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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!

Are British Women to Blame for High UK Immigration?

by John Brian Shannon

It’s a proven fact, men can’t bear children. Ask anyone.

Therefore, any children born in a country are going to be born to women. And before World War I, British females of child-bearing age were having 3.2 children on average which created a constant, but manageable population growth rate.

This translated into a healthy economy — all those new mouths to feed, clothe, educate and shelter — and such birthrates form the basis of every domestic economy.

In economies with a high national birthrate per fertile woman, a significant domestic economy exists and consequently, sending raw resources or manufactured goods to other countries *isn’t* required to prop up the economy.

When more people are being born than are dying every year, you have the perfect domestic economy — and exports are merely the icing on the cake — and what a ride it is when the domestic economy is growing and exports are growing every year! Woot!

That’s how Britain prospered for centuries until WWI and WWII changed all that.


Let’s Skip Over the War Part and Get to the Results

Enough has been written and filmed about Britain’s part in WWI and WWII to fill entire libraries (as it should, and to every living and long-dead veteran, thank you again for our freedom!) but for our discussion today, let’s look at how two world wars changed the demographic picture of Britain.

Women entered the formal workforce and began to earn money.

This was done because the men were away fighting a war and the country was in a desperate labour shortage. Anyone who could turn a shovel, milk a cow, assemble a rifle, or ‘man’ a telephone exchange, was put to work immediately. Some workers were barely in their teens and had plenty of responsibility on their shoulders. The British people of the last century were truly an adaptable and amazing people who rose to every challenge and succeeded. Often at great personal cost.

With most of the men away, women worked up to 16-hour shifts on farms or in factories, and still cared for their household and any children that had been born prior to the war, and Britain’s birthrate fell precipitously. In fact, the birthrate per fertile woman fell below replacement levels and the population of the country as a whole, began to fall.

No country can sustain such a falling birthrate, however due to the extremely high wartime demand for weapons and other war matériel the economy continued to function. Not as well as prior to the war mind you, but it still functioned — and apart from borrowing money on the international markets to fund the war machine — Britain’s economy remained sound. The last payment on Britain’s WWI and WWII $120 billion war debt was recently repaid in 2006.


Economic Recovery and Birthrate in the Postwar Era

The result of all this war was that there was a postwar baby boom and Britain’s economy once again began to thrive.

Two profound things changed the British economy forever in the postwar era: 1) British women were likely to put off having children and continue working, and 2) in 1961 birth control pills became available to married women and were later made available to single women.

As a result, the birthrate per fertile woman in Britain again plummeted (replacement levels in Western countries is at 2.2 babies per fertile woman) and employers were eager to employ women who were happy to work for less than half of what men earned. In some cases, women were paid only 40% of what their male counterparts earned and no one thought anything about the discrepancy — not even the women.

Women’s participation in the workforce increased, and beginning in the 1970’s the rates of pay for women began to rise and even fewer babies were born to British women who were too busy earning income to want children.

Consequently, the government was informed by industry-centric economists to open the floodgates to foreign workers (starting in 1999) to meet the demand for labour in the country (which is a different way of saying, ‘bring in the kind of workers who will work for what we used to pay the women’ e.g. 40% of the wage rate for male workers) and British profits will rise again. Indeed they did, but unemployment among British citizens rose and downward pressure on wages began to be a measurable factor.

Company profits rose, British GDP rose, productivity fell but later recovered as the foreign workers became more proficient at their jobs and had a better understanding of the English language, and domestic demand for goods and services (which every economy is built on) skyrocketed.

All of it is an astonishing success story, Britain with its wartime partners winning two world wars, rebuilding its economy in the postwar era, adding millions of women to the workforce, the introduction of pharmaceutical birth control, near-parity for women’s wages in recent years, high profits for companies and a respectable GDP growth curve.

The downside for some is that it took millions of foreign-born workers migrating to Britain to sustain growth in the UK economy because British-born women would rather work than have babies. (Just like women in other developed countries)

Which brings us to the present moment.


Would UK Women Prefer to Have Babies, or Would They Prefer to Work?

The simple answer is, if they could afford to stay home and have babies, they would. Many studies support this finding although a certain percentage of women would continue to work until their 40’s before having children.

Even in this era of cheap birth control and relatively plentiful work for women, many women would prefer to stay home and raise children. But due to lower wages as a result of massive immigration many families cannot afford to have one wage-earner staying at home to raise children.

And we all know how enormously expensive raising children can be these days.


Are There Any Solutions?

There are always solutions. The question is; Are they affordable and acceptable to the majority of citizens?

  1. Wages rise enough for one wage-earner to support the entire family and have enough money left over to take a nice, 3-week family vacation per year (like it used to be in the ‘old days’) OR,
  2. British citizens willing to go through the effort and expense of raising children must receive some kind of assistance paid by an incremental increase in the national taxation rate.

Eventually, everyone who pays taxes would be able to recoup the additional portion of the taxes paid when they themselves decide to have children.


Using a Parental Guaranteed Basic Income to Boost the UK-born Birthrate

Let’s say that UK-born ‘Richard’ and ‘Anne’ want to have children. But because of the high costs of food, clothing and shelter in the UK (which you can partially blame on high immigration loads that force-up prices) they decide they must remain working until they can afford to have children. Many Britons are caught in this trap.

Why is it a trap? Because every year they remain working, the cost of everything continues to rise and they’re no further ahead after ten hard years of effort.

Both people working + one recession = no kids. It happens over and over. Working couples barely reach a point where they feel they can afford to start a family, and BOOM! along comes a financial crisis. Bad for the baby-blanket business!

It’s typical for recessions to occur every 15-25 years. So British-born couples like Richard and Anne may never reach their goal of having children, like millions of other Britons. And if they finally get to the point where they feel they can afford a family — they’re 100 years old like Abraham and Sarah of ancient Mesopotamia.

And everyone wonders why Britain has a 1.89 birth rate per fertile woman, which is far below population replacement levels. As mentioned above, 2.2 births per fertile woman is considered replacement level in developed nations. If you want to grow the population and not just maintain the present number, then the birthrate value must rise above 2.2 births per fertile woman.

The UK has a long way to go to meet replacement levels let alone begin to increase the population!

If that’s true, why does the UK population continue to increase? One word: Immigration.

Again, the solution if you don’t want ever-increasing immigration to prop-up your population and eventually replace the UK-born people;

  • Raise wages dramatically so that one wage-earner can afford to provide for the entire family, OR,
  • Families with children receive some kind of payment from the government financed by an incremental tax increase.

For those who don’t like higher taxes, hey, that’s your right. But don’t complain when your children are the last native-born Britons in the country!

Assuming you don’t want to hand Britain over to foreigners (even though some of them are very nice) UK-born women will need to be compensated for leaving their career and raising children.

A monthly payment can make the difference between a falling or rising birthrate.

If Richard continues to work and Anne receives a Parental Guaranteed Basic Income (PGBI) of £1088 per month, it might be enough for middle class families to get by with only one wage-earner.

In this way the negative birthrate problem in the UK will eventually be righted and massive immigration loads will no longer be required to sustain the UK population / and consequent domestic economy.

More UK-born children = fewer immigrants moving to the UK

Assuming both Richard and Anne have worked since leaving school and paid their fair share of taxes, when they are ready to start a family they will do so secure in the knowledge they will be able to afford it due to the PGBI system. Richard will earn his wages and Anne will receive £1088 per month.

At income-tax time, they simply combine their income (let’s assume £80,000/yr for Richard and £13,056 for Anne) and pay the normal amount of tax on their combined income of £93,056.

If they keep their expenses low, that’s enough annual income to raise one child until he/she reaches 18 years of age.

Which is certainly cheaper for the UK than paying double that amount to host one immigrant who will send much of his/her earned money to his home country to help his or her family for as long as he/she remains in the UK.

If we’re paying thousands per month for each immigrant (directly and indirectly) to sustain the UK population, why can’t we pay Anne less than half that monthly amount to raise a UK-born child?

Eventually, Richard and Anne’s child will grow up to become a worker and he or she won’t be sending thousands of pounds sterling off to a foreign country every year (yes, the immigrants work very hard for their money — they can do what they like with it) but the UK-born child will simply spend their earnings in the UK economy, except for his/her vacations outside of the UK.

For as long as Anne stays at home raising her children she can collect the £1088 per month — until she returns to the workforce and begins earning more than that monthly amount — or when her child hits 18 years of age her payments would automatically end.

Obviously, the easiest way to run this programme is via a ‘reverse income tax’ where a person’s income, their partner and their child, all appear on the same income tax form. After filing their combined tax form, couples would be notified of their eligibility for PGBI and monthly payments would begin.

Caveat: As long as Anne is receiving any amount of income over £1088 per month, either via unemployment insurance payments, annuity payments, inheritances, lottery winnings, gifts from family members, or from whatever other source, ‘Anne’ will not qualify for the PGBI payment. If she is earning less than £1088 per month (from all sources) the PGBI programme would top-up her personal income to £1088/month.

Although it sounds expensive, it would still be cheaper by half compared to the present method of paying immigrants to keep the UK population at a sustainable level and thereby keeping consumer demand high in the overall economy.


How to Pay for This?

Britons are already paying for it… TWICE OVER!

Each immigrant represents a significant cost to the British taxpayer, (and yes, they do work very hard to earn a living in the UK, no one is denying that) but in addition to using infrastructure and services in the country just like everyone else, there is a cost differential of about £100,000 per immigrant over their lifetime.

The Home Office / Border Force must devote considerable time and effort to immigrants with some costs happening even before the migrant lands in Britain.

Immigrants receive the same benefits as UK citizens such as welfare payments, and cost the government in other ways, including police, court, and incarceration costs, higher than average security and certain administration costs that are unique to immigrants — and they displace UK-born workers as they’re willing to work for lower wages.

In addition, they send billions of pounds sterling home every year. The figure of £20 billion per year is most often used — but it is likely much higher. Forget about official statistics, the UK government (like most governments) only records those foreign remittances that people volunteer (£3.2 billion) to share with the government. Banks and wire transfer services like Western Union know the real deal on foreign remittances.

And that’s costly to the UK economy. Just divide £20 billion by the 8 million foreign-born residents in the country and you’ll see how costly ‘foreign remittances’ are for the United Kingdom.

The final note on foreign remittances is terrifying. Such payments are notoriously difficult to prove, but the £20 billion/yr number is a guesstimate. It’s widely acknowledged that UK foreign remittances may be double that amount, and could in the very worst-case scenario top £56 billion per year. And you don’t want to know the grand total of foreign remittances since 1999. No matter the number, it’s a lot of money leaving the UK that will never, ever, return.

What could those billions have done for the UK economy? We’ll never know.


‘Cutting Our Losses’ Covers Half of the Cost of a Parental GBI, but More Tax?

In addition to lowering immigration to low levels because UK-born women would be having more babies — there would need to be an incremental tax increase.

A Tobin Tax is simply a tax on all financial transactions in the country. It’s called an ‘invisible tax’ because banks and retailers simply add an internal 1% tax to each and every financial transaction and remit the revenue to the government annually.

  • Buy or sell some stock, it costs you 1% more than at present.
  • Buy a beer, it costs you 1% more than at present.
  • Take £100 from the ATM (yes, that’s a financial transaction) and the bank charges you 1% on the total amount.
  • Buy some petrol and 1% is automatically added to the cost.

Basically, whatever you purchase is going to cost you 1% more unless it’s something that costs more than £100,000 — because you pay the Tobin Tax only on the first £100,000 on any individual purchase. Which is nice when you’re buying an Airbus A350 or other large purchase.

Yes, nobody likes higher taxes that’s for certain. But there’s no rule that the Tobin Tax must be set as high as 1%. A Tobin Tax could be used to fund special projects like a GBI for UK parents only — in which case it could be set at .2% on individual purchases.

It’s your choice.

Does lower immigration, lower foreign remittance levels, more UK-born children to keep the population stable, and more jobs for Britons matter to you? Or does a Parental GBI funded by a .2% Tobin Tax nullify those gains?

Let us know in the comments!


Population & Density Charts for the United Kingdom 1950 – 2020


UK population pyramid information 1950 - 2020. Images courtesy of PopulationPyramid net

UK population pyramid information 1950 – 2020. Images courtesy of PopulationPyramid.net