Toronto Star Editorial: The vision of “basic income” sometime in the future cannot serve as an excuse for inaction in the here and now.”
This Toronto Star editorial raises many of the concerns about the Basic Income pilot that have been raised by the Put Food in the Budget campaign and other organizations in the Raise the Rates coalition over the past year. The Star says, among other things
“If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it almost certainly is. We won’t know exactly what model Ontario intends to test until it announces the details. But even before that it’s clear there are serious risks here as well as potential advantages”.
“Most obviously, it will take years to make significant change — while tens of thousands of Ontarians continue to languish in state-sanctioned poverty”.
“…it means a minimum of five years, almost certainly more, for the province to propose, test and implement a basic income plan. All that while thousands of people continue to eke out a bare existence on existing welfare supports.”
“The stark reality of that is shoddy housing, bad health, poor nutrition, social exclusion and petty crime — all the social ills that come with entrenched poverty. The government doesn’t need a five-year project to figure that out.”
The Toronto Star editorial also rightly points out the risks of getting the ‘wrong’ kind of basic income.
“That’s because basic income is such a fluid concept that it could lead to a more generous, more efficient and more modern system. Or it could result in its opposite — a meaner, more constrained approach that puts public services at the mercy of the marketplace. It all depends on how it’s designed and what the ultimate goals are”.
The Star editorial reaches the same conclusion as we and others in the Raise the Rates Coalition have demanded in the last year.
“Most importantly, government cannot set up a pilot plan and then turn away. The vision of “basic income” sometime in the future cannot serve as an excuse for inaction in the here and now.”
In less than ten days Premier Wynne will release the next budget and we will see whether she recognizes the need to raise the rates significantly for everyone – or whether she intends to continue to assign tens of thousands of people on social assistance to the misery of inadequate incomes.
Put Food in the Budget