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The Coronavirus Economy NEEDS a Guaranteed Basic Income NOW!

by John Brian Shannon

Well, it appears that Coronavirus returned with a vengeance this week, just as I predicted.

The reasons for it’s return are both simple and complicated, and those reasons are; ONE: In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic Western governments sat around waiting for someone to tell them what to do, and when someone didn’t, they sat some more, allowing the Novel Coronavirus to spread to thousands of people, who then infected many more thousands of people.

Mind you, once medical professionals told Western governments that Coronavirus represented an existential threat to their countries, they moved quickly to direct citizens towards healthier choices such as ‘social distancing’ and the wearing of PPE’s whenever they left their homes and only essential service workers were permitted to travel to and from work. Both modalities were surprisingly effective in reducing further airborne transmission of the disease.

TWO: A good example of the complete lack of personal responsibility shown by some is represented in the photo below, taken only days ago when the COVID-19 alert threshold was lowered (slightly) and thousands of people (who obviously AREN’T healthcare professionals) mobbed the beaches, disregarding the recently relaxed Coronavirus social distancing rules.

Bournemouth beaches, Coronavirus, UK

Bournemouth beaches under slightly relaxed lockdown rules. Image courtesy of SkyNews.

Consequently, the huge sacrifice made by millions of Britons staying home under lockdown for two months may be in vain!

And many may now catch the disease and perhaps die because a number of Britons lacked the personal discipline to adhere to the (recently relaxed) Coronavirus social distancing requirements!

Let’s hope it turns out that by sheer dumb luck only small numbers of Britons will subsequently catch the disease and suffer or even die on account of the irresponsible actions of those beach going Britons.


Why the UK Needs a Guaranteed Basic Income for the Coronavirus Economy

Due to initially slow response by Western governments (but see the effective response to COVID-19 mounted by South Korea here) and due to the lack of discipline shown by some Britons, it looks like Coronavirus is here to stay for the next two years. At least.

Not only that, but there WILL BE another COVID variant arising this year or next that may prove deadlier than the present Coronavirus pathogen. It’s typical of respiratory viruses that they mutate and those mutations often become more effective at terminating the lives they infect. ‘Nature of the beast’ as they say in virology labs around the world.

So, the economy can’t continue to be locked down and survive Coronavirus indefinitely. It needs real money to be earned, spent, taxed, and reinvested in the whole economy every day of the year.

Consequently, when large numbers of people aren’t working during the COVID-19 lockdown, money stops flowing and businesses begin to die. And that’s terrible for the economy. And it’s even more terrible for individuals who live from paycheque to paycheque as their cash and ‘fridge contents dwindle for as long as the crisis continues.

That’s why it’s no surprise that many headed to the beach over the past few days to gain respite from the living hell they experienced over the past weeks.

See how things are so connected? Demographers see it everyday.



To stabilize the economy and to prevent irreparable harm to persons during this and future Coronavirus lockdowns, the UK needs to institute a Guaranteed Basic Income

Handing huge amounts of taxpayer money to corporations isn’t the answer, as 50% will always and automatically be skimmed-off to add to annual profits and be thence distributed to shareholders — many of whom AREN’T UK citizens, don’t pay taxes in the UK, and may never live in the UK. Which isn’t any kind of pathway forward for the UK economy. So forget that plan.

Putting real money in the hands of Britons is the way forward, especially during times of lockdown, high unemployment, war, or natural disaster. By simply paying adults a minimum income, they can afford to eat, keep the lights on, and keep hope alive for their families for the duration of any crisis or emergency.

Many such facilities already exist in the UK, including all social welfare and Universal Credit spending, food banks, homeless shelters, substance abuse organizations, local charities, domestic NGO’s and foreign NGO’s operating in the UK during the pandemic.

What a GBI means to the UK economy is that all social welfare and charity gets rolled into one payments system — thereby eliminating the many parallel and overlapping programmes that were designed with the best of intentions to, (1) mitigate the effects of poverty on Britons, and (2) alleviate the sudden and unexpected poverty caused by local crises or national emergency.

It means keeping people alive until the crisis has passed (yes, it’s that dire in many cases) so that Britons can then pick up and carry on with their lives after the crisis and once again contribute to the wider economy.


Who Should Get It?

Every adult UK citizen (including senior citizens) who live in the bottom economic quintile and (a) thereby earn less than the annual official national poverty line (about £20,000/yr in the UK) or (b) any adult UK citizen temporarily affected by local crises such as flooding, or national crises such as pandemic, war, or other emergency situations that cause them real hardship; e.g. no money to buy food or find shelter, should automatically be eligible to receive GBI payments.

Non-citizens shouldn’t be eligible for a UK GBI, but should be able to (easily) access enough funds from the UK government to safely transport them back to their country of origin, allowing them to return to their home country until the crisis is over. E.g. A one-time payment of £1250.


How to Pay GBI to Citizens

The best way to pay a Guaranteed Basic Income to UK citizens is, of course, the easiest way. And that is via a reverse income tax, which simply means the UK government issues a monthly credit to individuals via their personal HM Revenue and Customs account to top-up their income to £1250/mo. for as long as they earn less than the official annual poverty line amount in the UK.

As HMRC knows exactly how much you earn due to your most recent income tax form, it’s a simple matter for them to credit your HMRC account to top you up to £1250 for that month and transfer it to your bank account via online banking. Some people may choose to allow HMRC to do this automatically, while others may wish to manually log in to their HMRC account to choose the date they want their GBI deposited into their bank account.

Some may wish to have their GBI payment deposited to their PayPal account. That should be OK too.


UK GBI: Reducing Government Overhead Costs, Supporting Low Income Britons, and Supporting Britons Hit by Natural Disasters/Pandemic, Etc.

Instead of today’s many overlapping and expensive government programmes, some with HUGE overhead costs, a single-payer system would put more actual money in the hands of Britons living below the official poverty line at a lower cost to taxpayers, and to more easily assist Britons during emergencies, again, at a lower cost to taxpayers.

How could it cost less when even more people are likely to receive a GBI, than presently receive Universal Credit?

By eliminating the many costly and overlapping anti-poverty programmes using the single-payer system (HMRC’s payments system) and by dramatically reducing homelessness, drug abuse, property crimes, policing costs, court costs, incarceration costs, mental health costs, and reducing NHS cost of (repeatedly) caring for homeless people or (repeatedly) caring for those injured while engaging in property crimes offences, or who (repeatedly) engage in confrontations with law enforcement, due to the nature of the poverty-stricken life they lead.

Read: Canada’s forgotten universal basic income experiment — BBC Worklife


A UK GBI Improves the UK’s ‘Velocity of Money’ and Therefore, the Whole Economy!

Economists call the speed of the transfer of money from one person to another, the ‘velocity of money’ and it’s a fascinating thing to examine. But to explain it properly, a short video is required to demonstrate how relatively small amounts of money can revolutionize a village, town, city, or rural area…

Now, for a more detailed look at the velocity of money, see Doug Andrew’s excellent example on the topic of how money really works, which refers directly to the ‘velocity of money’ — also known as MV = Py to economists.

FYI – All these examples are sans tax as they’re simple examples designed to demonstrate how velocity of money works.

But in the case of government stimulus — whether government stimulus paid to corporations (a corporate subsidy, or corporate welfare) or paid to individuals as part of a GBI (a personal subsidy, or personal welfare) every dollar or pound sterling of that stimulus (subsidy) returns to the government via taxation within 11-years — and the government is only ‘out’ by the amount of interest paid on the money they injected into the economy 11-years prior. And that’s why you pay taxes…

By the way, your taxes don’t pay for the full amount that the government lends to the economy, you’re paying tax to cover the interest on the money the government lends to the economy. If it wasn’t done this way (so-called ‘Cost of Use’ of money) your taxes would be much higher.

Therefore, British taxpayers don’t pay the full cost of social welfare programmes via taxation, they only pay the interest on the amount loaned to the economy by the government over that 11-year period.

Now, here’s a secret: Since I took my economics education (U.S.A. circa 1991) that 11-year repayment statistic has decreased to 4.3-years (U.S.A. stat roughly similar to the UK statistic) because the velocity of money has increased so dramatically since then. Ask any economist.

Therefore, the huge cost of homelessness, property crimes, policing costs, court costs, incarceration costs, property and vehicle insurance costs, medical costs, etc., to the economy will always be many times more… than the cost of 4.3-years worth of interest payments on money loaned to the economy by the government to solve those problems! Which means, that after 4.3-years (or thereabouts) the British taxpayer should be in for a tax break — courtesy of the GBI and a much better velocity of money factor. All of which equals a booming economy.

Conclusion: It’s cheaper to pay citizens a GBI than it is to pay for the huge costs of poverty on individuals and on the whole economy!

I love economics. Have a great day everyone!

UK to America: We’ll Hand Over Prince Andrew When You Hand Over Anne Sacoolas

by John Brian Shannon

Reports today indicate that US investigators want to interview the UK’s Prince Andrew in the hope he may have information that will help them prosecute Jeffrey Epstein for numerous charges in the United States, as if Mr. Epstein were still alive. But apparently he isn’t, having died while incarcerated in New York City on August 10, 2019.

After all, Prince Andrew did associate with New York City’s high and mighty, and no doubt had crossed paths with the now infamous Jeffrey Epstein, and Andrew the Duke of York visited Jeffrey the American financier on at least one occasion.

How much assistance the Duke of York might be able to give to US investigators is open to debate as it’s highly unlikely that Prince Andrew was involved in any illegal or unethical activities having been schooled his entire life to avoid those kinds of situations lest it bring disrepute upon the British Royal Family.

Were I one of Elizabeth’s children, I’d rather face Grendel, Arimaspians, or Smaug the dragon from J.R.R. Tolkien’s middle earth than cross their mother. You know how mothers get when you disappoint them. It just isn’t done, dear boy. Now mind your mother’s words. Hehe.

And that lifetime of living a highly controlled life is why I don’t believe that Andrew has done anything wrong in this, or any other legal case on the planet.

Nor do I believe that the Prince is guilty of anything more than naivety when crossing paths with certain of New York’s elite. In other words, Andrew knows nothing that would be of use to US investigators, so why ask to drag him across the ocean to answer questions of which he has no knowledge?

Seems a bit of smear campaign, actually. Or, maybe it’s their way of generating more publicity for their case against the (now) infamous (and dead) Mr. Jeffrey Epstein. One wonders what that’s all about.


Maybe It’s About Politics

One thing is sure in politics; If you’re in trouble — blame the other guy! Because that works. Every time.

But only because the media love a scandal and can’t wait to beat the police at their own game, their lurid headlines practically screaming, ‘We Beat the Police at Their Own Game! Now, Read This.’ Hehe.

I should say that most media outlets these days operate at a high professional standard, but they still take great pride in finding out important things that police investigators have missed or disregarded. Nature of the ‘biz, as they say. ‘Nothing personal, police persons. We know you’re trying your best, but we’re smarter and have a bigger budget.’

Yes, it’s a bit like that. But a little competition never hurt anyone, and if it does, you’re in the wrong business because being an investigator (whether employed by the police or by the media) is not for the thin-skinned.

So, if you’re a politician and you’re in some kind of trouble, you’re best bet is to always blame the other guy, proffer some scandalous tidbits to media and police investigators, and be prepared to stand back and watch them do your work for you. And besides, it’s rather fun watching the sharks circling your enemy, getting closer with each pass.

In the end, it’s a short term reprieve and you better have an escape plan that holds water — because once the sharks get bored with your political enemy they’ll be circling you with resolve. ‘Toot a loo, old boy. Should’ve taken the high road.’

Anyway, someone in New York is in trouble, and dragging a Prince of the Realm into the maelstrom might just take the pressure off him or her by distracting everyone for the next six months. So, I hope whomever it is has a plan to save themselves beginning December 2020.


Diplomatic Immunity From Prosecution

Whether we like it or not, all Heads of State and their senior staff, PM’s, Ministers of the Crown and registered diplomats of any country have 100% diplomatic immunity from prosecution except immunity from war crimes prosecution, as do Royal Family Members hailing from any country.

Whether that immunity extends to Anne Sacoolas (a US diplomat’s wife) is uncertain. But what is certain is that Prince Andrew is 100% protected from prosecution from any government. It must be that way, or every royal person and Head of State would face hundreds of frivolous court cases against them each year — due to jealousies, due to the games played by enemy or competitor nations, and due to the powerful forces of anarchy that hide in plain sight.

For example: Whether you agree with all of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s policies or not; Would it be fair that he spends his entire premiership in courtrooms defending himself from scurrilous allegations and frivolous cases, and would that be fair to British taxpayers? Of course not.

The same can be said about the important work done by the country’s diplomats, spies, senior military commanders and royal family members, almost all of whom have been tapped at various times for covert or sensitive missions abroad to protect the UK and enhance its security.

Therefore, Prince Andrew is 100% protected from prosecution so what do investigators hope to gain by inviting the Prince to New York City for questioning if they can’t charge him (let alone convict him) due to his diplomatic immunity, and what information do they hope to gain? Don’t they already have it? And if not, why not?

Something seems off.

Maybe telephone the good Prince, investigators. But his knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein is likely to be minimal as they were raised from birth as differently as it is possible to conceive and Andrew probably spent relatively little time with him.


Reciprocity Or Not?

In any event, the request for Prince Andrew to travel to New York to give evidence against the deceased Jeffrey Epstein should receive the same consideration that the UK government and Royal Family received from American authorities in regards to America’s Anne Sacoolas who allegedly killed young Harry Dunn in a motorway incident on August 27, 2019.

As I always say, ‘Every day we teach others how to treat us.’ And American authorities have certainly taught the UK government how to treat a polite request for an American citizen to be returned to the UK to have her case heard before the courts.

You said you wanted a reciprocal relationship America!

So do we. And it has (weirdly) turned out that not sending either person is also reciprocal. Although not in the way both sides had intended.

And that’s why the UK government shouldn’t allow Prince Andrew to travel to the United States (ever) until Anne Sacoolas is returned to the UK for the purposes of determining her guilt or innocence in the matter of the death of young Harry Dunn from Northamptonshire.

If the UK government bows to the Americans on this matter — then maybe it’s time for a Labour government, one that will stand up for the rights of Britons everywhere — whether it stands up for a son of wealth like Prince Andrew, or a son of utterly decent and working class parents.

Should Anne Sacoolas never return to the UK that’s no skin off my nose as the UK can live without her. On balance, that means that Prince Andrew should never appear in the USA, for any reason, including personal vacations.

But to my mind, every day that Mrs. Sacoolas refuses to return to the UK seems to incrementally prove her guilt in the matter of Harry Dunn’s death and the cost to America of that refusal should be Prince Andrew’s refusal to appear in the USA to give his testimony in the Jeffrey Epstein affair. Juste est juste!