In recent years, the idea of providing people with a “basic income” to allow everyone to meet their basic needs has moved from the margins to the mainstream of income policy discussions in Canada and around the world.
Long promoted by anti-poverty activists, it’s an idea that’s also recently been championed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla’s Elon Musk, and US presidential hopeful Andrew Yang as a solution to the emerging workplace challenges of increasing levels of precarious employment, job loss due to automation, and the rise of the gig economy.
With such strange bedfellows seemingly supporting the same policy prescription, Parkland Institute today released a new report unpacking the merits of the idea.
In A Basic Income for Alberta, co-authors Alison McIntosh and Rebecca Graff-McRae provide an overview of basic income with a focus on the Albertan context. They unpack how motives and opportunities for basic income vary significantly across the political spectrum, and review the mechanisms by which different scholars recommend providing a basic income, including through tax measures, negative income tax, and other financial tools.
“The main thing our research reveals is that a basic income could form part of a robust social safety net,” McIntosh explains. “Basic income would be a valuable and tangible support for people experiencing poverty and precarious work. However, its success in ensuring long-term prosperity for Albertans hinges on it being part of a suite of programs which also includes things such as a progressive tax system, adequate funding for public services, and a just transition and economic diversification plan that puts workers and communities first.”
Be sure to also check out the recently released videos from the November 2019 Parkland Institute Conference, Populism and Its Discontents, on our YouTube channel.
Finally, a friendly reminder that Parkland Institute’s 14th Annual Gala Dinner & Silent Auction, our most important (and only) fundraising event of the year, is happening on February 27 at the Chateau Lacombe in Edmonton. You can get details and book your ticket or table on our website or by calling 780-492-8558. We hope you’ll be able to join us!
Yours for a better Alberta,
The Parkland Team
(Alison, Ricardo, Trevor, Sharlene, Scott, and Ian)