more sensible approach would be to take these on an application-based basis, rather than paying out such vast sums unconditionally.

To have it paid out across the board however would send a very dangerous message to those who are in any way work-shy and would almost certainly require a huge income tax hike - once again forcing the working population to carry the burden.

Wexford People

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