Talking Points for Conservatives
A small government where it matters most
Conservatives like smaller governments. We normally measure them by how big taxes are, but another way to look at it is which goods and services are provided by the government. These have a tendency to grow. For example, government provided daycare has been proposed, and will not be the last service to go this way if an alternative is not provided.
With a basic income, the government just writes cheques and each Canadian uses them to get the goods and services it needs in the market. There is also no extra bureaucracy to decide who deserves a given benefit, further reducing the size of the government.Personal responsibility for all
We all love the feeling that we are in control of our life choices. Those of us with low paying jobs however get fewer and fewer choices every day. With government subsidised housing, education, job training and entrepreneurship programs, personal responsibility is quickly disappearing for part of the population.
With a basic income, Canadians are still responsible for their decisions, with the safety provided by a predictable next pay cheque.Lower income taxes and more work incentive for those that need it most
Conservatives dislike income taxes, as they disentivise work by taking away some of the value produced by that work. The effective marginal income tax rate is how many cents the government gets if your income grows by one dollar. Some of the highest rates fall on people with modest incomes as benefits they had are clawed back (Fraser Institute
). Extreme cases are unemployment insurance and the CERB, which go away when you get a job, so your marginal rate while on those programs is 100%.
Basic income can simplify our ad-hoc benefit system. That gives people with lower income lower effective tax rates and more incentive to work as they keep more of the pay cheque.A complete solution
Money is a fantastic invention. It can be traded for any goods and services, it can be put aside and used as a safety net to take chances in changing cities, jobs or starting a company. No government run program will ever cover all cases, there will always be someone whose needs are not covered.A less divided society
With the current system, low income Canadians are incentivised to vote for those promising more services, higher taxes and more regulations, like stronger rent control. This slowly moves Canada towards a socialist system.
With basic income there is still a conflict on how high taxes should be, but we would all benefit from lower government services and moving that money to higher basic income. We would also all acquire the services we need on the same market.An easy-to-size system
No one knows how much health care or the Canadian Pension Plan will cost in the future. A basic income system can be set to a fixed dollar value, but it can also be set to a fixed percentage of the government budget, automatically adjusting for long term technological changes and short term economic cycles.The money goes back to the economy
One of the problems with standard government projects is that they take money away from the economy, so they make us all a bit poorer. With a basic income solution, the money flows back with minimum friction. It should provide economic stability and grow the economy in areas that have seen hardship.
Sending the money back to the economy also means that it costs less than the visible price tag, as some of the money comes back in taxes when it is spent or when the UBI pay cheque goes to a high income earner.
It also removes some of the costs around work. If you have a low paying job in Toronto or Vancouver, a lot of your income goes to commuting and rent. With a minimum income you could move somewhere cheaper, and with more people doing it, some jobs will move too.A fair compensation for changes
Automation and globalisation are good things overall, but they do cost jobs and without some compensation for those impacted, there is a pressure to avoid or even revert those changes.
A basic income system provides that compensation, especially if it is fixed as a percentage of the budget: When society gets wealthier, the pay goes up.
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