Everybody Loves Puppies
John Clarke was one of two speakers who presented on the idea of a Basic Income at the Annual Campaign Meeting of the Put Food in the Budget campaign on May 12.
John began his remarks this way:
“I have been asked to speak from a critical view and it is not a difficult task but in some ways it is an unpleasant one. It feels a bit like explaining all the perfectly sensible reasons why it’s not a good idea to get a puppy. Everybody loves puppies!”
John told the audience of more than 100 people that
“Basic Income creates an incredible potential for furthering the agenda of austerity and privatization.”
Listen here as John begins with a brief review of the growth of social welfare programs after WWII and then the attacks and cutbacks that began under Reagan and Thatcher.
John then challenges us to ask ourselves if we honestly think we are living in a time when government is going to implement redistributive programs when there is so much wealth and profit resting on the strategic imperative of pushing people into the low wage sector (a minority of working people in the Greater Toronto Area plus Hamilton have full-time permanent jobs). (Listen here).
John Clarke asked the audience “Does the social justice Premier want to deliver on her promise or is it that Bay Street wants to move in this direction?”
John thinks Basic Income is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Clarke says
“There is no question we can go to the social policy drawing board and come up with things that are fair and equitable. We could spend three days talking about a broad range of ideas. But we must look at the government’s proposals and oppose them and see them as the attack they are”. (You can hear John expand upon these comments here).
John concludes with this challenge
“We need to defend what exists and fight to strengthen the social programs. And I don’t believe Basic Income at the end of the day is a panacea. I believe it is a veiled attack and I think we treat it as such”.
John’s complete 9 minute presentation can be heard here.
Put Food in the Budget