Bastian Brandt

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Universal monthly allowance for all, financed by a 5% sales tax.

This Monthly Basic Income is also granted to every child that is registered in the region but will be given to their parents until it reaches the age of 18.

It may be granted to them directly, if they use this money to pay their school-fee.

The money to pay for the Monthly Basic Income will come from a purchasing tax of 5% which will be added to the price of all goods and services that are purchased and monthly collected from all business owners.

Due to the fact that richer people buy more goods and services, they will pay the 5% purchasing tax, as well as the 5% of high priced, high quality items more often, than people with less income. This money will support every registered citizen in the region and it will lead to a higher degree of financial equality.
The monthly collected amount from the 5% Purchasing Tax, shall only be used to be given to all citizens of the region as a Monthly Basic Income, that serves as a social and financial safety net for them.

The mathematics behind the Monthly Basic Income is as the following:

Total monthly collected Purchasing Tax :(divided by) The regions population

=(equals) The amount of money that will be granted to every registered citizen of the region as their Monthly Basic Income

I am a big supporter of the idea to implement this Monthly Basic Income, because it represents the principle, that one supports all (the customers that pay the 5% purchasing tax with their every purchase) and all ( the representing officials) are supporting every single citizen of the region.

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    Oct 12 2012: Wel, there's a whole host of activities we engage in (volunteering, caring for others, entertaining others) that have value but not a price, because they aren't commercialized. At the very least we would do good on recognizing that, on average, there's some intrinsic value on people's daily actions and providing a minimal "keep doing whatever you are doing" reward for them.
    • Oct 12 2012: "Wel, there's a whole host of activities we engage in (volunteering, caring for others, entertaining others) that have value but not a price"

      Yes, all these things are good, but people still need money in order to survive. People can't survive on gifts alone from their local communities. They need money to pay for food, pay their rent, public transportation, pay their bills and for nearly any social activity. People need money, not belly dances.
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        Oct 12 2012: No, that wasn't the point. The point is, currently nobody is being paid for lots of activities that actually have value. We could put an average price to them and use it to back the monthly allowance.
        • Oct 12 2012: Sorry for the misunderstanding. Yes, this is an excellent idea! However, how would you put an average price on volunteering?
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    Oct 11 2012: Sales taxes are typically considered "regressive" taxes. That is, because poor people spend a higher proportion of their budgets on sales taxable items, programs funded in that way place a greater burden on the poor than on the wealthy as a proportion of income.
    • Oct 12 2012: Are there any other taxes, that wouldn't put a greater burden on poor people than on the wealthy, that could be utilized then? Do you have any suggestions? What about income tax? Millionaires and billionaires won't hurt by paying a little more of that, right?
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        Oct 12 2012: I notice Bastian is in the Netherlands. The tax structure in different countries is surely different, both in terms of categories taxed and what the inclusions and exceptions are. This means the incidence of different sorts of taxes will be different in different countries. In the United States, sales tax is typically considered the most regressive.

        I commented on the sales tax, because that was the scenario Bastian put forward, and I thought he might want to take a second look at his proposal.

        There are also many countries that already have a "transfer" to provide baseline income to the very poor or disabled. Obviously the need for funds would be much greater to offer a universal income transfer.
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      Oct 14 2012: Sales taxes are typically considered "regressive" taxes. That is, because poor people spend a higher proportion of their budgets on sales taxable items, programs funded in that way place a greater burden on the poor than on the wealthy as a proportion of income.

      Poor people typically also don't receive a Monthly Basic Income. But I absolutly agree, the tax has to be fair, support equality and needs to be set up in an algorithm that works for all, without exception everyone needs to be equally bound by the whole concept, in order for nobody to ever become the feeling to be treated unfairly as far as the monthly basic income is concerned, because it is for all the same, without exception.
      • Oct 15 2012: I really do want to encourage you to read the Fair Tax book I recommended above. Everything you are asking for is in that tax plan. You do not pay any income taxes, you get a cost of living prebate check, only new items are taxed. For example if you buy a used car you pay no taxes, but if you buy a new car then you do pay taxes. It is revenue neutral to the government. Business to business transactions are not taxed. That makes any country that implements this a very enticing place for businesses at home and abroad. That also helps the consumer, since businesses do not actually pay taxes. They just add any taxes to the cost of the product, and then the consumer pays the taxes. Chile has something very similar, and their economy is thriving since it was implemented. They have a wonderful website for the Fair Tax http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_faq_answers
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    Oct 14 2012: Tripple NO to this lunatic idea.
    • Oct 14 2012: The idea of universal monthly allowance in general or the idea of using 5% purchasing tax to fund it?
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        Oct 14 2012: The whole idea is flawed. It would only make people consume more, whereas they already consume too much.
        • Oct 14 2012: "It would only make people consume more, whereas they already consume too much."

          Consumption is based on supply and demand and demand is based on education and awareness. We could easily point out the dangers of consuming too much, but we are not doing that. Instead the current economic system encourage everybody to consume as much as possible, because this system requires cyclical consumption in order to sustain itself. If we want to get rid of over-consumption and waste, we need to educate people on whats sustainable, not limit their purchasing power.
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        Oct 14 2012: I could not frame it better. Now when you see the root of the problem, you can direct your energy to proper education and upbringing, not to programs such as 'monthly allowance for all' which do not take us anywhere closer to solving the root cause.
        • Oct 14 2012: Sure, but the reality is that we still live in a monetary system, so social programs is essential to have a stable society. The fact is that I am not safe even if only one person doesn't have the necessities of life. He can rob me, invade me or even kill me. Therefore it's just easier to give people access to the necessities of life in order to phase out such destructive and non-productive behaviors.

          From a strictly pragmatic point of view, a monthly basic income would in fact increase the incentive and motivation for everybody to participate in society that would again generate a higher output to sustain such a program thus increasing the quality of life for everyone, because when people feel their environment takes care of them, like family does, they tend to wanna give back. It's a win-win situation for everybody.
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        Oct 14 2012: Go on dreaming about this perpetum-mobile of yours. A self-sustaining program.

        You saw the streets of Britain last year. Were these i-phone robbers poor? No, they were the beneficiaries of state-pampering you are just about to strenghten even more.

        Have courage, my friends! Eat less!
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    Oct 14 2012: The Monthly Basic Income is ment to be basic, it is a minimum amount of money, depending on the purchases made and is ment as a financial security for all, in other words, if you really have nothing, you will have something, so you can survive and I don't believe that anyones future vision for himself, friends or the family would be to be satisfied with just this basic income plus a certain amount of laziness. Much more I am convinced that we could call it a fact that so many at the moment from any support excluded people would greatly appreciate the fair/ equal spread (because everyone gets it) Monthly Basic Income and would see new opportunities for themselves, their friends and family.
    • Oct 14 2012: You touch upon something vital that I think a lot of people who are against such a program doesn't realize. A monthly basic income would in fact increase the incentive and motivation for everybody to participate in society that would again generate a higher output to sustain such a program, because when people feel their environment takes care of them, like family does, they tend to wanna give back. It's a win-win situation for everybody.
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    Oct 13 2012: I am all for giving a hand up ... I am totally against giving a hand out. To give money to people without the benefit of having earned it is the first step in dependency. This is a march toward greater socialism and at the same time a reach for support of the hate of the 1% as Obama calls them (of which he is one).

    If this would become law and enacted I can promise you that somewhere would be a clause that would allow the government to sweep the funds in time of needs.

    A program like this would enlarge the government. A agency would be set up to collect funds, take polls of residents, monitor births, document deaths, set up school funds, assess new tax rates for the additional income, computer programs section, issue identification/entitlement cards, fraud squads, internal assessment group, auditors, accountants, secretaries, managers, directors, and thousands of other stupid government agencies that always follow. The 5% tax would be eaten up in no time and the citizens check would be a joke. In the form you suggest there would be these agencies in every region. The size of government growth would require more taxes to support it.

    ,The easier answer is to reduce "free" programs, reduce the size of government, and in turn reduce the taxes necessary to run the government thus providing a in kind raise to all citizens by more take home money. More take home money means more spending and stronger economy. A stronger economy opens investments capital for more businesses and therefore more jobs. Thus a win win.
    • Oct 13 2012: "To give money to people without the benefit of having earned it is the first step in dependency."

      Is it? Remember it would replace a patchwork of existing programs, not add to it. Furthermore it would make people a lot more independent from corporate interests and the "class" they were born in (more social mobility), make automatization and unemployment rates a non-issue and still reward work because any money you make doing work gets added on top of your basic living income. The overwhelming conscensus in the developed world already is that people would gladly pay some taxes on their income if it means they can sleep soundly knowing that if they get laid off tomorrow they won't have to worry where their next meal will come from. The US is an exception and that's their choice, but I think it's wrong to treat American right-wing (usually incorrect) talking points and paranoia of anything government and infatuation with anything that's richer than average Joe, as a serious reason for other countries not to try new ideas, after all, most of them don't have 40 million uninsured and a 106% of GDP debt...

      When people think a basic living income will stop all people from working then that says more about themselves than about what would actually happen. Like it or not but we need central coordination: even in the booming 90s there weren't enough jobs for everyone and that was decades after central coordination had cut 40% from the workweek, instituted the retirement age, created artificial jobs in bloated defense and financial sectors, people went to school longer, etc... If you want more people working you have to centrally reduce hours.

      "A program like this would enlarge the government."

      In terms of money yes, in terms of number of civil servants, agencies and regulations it would do the opposite

      "A agency would be set up to collect funds, take polls of residents, monitor births, etc..."

      Unless you live in Somalia your government already has these capabilities...
    • Oct 14 2012: "I am all for giving a hand up ... I am totally against giving a hand out. To give money to people without the benefit of having earned it is the first step in dependency."

      But what about your family? They feed you, clothe you and shelter you until you get your own place and job to support yourself. Did they ever selfishly say, you don't really deserve my money? No, because they are family they give without any attachments to it. Families doesn't expect to get paid back for supporting their children. So, why shouldn't we all take care of each others as a big family, is that such an alien concept?

      "A program like this would enlarge the government. A agency would be set up to collect funds, take polls of residents, monitor births, document deaths, set up school funds, assess new tax rates for the additional income, computer programs section, issue identification/entitlement cards, fraud squads, internal assessment group, auditors, accountants, secretaries, managers, directors, and thousands of other stupid government agencies that always follow."

      In actuality, this would decrease the size of government in the social sector. With a universal monthly allowance, many social programs would phase out because we simply wouldn't need all of them and people wouldn't have to go through the hassle of a tough and bureaucratic process filling out pages of documents and then wait several weeks for a response (which is the case today). A program like this would work like a human right and has nothing to do with agencies checking up on you.
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        Oct 14 2012: Mats, I can't speak for the world ... in the US we have tried social programs and welfare and the results have been to create generations of welfare dependent families. If everything is provided for you why would you want to take a job that would redeuce your lifestyle.

        This behavior kills the work ethic and takes away the dignity of man.

        Good try but comparing my family does not fly. I have a obligation to care for them until such time they can fend for themselves. Under certain conditions I would continue to provide support. I would refuse to continue to support anyone who is able bodied, and capable of working when a job exsists. Even the purtains knew this when they made the Purtain Ethic Law. Basically if you refuse to contribute then we will not share with you.

        The idea that the world owes you is crippling and those who contribute to those who feel this way are enabling them to be dependent. Nothing is free. I maintain .. Hand up .. No hand out.

        Governments never decrease ... once they have roots they are forever. If you did away with a social program the law suits would be in the billions. You would lose in liberal courts and would have the current programs, money lost for pain and mental cruelity, and the new program also.

        Mats we are miles apart on this one .... I wish you well ...... Bob.
        • Oct 14 2012: "in the US we have tried social programs and welfare and the results have been to create generations of welfare dependent families."

          Mitt Romney's father grew up with food stamps and would never have become a CEO without them, I did not grow up in the US but I sure as hell wouldn't be where I am today without the grants my government gave me to pursue my education (silly me, for not knowing "my place", right?). In Brazil social programs have brought tens of millions out of poverty, just as they did in the 50s and 60s in the West. Social programs have brought progress and increased social mobility and I'm willing to bet your family was helped by it at some point. Social programs are what separates developed countries from the average third world dystopia.

          I gladly pay taxes to give some kid the same opportunities I got from the generation of taxpayers preceding me, it's called giving a f*ck about what happens to people other than yourself. You started this conversation by saying you were all for giving people a hand up, but this doesn't show from what you wrote later on. Meanwhile I have no dobut you will be accepting medicare and all the perks of having subsidized water and electricity supplies in that desert hole you live in.
        • Oct 14 2012: I agree. In the US many employers have had a hard time finding employees. That should be surprising considering our unemployment rate. Unfortunately people receive almost as much in unemployment as they would by working. I think it says a lot about their character. I am one of the people who respects all of the work wealthy people do, and the risk they have taken. Everyone wants their money, but nobody volunteered to take those risk with them, such as paying back those huge loans. Rich people provide jobs, and "poor" people take from me, you, everyone. I am not trying to put "poor" people down. I just get tired of them for blaming everyone else. Where I am today is based on every decision I have made in my life. Bastian if you really want to come up with a good idea, then figure out a way to separate the truly needy from those that take advantage of everyone's generosity. It is not that we are heartless. We really do want to help our fellow man in need. There are those, and many of them, who do not deserve any help. If I were to contribute my tax dollars towards any social programs it would be for higher education. That I can see benefiting everyone. People in the US are not greedy. We actually give more to charity than any other nation. You might be surprised to note that those heartless Republican States give more to charity than their counterparts. http://philanthropy.com/article/The-Politics-of-Giving/133609 Bastian you might enjoy reading the Fair Tax Book by Neal Boortz. It is a tax code that provides a basic cost of living check to every American rich or poor. http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=fair%20tax&index=blended&link_code=qs&sourceid=Mozilla-search&tag=mozilla-20
        • Oct 14 2012: "In the US many employers have had a hard time finding employees."

          That's BS: there are much more people looking for work than there are jobs available. Of course some employers have a hard time finding very specialized personnel but the general trend is 50 people showing up at interviews for only 1 job.

          "Unfortunately people receive almost as much in unemployment as they would by working"

          You actually believe that? Do you know unemployment benefits are temporarily, that you only get them if you've worked for years and that you still lose your emplyer provided health insurance.

          "Rich people provide jobs"

          Consumers provide demand which enables rich people to set up businesses in the first place.


          You sound like some relic from the Bush era...

          "People in the US are not greedy. We actually give more to charity than any other nation."

          Also BS, per capita charity spending is nowhere near the global top, especially when you consider that people in other countires give to actual charities, not mormon and evangelical political lobbying groups.

          "If I were to contribute my tax dollars towards any social programs it would be for higher education."

          Actions speak louder than words: demand change, demand affordable higher education.
  • Oct 13 2012: in 1972 a social expirement was secretly carried out in a dozen north american cities. it was to determine the membership in the workforce if a guaranteed, assured, basically comfortable amount, and dispensed with ba respect ... they professed wary of premature speculation; but confessed afterward that the majority concensus amongst the involved social scientists was always assumed without question - immediate they defined a major component of the work force to be unhappy and the flight from said employment surely spontaneous with new funding - free; to free them - wonderfully they would relish staying home doing as they please. sadly, although the study was conducted in the 1970's - thought a time of great forced social structural analysis, redefinition, and complete rearrangement of an immensity of such utterly totally conclusive co-factoring variables ... such a massive experimental population base and inclusion of an incomprehensible collection of varied components. yet these supposedly most of wisdom and empathetic perception for society's most unerable, derided and judged, powerless, and held incontemptable - their very patrons, too - as all other citizenry - assigned a very heavily value-laden negativity upon them before they had even known they had any choices yet. the very men awarded doctoral staus in our academic learned and professional classes automatically condemned the poor for being poor, assigned them an extremely acrimoniously judgemental character traits of " ... obvious laziness, unmotivation, any drive, and sheer sloth" - and the only other subgroup condemned just as vitrioically - rarely, the working poor too weredefined with great judgement. the sad fact is that through their stated observations from this experimental data collection ... they themselves personified an even greater social experiment's most glaring conclusion they congruently proved an even uglier and brutally intimate reality of america - everyone despises the poor ...
  • Oct 12 2012: Once upon a time the advocates of a better country or world talked about rising wages and everyone having more money. What happened? There are seven (7 billion people in the world. Countries also grew in population even if their inhabitants didn't want this growth.(See Malthus and moral restraint.) However some leaders overrode this through immigration and trade. Americans would remember in Samuelson or other economics texts how manufacturers would lower wages before the Great Depression. Do we want the average person to have more? How will big brother stop this and grab it himself. Remember in the book Eric Blair a.k.a. George Orwell only suggested "Big Brother" was a military man. Would he now be a CEO in my country or yours? Sad to say - is big brother watching you or does he want your 5 cents? Just an idea - There are many ways to reach your goal,but there are always highwaymen on every road.
  • Oct 16 2012: I wouldn't mind. But how about people receive this income if they are employed? Or something of an incentive to get people employed and make sure they don't use this primarily for income instead of getting a job? How much would this income be for all? It sounds real good, but can be a double edged sword. Maybe put an age limit as well?

    I think this can help because the middle class is what keeps the economy going in the first place. If the working class has money, demand keeps going.
    • Oct 17 2012: I, personally, believe that it is a human right to have access to the necessities of life regardless of your situation and occupation. I see tremendous opportunities and benefits of having a social program like this in place. Take innovation for example. Innovation in every field requires experimentation. So, if we want to find better solutions and systems to our present problems, we need space to experiment in. A Basic Income Guarantee would create this space. It would create the space for innovators to truly focus and dedicate their time on their experiments and not needing to submit to a full-time job in order to provide for themselves.

      I also see an exponential increase in incentive and motivation for everybody to participate in society, as a result of the Basic Income Guarantee "taking care of them" and wanting to return the favor because of that. This would generate a steady high input of resources/money to sustain such a social program thus increasing our quality of life exponentially.
  • Oct 14 2012: I understand your motive and the idealism behind your proposal, but is it possible this "solution" can actually be more harmful than helpful? I would say likely. I'm reminded of the saying, "Good intentions often pave the way to hell."

    Just a thought or two and admittedly this is not my field of expertise.

    In the U.S. we have had a war on poverty kicking in high gear with LBJ. We lost this war, but carry on.

    IMO the worst kind of poor isn't economic. It's bad behavior, bad attitude and bad choices. The inability to communicate without being crude and rude. Burning graffiti onto one's body. A headstrong, combative, presence. Eating junk food. Living like rats. Buying unaffordable lotto tickets, Addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, etc. Participating or enabling criminal behavior. Having children without the means to provide support and often unplanned. Not taking on the role of a responsible parent - need I go on? Many of us don't want to support this all to common lifestyle and situation.

    This isn't restricted to those financial struggling, but its considerably more prevalent and obviously more destructive to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    So I want to redefine the "poor" as described above to be distinguished from those individuals who more legitimately need and deserve financial help via public effort. No one I know denies this need and obligation and it is no small matter. Often these people are victims of conditions beyond their control or actions. They deserve empathy and help.

    Perhaps we would be smart to redefine what being poor means and better direct our idealism and efforts where it is truly justified, or at least more warranted in terms of public assistance.

    My conclusion is that if you reward undesirables types that's what your going to get more of and it seems to be the case.
    • Oct 14 2012: We are all victims of our environment, therefore it is impossible to define or redefine a certain type of group or individuals. Some people don't have sufficient money to survive and some people does, that's it. You can't expect people who haven't their basic needs met to behave in desirable manners, that we force upon them, when they are deprived of their basic needs. This is called bio-social pressures which occur under stressed and unbalanced environment, such as the lack of money to provide for the necessities of life. This condition leads people to become desperate thus most likely resort to violence or any other type of "negative" behavior in order to get access to their needs, if they don't have any other way to do it.

      Therefore, social programs is essential to have a stable society. The fact is that I am not safe even if only one person doesn't have the necessities of life. He can rob me, invade me or even kill me. Therefore it's just easier to give people access to the necessities of life in order to phase out such destructive and non-productive behaviors.

      From a strictly pragmatic point of view, a monthly basic income would in fact increase the incentive and motivation for everybody to participate in society that would again generate a higher output to sustain such a program thus increasing the quality of life for everyone, because when people feel their environment takes care of them, like family does, they tend to wanna give back. It's a win-win situation for everybody.

      This is not rocket science, but common sense.

      This TED talk explains how economic inequality harms society: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html
      • Oct 15 2012: You contradict yourself. We are all victims of our environment... whoa

        I don't agree with that contention. The fact is many of us are beneficiaries of our environment. I'm sure if you think about it you will agree. In my case I had great parents despite being of modest income.

        I did watch the talk you referenced. I found it interesting. I'm not sure why you think his observations would change my view here. I acknowledge social injustices, and the correlations he pointed out is perhaps instructive about societal differences as tied to the affects of the differing national social systems they operate under.

        I don't like the idea of using money alone to fix most problems. It doesn't seemed to have helped our educational system.

        I agree common sense should help us come together, but this has proven to be a difficult fix. It is not as if no effort has been given to reducing the problem of assisting the poor.
  • Oct 13 2012: "Universal monthly allowance for all, financed by a 5% sales tax."

    I don't think a 5% sales tax would cut it (and Fritzie is right to call sales tax regressive), but I'm not against the idea of a basic living income for all. Since it would replace many existing programs such as welfare, education grants, state pensions, etc... it can certainly be done.
    • Oct 14 2012: "I'm not against the idea of a basic living income for all. Since it would replace many existing programs such as welfare, education grants, state pensions, etc... it can certainly be done."

      What type of tax or funding method could we use then? Income tax? I'm sure the millionaires and billionaires wouldn't suffer to have an increase in taxes.
      • Oct 14 2012: If you work with transferable currency (like today's money) some form of income tax (including on dividends and capital gains) would be the only way to pull it off.

        However I believe a basic living income is more suited to a more advanced economy with non-transferable currency. Basically the government would issue "credits" every year, their number limited by the total amount of energy available to society during that year (minus a buffer), part of those credit are then directly issued to citizens on a monthly basis, another part is used to pay government employees a little extra on top of the basic living income and the rest is handed over to a system of competing banks who can lend it to businesses and individuals (up to a certain point), the banks receive any profits the businesses make and transfer them back to the government. The government also receives credits from businesses and individuals who rent land from it and from the only true taxes in the system (tariffs that are designed to keep businesses from depleting natural resources and destroying the environment). At the beginning of every new year the credits from the previous year are erased and new ones are created, however businesses and individuals can request multi-year loans and convert their credits into equipment through the act of buying. An absolute maximum wage (say 4x basic living income) will be in place but otherwise businesses will still pretty much form a free market. Speculation will be prevented by a law that forces traders to sell natural resources at the price corresponding to the abundance after the sale. People are of course free to barter. Elegant algorithms and protocols maintain the purchasing power of a basic living income and the robustness of the energy buffer and adjust macro-economic parameters as needed, they'll also handle the occasional dismantling of the least performing banks and the creation of their replacements. A social draft could be part of the system if necessary.