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EU’s Basic Income Petition: What NOW?

285,041 people signed for the Universal Basic Income Petition in Europe but why didn’t it reach the million?

First of all, I agree that the petition in itself – no matter what the result is – has brought the idea of Basic Income to more people’s ears and eyes, making it known that there can be a way to fund each other’s right to have access to what we require to live as a fundamental human right. However, along the presentation of the petition, there is no explanation or proposition as to how the Basic Income can be financed… and this is from my perspective the ‘missing link’ to genuinely have people being interested about it and not merely see it as some kind of “indefinite unemployment benefits” or an unregulated form of welfare for everyone.

What might be a problem is that in the mind of the people that work, the idea of providing unconditional money to live sounds like ‘adding more taxes so that everyone can have unconditional income for the rest of their life’ – and as we know this also sounds like demotivation for people to take on a job and ‘be a productive member of society.’

So we have to first address the common fears that emerge when being presented with such a petition without presenting the plan, the scheme, the economic model that will enable the provision of a basic income in a sustainable manner. This is what is missing and I do say that it is a flaw since it is quite obvious that we are all living in such constant stress and worry about money, that the sheer idea of having to have more of your income cut by higher taxes to fund another form of ‘social security’ sounds like another burden to deal with, it would simply worsen things in a person’s mind when the whole picture is not considered, such as how paying lower wages and having to fund unemployment benefits and have ever growing poverty rates do not only affect those that ‘have no money’ but everyone gets equally affected since less money means less buyers, less economic vitality, more crimes, more health problems, more unemployment hence more stress, anxiety, survival tricks  that those with money also are affected with. However when this is not entirely presented and provided as immediate information and a reason to vote for a Basic Income, a person will simply act based on keeping the (limited but ‘known’) status quo and refrain from even getting to know more about Basic Income and its proven benefits to society. 

Another aspect is how there are no clear explanations as to how it will be funded.

Here is Enno Schmidt, an artist that took on once again the idea of Basic Income and placed it back on the table in Switzerland

Enno Schmidt of Switzerland’s Basic Income Initiative collected 100,000 signatures to provide every adult citizen with $2,800/month. See more videos: http://therealnews.com

 

We agree that Value Added Tax is a plausible way to fund a Basic Income/ Living Income, however the sheer idea of having to maybe inflate prices becomes yet another usual fear which we have addressed in the following post for your investigation: 

Will the Living Income Guaranteed cause Inflation?

 

Problem is that Switzerland is not a member of the EU, hence Enno’s perspectives didn’t make it into the petition itself either. This left the petition with a gap that was unresolved and eventually lead to people most likely not voting for this petition either out of not being aware of it, or fearing inflation, higher taxes, jobless people and so forth which in the mind of any person sound like a threat to everyone’s stability.

 

So, the suggestion we have for the European Citizens’ Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income is to structure the petition in such a way that the ‘How the Basic Income will be Funded’ usual question becomes part of the first points that one person reads into the petition. The Living Income Guaranteed encompasses a set of mechanisms created and developed by the Equal Life Foundation wherein we explain how the provision of a Basic Income can be made genuinely sustainable as a citizen’s share of the economy.

We all agree that providing an income to have a dignified living is a Human Right, however this world at the moment doesn’t operate by opting to fund people’s right to life, but how it will directly affect those that are already having the most money and that includes you and I as the people that have sufficient money to be educating ourselves and creating solutions for those that are already in such tight and harsh financial position, that it is impossible to even become aware that there are solutions, and that we all can support funding it for each other if we establish the best way to give and receive our right to life.

 

From the European Citizens’ Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income campaign’s website:

“Before January 14, 2014, we have to collect one million statements of support with minimum numbers reached for at least 7 member states.
If we collect one million statements of support for Basic Income from the 500 million inhabitants of the European Union, the European Commission will have to examine our initiative carefully and arrange for a public hearing in the European Parliament.”

 

We also suggest to expand the notion of basic income beyond the EU along with a scheme that will be also supportive for people to understand how a Living Income will benefit everyone financially in different ways according to how each one desires to live and wishes to make money to live.  And that’s why we say: no need to resort to fund the Living Income/ Basic Income by Personal Taxes – but instead investigate how we the people can be directly benefited by the use and sales of resources and public services through processes like nationalization.

Therefore, there are many ways in which the petition of a Basic Income can be transformed into a political proposal that new political parties take on as their main proposal, this way it will mean that countries won’t have to wait for an entire union to decide to look into the basic income proposal, and instead directly propose it at a national level since it is much easier to work country by country than attempting to have an entire set of 1 million scattered throughout the European Union saying yes to it without the specifics.

  

I also agree since it is our duty as citizens to understand, that if we are asking for a solution: we also have the responsibility to explain the various options and ways in which such basic income can be funded  – and by taking on this point, the reality of our current system and economy will have to invariably be considered when asking for a basic income.

We got the solutions proposed, it’s time to expand beyond the definition of ‘basic income’ as ‘providing an unconditional amount of money to every person’ as said by Barb Jacobson, coordinator of the European Citizens Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income in the UK, who gave very valid points but also diminished the Basic Income to being simply money that is unconditionally given – and that’s it. This sounds unrealistic without giving right away the ways in which is can be funded and provided as a human right. It’s part of our responsibility to inform ourselves on the ways we can contribute to perfecting this idea of a basic income and how to make it economically viable, otherwise it becomes just something we ‘ask for’ without considering all parts of involved, which would imply learning how to market it within the current state and condition of us running our lives in our current chronically-in-crisis system: we created it, so we must create and present the solutions as well.

 

Time to refine the petition to a political proposal that is backed by political parties in Europe and around the globe – let’s make of the notion of basic income a comprehensive economic and political model that can be implemented in any nation around the globe and present it as the genuine win-win solution it can be – and for this, research the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal..

 

 

Let’s continue educating ourselves and the world about the benefits of providing each other the ability to live in dignity.

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