Universal basic income


Sir, – Noel Whelan seems startled that Hillary Clinton was considering a universal basic income for citizens of the US as part of her election bid there last year (Opinion & Analysis, September 15th).

The idea was to provide every American with a basic income whether they worked or not and would have provided a floor against poverty.

The idea of such a basic income for all is, as your columnist rightly says, not new but it has reared its head again after the “great recession”.

Swiss voters, for example, overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all in June of last year.

The supporters of the proposal, which went to a referendum, had suggested a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs (circa €2,180) for adults and 625 Swiss francs (circa €545) for each child.

Whatever about the merits of providing a basic income for all of a country’s citizens, and there are many, it is unlikely to ever gain widespread traction when thousands upon thousands of those in secure, pensionable jobs, and whose only purpose in life is to redistribute income from the haves to the less well-off, would at the stroke of a pen have nothing to do. We couldn’t allow that to happen, now could we? – Yours, etc,



Co Kerry.