Ontario’s basic income pilot has begun to produce some observations and anecdotes. A thorough, high level analysis will need to be done at the conclusion of the three-year, three-community trial but expectations are high. The pilot project is not quite a full-on basic income, more of a test apparatus designed to gather evidence of what actually happens in the lives of a recipient.
Yes, there is still a fair bit of naysaying and skepticism out there. Some of it from surprising directions like a major anti-poverty activist here in Ontario and from union figures. Another hurdle may be the upcoming provincial election. All kinds of right wing critters and neoliberal reactionaries are looking for power, for gravy trains to stop, as it were. The pilot project may be an early target in the election and for whoever gets into the premier’s office. In the meantime, words from the participants are appropriate.
This week we were reminded that the federal Liberal party’s bag men are no strangers to the benefits of stashing one’s money overseas. Hey, even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has a couple hundred pounds in that fancy hat. Attention for the matter of how Canada’s elites array their money has, unfortunately, proved fleeting.
Also predictably disappointing was a near total lack of media interest in a statement from a professional body of Canadian social workers in favour of recent official interest in basic income. Like other observers, the social workers have come to find Canada’s approach to the costly presence of poverty here less than effective. Along with the experience of doctors and nurses, the knowledge of social workers has to be considered with high seriousness in this area. Money stashed overseas in tax havens would seem to at least hint at the ability of this society to afford social policies that would eradicate poverty.
Congress for the New Urbanism has produced a report on the spatial hardship of living in sprawl. Lower income people often find themselves pushed outward to places where transportation drains their resources when it comes to community participation, shopping, access to employment or public services. CNU should be commended for adding greater depth to their general critique of placemaking with this document. Seattle/Tacoma is the focus of the report but it’s general assumptions are applicable beyond there.
Kudos to Vox for showing interest in the idea of a universal basic income. This particular feature covers a Roosevelt Institute report into the impressive leveraging effects that could accompany the implementation of a UBI in the United States. We’re talking trillions.