An Unconditional Basic Income for Canada?
Some Comments on the Historical Contexts
1. The Governance of the Economic System
Imaging Life-Cycle Needs and Income Security Beyond Labour Market Provision
The Logic of Including Basic Income in Proper Macro-Economic Policy
Evidence from the Unemployed
II The Historical Sweep as National Policy Periods
1867-1939: The First National Policy Period
1939-1974: The Second "Progressive" Policy Period
UN UDHR; The Federal Commitment
1974-to-date: The Third National "Neo-Conservative Policy Period
Rolling Back Social Security Progress
The Guaranteed Income Proposal of the Macdonald CommissionWhose Needs? Those in Poverty or those in Business?
III A Last Word: Optimism is Required
© Dr. W.R. Needham
Director, Canadian Studies
St Paul's United College
University of Waterloo, N2L 3G5
An Unconditional Basic Income for Canada? Some Comments
on the Historical Contexts
"Changes that are imposed from the top may or may not be good ideas, but even if they have some good features, without cooperation they are unlikely to yield their full potential benefits, and may well be lost. Furthermore, in an increasingly polarized discourse, one may often find both parties talking, but neither listening; the same words can come to mean different things to different people. Without some effective forums of communication, it can become increasingly difficult for people to realize that they have, in fact, interests in common. To build a fruitful dialogue, both parties need to be able to get beneath each others rhetoric and that takes time and constructive interaction."
The Governance of the Economic System
The major historical, political and social issue within which any possible implementation of a guaranteed income for Canadian citizens is set is that of the effective governance of Canada.
Specifically, the issue is the fact that the controlling governance of the economic system in which Canadians, and indeed, the citizens of other ostensibly democratic nations find themselves, is only superficially democratic and has not and cannot serve their fullest life-cycle needs as a social system. This fact expresses the contradiction between capitalism as an economic system that must and does limit human rights, on the one-hand, and, on the other hand, the struggle to create a social system that is a full democracy of human rights. Thus the root cause of unemployment, poverty and other social problems are to be found in the operation of the economic system and capitalisms effective subjugation of democracy and human rights.
The economic system of capitalism is hierarchically governed by a minority who constantly pursue their private interests. While Canadas parliamentary governments are democratically elected Canadas history is replete with illustration of corporate control of the design and implementation of public-sector policies that favour the corporate sector and that may have had adverse implications for Canadians and the social stability of Canada.
Michael Walzer perhaps best makes the point about corporate control.
" corporations arethis is now a commonplace of American political scienceprivate governments; their transactions are significantly political in character, taking the form of command and obedience rather than free exchange; their owners and agents make decisions that determine the costs and risks that other people must live with. It is the experience of private governments that prompts the internal opposition of unions and the external interventions of the state. The unions represent men and women directly subject to corporate power; the state represents men and women radically affected by corporate decisions. But these two forms of representation are only sometimes effective, and effective then only to a limited degree, because corporate power at its core remains exempt from the rules of democracy. justice requires we explore systematically the alternatives to private government: public ownership and workers control and combinations of the two."
Effectively, the form of governance found in our economic institutions means that ordinary citizens in Canada and other ostensibly democratic states, are generally regarded as just one of the means to be used by the systems various managers. The labour they employ and the property in the means of existence that businesses own and/or control, are jointly used to produce various levels of output in the systems industrial and service sectors. The technological changes they introduce constantly alter technical production and the associated social relations of capital and labour. Technological changes are introduced as a means by which labour costs can be reduced by permitting firms to replace workers with machines. This has the effect of making each worker fearful of being the next person in line to lose her or his job.
Those who are lucky enough to find jobs and remain in employment are paid either a wage or a salary. From the incomes so derived employees attemept to cover the costs of their own and their respective familys maintenance, and development. Since, however, the wage paid may not be a living wage some employees, the working poor, earn incomes inadequate to their familys needs. When the system fails or slumps, both public and private sectors may be found to shirk any recognition that they jointly share the social responsibility to introduce policies that would generate enough jobs for those who are able and willing to work, and that would, if implemented, generally, move the economy towards full-employment. Such systemic failures are often associated with layoffs of skilled employees from both public and private sector institutions. In consequence unemployment and poverty result even for people who are skilled, able, and anxious to work.
So to the extent the system fails to provide enough jobs and incomes, in both private and public sectors, there is the implication that income maintenance programs must be provided by the state for all those whose incomes are non-existent or, for what ever reason, have incomes that are inadequate to cover what are generally regarded as conventional human needs.
Imaging Life Cycle Needs and Income Security Beyond Labour Market Provision:
With each birth the human journey has a point of entry. With each death a life-journey has a point of exit. Both entry and exit have associated costs and benefits which differentially accrue to each of us. Between the entry date and exit date each person experiences a life journey. Each life-journey requires that needs are met on a day-to-day basis for the obvious reason that people must eat, drink, sleep, be clothed, housed, educated, and given medical treatment when they are sick.
Though individuals are equal citizens their respective life-journeys may differ greatly. Some are favoured with the circumstances of their birth, some are not. Some inequalities are created by the system and favour some, but not others of us. There is a tendency for those whose luck at birth, whether favourable or unfavourable, to find that their luck compounds and persists creating favourable or unfavourable placement for them in the educational system, in employment and in general position in society. These seem to be unwarranted and unjustifiable inequalities for otherwise equal citizens. A guaranteed annual income would work towards making each persons life-journey fairer, and more consistent with the notion of equality of opportunity and life chances for equal citizens than would otherwise be the case.
Within the totality of our life-journeys there are those who are able to find work. To the fortunate who are employees the work they are able to access brings them incomes that may provide for the purchase of needed day-to-day or life-cycle material goods and services. Some have more income than they need for these purposes, others have less. These inequalities arise because of differences in the rates of pay and hours worked that are associated with the different jobs that are made available. In consequence, even among the employed there are many who might be called the working poor. Additionally, in all periods of time, there are those who are not employed because they are too young or too old. And there are those who cannot work as a result of disabilities. And in our modern period increasingly we find there are some men and women, able and willing to work, who are unemployed because the inherent dynamics and technologies of the economic system have proved inadequate. Beside the harsher realities of some peoples lives there are people who do not work, do not have to work because they are able to enjoy unearned incomes which come to them automatically -- derived from and within the system from property ownership entitlements.
Canadians ostensibly enjoy equal rights of citizenship under the Constitution Act of 1982 and the Bill of Rights and Freedoms outlined in Section 34 of that Act. But those rights are only civil rights and as such do not provide equal economic rights of citizenship. But without both there cannot be full equality rights of citizenship.
The economic system is driven by the search for and realization of profits. Profit realization is assisted by technological and organizational changes. Those changes open horizons for some and close horizons for many others. For those for whom the system closes horizons the operation of the system is often the cause of unemployment, poverty, starvation, ill-health, shortened lives and death. Neo-conservative economic and social policy accentuates the problems caused by the system.
In 1999, there is an assembly of such skeletons found in our collective closet. These include: unemployment, poverty, (including child poverty) hunger, starvation, homeless street people, both young and old. The long list includes the specter of the homeless dying on the streets and under highway over-passes and on the grates of the hot air vent located, of all places, near Queens Parks legislative buildings in Toronto, Ontarios capital city. The list includes highly educated ready and able-to-work high school, college and university graduates for whom jobs are not available and borrowed education-related debt is rendering bankrupt in consequence. The stories are bleak and shameful. We Canadians might well say of ourselves and of Canada what has been said of the United States:
"What an irony. Instead of the USA [and Canada] becoming a model to all other nations of prosperity, Freedom from Fear and Want Economic practitioners are turning the USA [Canada] into an emulator of models of poverty and depravity, such as the nations of mid Africa are, with a minority of well-to-do and a majority of starving, destitute people "
These inequalities have been summarized by Adam Smith in the words: "where ever there is great property, there is great inequality. The affluence of the rich supposes the idigence of the many."
But others of us seem rather content to blame the victims of the systems operation as responsible for the lottery dealt to them in their life-journey. One commentator, mocking the "blaming the victim" argument has put it in the following way:
" you can insult the poor all you want. All they have are their votes and if they stay home they dont even have that turnout is lower among UPs (unfortunate people), their wishes can be ignored without any peril to people running for office [as right wing conspiracy theory has it] All the problems of the world today are the result of unfortunate people (UPs) conspiring to remain unfortunate or to become even more unfortunate in the future. And that means it is incumbent upon the fortunate people, the FPs, people who actually make money from interest rates, to ignore the unfortunate people, so as not to be pulled down to their level. Whats next: Are sick people to blame for the problems of the health system? Are victims to blame for crime? it is once again time to make millionaires share some of the blame with welfare recipients for the plight in which we find ourselves."
Nevertheless, there is room for some optimism, at least in the sense that the logic of the case for a basic income is supported across the political spectrum including many of those who have benefited the most from the economic system and from the application of neo-conservative economic and social policy. For example, in the United States the organization calling itself Responsible Wealth has said
"We are business leaders and wealthy individuals, among the top five percent of income earners and asset holders in the US, We are concerned about the rise in power of large corporations and the growing gap between the rich and everyone else. We recognize that assets play an essential role in building wealth and prosperity. However, we believe there is an overemphasis on the rights and rewards of private capital. Those of us with large amounts of capital are able to pass on fortunes from generation to generation and multiply our wealth through passive investing, while around us one in four children are born into poverty, and many have little hope of improving their financial situation. "We believe that in a healthy economy workers should earn fair compensation and all citizens should have the opportunity to earn, save, and be economically secure. We believe that civil rights and economic rights are inseparable; we will never have one without the other. We believe that economic inequality and the scape-goating of welfare recipients and immigrants are dividing our nation and undermining our collective sense of community. By continuing to separate ourselves economically, we are contributing to a society in which people at one end of the spectrum are walled off in gated communities, while many at the other end are behind bars. As people with wealth, we feel a responsibility to speak out against the rules that have been written to benefit us and to speak in favor of policies that benefit the long-term common good of all. [Responsible Wealth quotes Martin Luther King, Jr.]: "Philanthropy is [and compassion] commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist [and those who only say they feel compassion] to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary."
The point is, of course, that the economic system, though it can be technically efficient, in fact has unused physical capacity, and an abundance of unemployed human beings at hand. Left to itself, the economic system does not and cannot possibly (it would be inconsistent with the capitalist systems definition) assure the delivery of the goods and services that are needed by those in need. It cannot deliver enough jobs. To rely on the economic system alone is to be dependent on the uncertainties of the inadequate charity found in, for example, food-banks. That the economic systems methods, institutions and devices are clearly blind to human life-cycle needs can not be clearer, for the system has little or nothing to provide for many Canadians.
In consequence of their widespread need Canadians must find the collective will to re-design Canadas social system so that it will more fairly distribute material goods and services. They must do what the economic system was not designed to do and provide a proper policy for growth and distribution that is fair in the treatment of all Canadians. The proper policy will be one to provide to each Canadian citizen the income security associated with a guaranteed annual income, or unconditional basic income.
The Logic of Including Basic Income in Proper Macro-Economic Policy:
Examine the logic associated with designing a social system that is fairer and that makes use of the existing productive potential of the economy and society. The logic has in fact been around at least since the depression of the 1930s and is embedded in the net-work of social programs that have been created in Canada. The logic is that of the Keynesian argument found in introductory text books in economics. In being fairer, in moving towards justice and away from systemic injustice, the provision of income maintenance programs to cover the basic needs of all citizens provides a boost to aggregate demand and expenditure. In turn these expenditures improve economic and social efficiency, by boosting employment and reducing the numbers of people who are unemployed. In this process of, in effect, restructuring to meet the real needs of the people the profitability of main-street businesses in our many communities is greater than would otherwise be the case. So greater systemic fairness implies greater profitability and efficiency for the economic system.
Moreover, with the economy operating at a higher level of economic activity the tax revenues so necessary for government to finance social security programs, including income maintenance, will increase. This will happen simply because to cover their basic needs low income people have to spend all they get as transfer income from governments and, if they are employed, as earned income from businesses. In short, everything that they and all others spend creates a multiplier expansion of income that turns up in the tills and coffers of business and governments. These are sure processes that illustrate the validity of that old adage that "money is a lot like manure" in the sense that the more that money and manure are spread around the more productive or effective they can be.
But, as suggested before, the fairness logic does not seem to be accepted by all. Instead, in the notion that force or coercion (unfairness) is needed in business practice so as to generate the profit that is sought, cutbacks in social welfare expenditures have been pursued. Cutbacks have multiple contractionary effects on output and employment and result in unemployment and poverty. The progressive justice of the Keynesian logic is replaced by the injustice of neo-conservative political ideology. In the context of basic income the neo-conservative ideological argument seems to be that people must be induced or forced to work. This is based on the presumption that workers would rather not work when provided with income supports outside what they can earn through labour-market employment. This presumption seems to underlie the persistent and unwarranted drone that the incentive to work will be weakened if each citizen is guaranteed a basic and unconditional level of annual income. The truth of the matter is otherwise. Workers would rather have a job and be exploited by capitalists than not be exploited because they are unemployed.
The presumption may also underlie the notion of work-fare, or welfare for the unemployed only if they also do some work. But it is interesting to note that those on the neo-conservative side who argue for work-fare are implicitly granting that the economic system alone is inadequate to meet either the provision of jobs at full-employment or adequate incomes. Too, they may wish to lower labour costs of private business in so far as work-fare recipients are paid by governments. To the extent they are successful in that the private costs of business are socialized.
Is there evidence to support the claim that workers want to work even when provided by income supports?
Evidence from the Unemployed:
Everyday facts seem to put the lie to conventional rhetoric. One fact is that plant layoffs are comprised of people who continue to want to work. They have not chosen to be unemployed through layoffs and/or plant closures. A related fact is found in the large number of citizens who are willing to work and who regularly turn out and apply for small numbers of job openings when, and indeed even before, new job openings are officially announced.
Consistent with these facts, empirical studies undertaken in Canada and the United States, suggest that the desire for a job, is not significantly weakened by income maintenance and the tax-cash transfer system that is used to support incomes at more adequate levels. Derek Hum and Wayne Simpson concluded their study of data from the Manitoba Mincome Experiment (their study also included and was buttressed by a comparative analysis of related United States studies) by saying that: "individuals and families are likely to be fairly insensitive to changes in the tax-transfer system facing them." In other words they do not need incentives to work, and the incentive to work is not affected by social provision.
Further, a Canadian study published in March 1998 reported that individuals receiving Canadian income assistance, or IA, " were reluctant to remain on IA longer just to gain eligibility for a generous earnings supplement made available to those who find full-time jobs because they disliked welfare and because it was difficult to find work." The earnings supplement would have been made available to eligible applicants in British Columbia and New Brunswick under what was called SSP [Self-Sufficiency Project].
The SSP report suggested that " working poor people would be unlikely to enter the welfare rolls and wait the required year [on IA] just to [in this way] qualify for an [SSP] earnings supplement" [and that] concerns about entry effects [into new social programs as opposed to work] may be somewhat overstated." This also seems to imply that income support programs and a guaranteed annual income would not destroy the incentive to work.
The SSP study also provided anecdotal accounts of the voices of the unemployed who were taking part in the study. Generally their stories, for example: "I did temp work in between interviews; I scoured the papers. Everyday was a workday trying to find a job" are consistent with people wanting to work and not needing any incentive to do so.
So, the evidence from unemployment statistics, statistical analysis and anecdotal accounts are consistent in indicating that people want work. Therefore, it is income yielding work that is wanting not the people. It appears incontestable that those who argue that supplements to earned incomes destroy work incentives are in effect, whether intentionally or unintentionally, shifting the responsibility for unemployment, poverty and its related effects, including starvation and death, from the operations of businesses and governments, to the individual victims of the joint policies of business and governments.
The empirical evidence and anecdotal accounts all suggest that the emphasis on basic income that is given here has logic on its side. It is also suggested that in tandem with an unconditional basic income that job creation by the public sector is a policy route that is long over due. Moreover, implementation of a basic income would itself be a job creation policy independent of, complementary with, and contributory to the success of any direct job creation policy undertaken by the state and/or the business sector.
The Historical Sweep as Periods of National Policy
Canadian economic and social history may be examined under three "National Policy" periods. Though there are considerations that stretch the dating, these periods can be roughly dated as: 1867 to 1939; 1939-1968; and 1968-to date.
1867-1939: The First National Policy Period:
The pre-Confederation history of the separate BNA Colonies, and the post-Confederation history of Canada may be seen as evolving relations between business and government that began building in the contradictions between democratic and capitalist governance outlined above.
The social commitments of the First National Policy Period in Canada are those embedded in the British North America Act of 1867. The federal government was provided, under Section 91 of the Act, with the centralized control of the temporal and spatial processes of extensive growth and development. Essentially this involved getting bigger by fleshing out the country from the original British North America jurisdictions. Two pillars of the process were railway construction and immigration-encouraged population growth in the free trade area that was created. In 1879, Canadian industry became sheltered from competition by the third policy pillar, Macdonalds National Policy Tariff.
Under Section 92 of the BNA Act, the provinces and municipalities of Canada essentially undertook, in comparison to the federal responsibilities, what may be regarded as more people based, life-cycle, or life-journey, maintenance and development responsibilities, including education and hospitals. In fact Section 92 seemed to reflect the necessary practices found in more-or-less self-sufficient, unsophisticated, and widely separated rural economies, in which, the provision of support to those in need had to be left as the responsibility of the extended family, the church and charitable institutions, simply because they were on the spot.
Kitchen argues that the key assumption behind the Canadian approach to unemployment and poverty until 1914 was the principle of "less eligibility." The less eligibility principle held that if social provisioning was below what could be earned through employment there would be an incentive to work. It seems the eligibility principle was put in place in England as a result of the work of the Poor Law Commission of 1832, and in response to the claims of employers that the so-called Speenhamland system met the needs of families even though no member of the family was working and because workers began to claim provisioning rates, that varied in proportion to family size, as a social right. It is worth emphasizing that Speenhamland was a guaranteed annual income system that worked. It operated from 1795-1834 in parts of England.
The municipalities, some steps removed from pioneer farming communities, under Section 92 of the BNA Act, had growing responsibilities for hospitals. Municipalities also provided relief as a last resort, under the conditions that local residency was established for the sick, elderly, young, and for women with dependent children but only after all family resources were exhausted.
Inevitable shifts in the structure of the Canadian economy reduced the importance of once independent agricultural communities and increased the importance of non-farm populations in growing urban areas. Employed in the production of a variety of industrial goods and services, labour force and population were increasingly made subject to the compulsions and coercions, instabilities and unfairness of market-based labour relations. So the life-cycle needs of a growing industrial and capitalist oriented economy brought with it the necessity to increasingly provide more generalized social welfare.
In fact social welfare policies were introduced that shifted responsibility from municipal to both provincial and federal jurisdictions in the 20th century. This process has been dated by Armitage as beginning in 1916, when the Province of Manitoba introduced a mothers allowance. Rather than being unconditional, these allowances, built in a degree of puritanical mean mindedness, for they were made conditional on character references (that is on testaments to moral uprightness, in some sense). One might remember the words of Stanley Knowles, who said, with respect to means tested pension entitlements, that, means tests are always mean. As well as being degrading to the individuals involved means tests are also costly to administer. Our history suggests they should be avoided. This lesson sits behind and is related to the notion of an unconditional basic income.
In any event, "Subsequently, [1920-1940] many other categories were added (veterans, unemployed, elderly, etc.) and the whole relief function has been progressively transferred to provincial and federal governments."
Overall, the period from 1867-1939 is to be regarded as one concerned with extensive growth and development. But that period also ushered in the Great Depression that lasted the decade from 1929 through to the Second World War. The Depression brought an end to the expansionary forces and a fuller realization of the overhead costs that had been put in place by individuals, municipalities, provincial and federal authorities. Those costs could be met and covered only from a continuous stream of revenues. The Depression created debt, bankruptcy and poverty for individuals and municipalities. In consequence, Canadian Governments, at all levels, began to realize and adjust to the costs that were put in place under the international and domestic forces of market capitalism and the umbrella of the developmental pillars associated with Confederation and the tariff policy of 1879.
1939-1974: The Second National "Progressive" Policy Period:
The war brought massive intervention in market processes. The social welfare policies so greatly needed in the Depression, began to be put in place during the war and the immediate postwar period to 1950. Generally, they were attempts to share more equitably and shield Canadians from the debilitating effects of the depression, and from the social costs of market capitalism. It was those social costs, generally summarized as monopoly, instability and alienation, that were the root causes of the differential impacts experienced by individuals, municipalities and provinces.
So, in comparison to the First National Policy periods emphasis on extensive growth the Second National Policy period was concerned with intensive growth and development, or for how well Canadians were doing materially. To that end it also meant the design and implementation of policies that would assure greater equality of income and access to social services across the country. In terms of social welfare legislation the Keynesian welfare state was introduced in Canada and with it the principles of equalization and universality were installed.
In tandem with social welfare reforms in Canada the Canadian Government became a signatory to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This important document specified principles for the creation of a full democracy of human rights and is consistent with the argument presented here. In Canada, the importance of the UN UDHR is recognized in the 1997 Report of the Advisory Committee on the Changing Workplace titled Collective Reflection on the Changing Workplace, noted in the Chapters preamble. Significantly this report argues that the promotion of fairness leads to efficiency improvements.
This 1997 Report also cites article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. which says:
1. Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
As a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Canada made a moral commitment on behalf of Canadian citizens. The fulfillment of that commitment requires attempting to make the system the means to assure the production of the bill of goods and services that all citizens, that is generally, we the people, require to meet basic needs for existence and individual growth and development. An unconditional basic income of the sort described in this booklet is part of the requisite policy package.
The social security advances made in Canada in the period are outlined in considerable detail by Armitage and Guest. Canadas initiatives included unemployment insurance and social security and were built into the Marsh Report which was historically linked to the Beveridge Report in Britain.
The Marsh Report on Social Security assumed a full employment economy, and from that base the operational principles to be followed in the implementation of social security programs, were to work. The following summary of principles specified by Marsh are outlined by Battle and Kitchen:
1a: means tested social assistance for those exceptional cases not covered by social insurance.
2: national health insurance to provide all Canadians with a broad range of health services;
3: childrens or family allowances to help fill the gap between wages and income needs for families with children to support; and regardless of parental income;
Interestingly, Marshs assumption of full-employment was never met. Government acceptance of the assumption would imply the government would only countenance frictional unemployment, that is short-term unemployment for people between jobs. In not accepting the full employment objective government made a weaker commitment to maintenance of a high and stable level of employment.
In the event, however, the rates of unemployment have grown secularly since the 1950s. Associated with those increases came the inevitable realization that the economic system was generating poverty. Political pressures were placed on government to implement an effective job creation strategy. Retrospectively it appears that so-called natural rates of unemployment were invented to assist attempts to remove political pressure from government to create jobs. To the extent that unemployment could be seen as natural rather than systemic the natural rate, would dull consciousness to poverty, and indeed suggest that poverty was natural.
But the fact of unemployment and associated poverty can not be hidden. Support for a GAI surfaced in the 1970s. Indeed the " federal government committed itself in the early 1970s to the guaranteed income technique [but only as one of various possible schemes] as a major anti-poverty policy that would allow the greatest concentration of available resources upon those with the lowest income."
In 1971 the Senates Committee on Poverty in Canada, that had been created in 1968, published its report. Known as the Croll Report, it made a guaranteed income, GAI, a centrepiece proposal. The Senate Committee had been created to "investigate all aspects of poverty and recommend effective policy measures. [the Report] recommended that existing programs be scrapped and replaced by a guaranteed annual income scheme. This was a negative income tax proposal with a 70% tax back rate on incomes over and above basic incomes which were to be established at 70% of the Senate Committees poverty lines.
In 1973, the federal Government issued the Working Paper on Social Security in Canada. Known as the Orange Paper it :
" was both the final flourish of the first era of social security reform in Canada, and a harbinger of the next phase. It stressed the need to meet community and individual needs through work that was socially useful, and it defined policies that could combat poverty The Orange Paper formulated a two-tiered approach to social assistance (while preserving and expanding forms of social insurance) a guaranteed annual income scheme for those who could not work, and an income supplement for the working poor."
Yalnizian provides a useful summary that in this Second National Policy Period, Canadians were able to develop:
" a relatively broad social consensus from the end of the 1930s to the beginning of the 1970s [and an] evocative new language of citizenship, a language of rights to the provision of certain protections and access to services. The expansion of individual rights was couched in two powerful concepts: one of uniform protection across the country, essentially giving concrete form to national citizenship; and the growing notion of universality of certain minimums, albeit basic and categorical, obtainable as of right and in the company of all other citizens."
The Second National Policy Period may be closed in 1974. In that year John Deutsch provided a proudly positive summary of what had been achieved in Canada. According to Deutsch, Canada had extended application of the equalization principle beyond the pioneering work of the early post-war period so that:
"Today there is equalization of all provincial revenues of the provinces by means of equalization payments by the federal government. An important beginning has been made on the equalization of municipal revenues as between provinces. Also there has been substantial equalization on an inter-personal basis across the country through the federal programs in health, unemployment compensation, old age assistance, welfare, etc. Recently the equalizing principle has been applied to the equalization of the price of oil across the country by means of a federal export tax."
In 1974 few people, perhaps including John Deutsch himself, could see the screws were beginning to turn back the forces of progressive social advance set in motion by the Depression and worked out during and after the Second World War. In fact, in 1974 Canada had already entered a Third National Policy period that would look to undo the advances made in the second.
This new phase in social development brought with it business dominated mean-mindedness and the corporatization of Canadian economic and social policy because politicians and governments were willing to go along. Under the label neo-conservative economic and social policy the marching orders for the days ahead and to century-end included widespread cut backs in social expenditures and increasingly constrained access for those in need of social programs. The neo-conservative forces that argued " to encourage work, to reduce poverty and to contain costs are incompatible aims" continue to impact adversely on Canada and Canadians.
The label neo-conservative is pejorative with respect to the Conservative Party of Canada. In fact, while true it is only partly true, for according to Tom Kent, (one of the chief architects of postwar Canadian social policy during the 1957-63 opposition years of the Liberal Party and a Policy Secretary to Prime Minister Pearson and a Deputy Minister), it was
"Mr. Trudeau [that] set the pattern. Elected leader without experience in his party [in 1968] he had scant respect for its troops. Besides charisma, he offered only the vague promise of a just society. When challenged at the next election as to why he had not delivered on that promise, his response was to tell the heckler to ask Jesus Christ: "he promised it before I did." Mr. Trudeaus most definite election campaigning, in 1974, was devoted to excoriating his opponents proposal for price and income controls - and soon after its reelection, his government imposed such controls."
So, along side neo-conservative the label neo-liberal is appropriate for the same reason. Kent goes on, as many others have done to question the double-speak found in the progressive-social rhetoric in opposition and market oriented, anti-social cut-back reality when both Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Chrétien were possessed of governmental status.
1974-to date: The Third National "Neo-Conservative" Policy Period:
This third national policy period has been said to have been ushered in by a crisis experienced by capitalists in their governance of labour processes. In reaction to the perceived crisis attempts have been made by the corporate sector in all industrial nations, including Canada, to forcefully assert and re-establish capitalist control.
As part of the process and without warrant, blame was placed by business on the size of the government sector, the burden of government regulations, and the welfare state including the principles of equality and universality. Ideologically based, the argument ignored the fact that the welfare state and associated government expenditures and tax-transfers to those in need had, as suggested above, the effect of propping up levels of income and employment at higher levels than they would otherwise have reached. The needs of the needy were not considered to be the responsibility of the corporate sector.
Overall the goals seems to have been the removal of, however socially justifiable they were and remain, state imposed restrictions or regulations perceived to be impeding the corporate and business sector. De-regulation, of course, would strengthen corporate control and ability to manipulate market processes so as to socialize business costs. This focused commitment is deeply embedded in all five volumes of the Macdonald Commission. Appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 1982, the report Royal Commission on the Economic Union and the Development Prospects for Canada. was published in 1985. Chapter 19, The Income Security System which outlines the Macdonald Commissions approach to a guaranteed annual income, UISP, or Universal Income Security Program, is also consistent with the rhetoric of the business community.
In ordinary human terms, one might reasonably expect that the elimination of poverty is a moral obligation on each of us. The moral obligation requires that the elimination of poverty should be directly and positively addressed simply as a question of satisfying basic life-journey needs, all other considerations set aside.
The point has been made by Rawls: "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions [here, of the economic system] no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust." This was and is a moral obligation on all of us, even Commission members and leaders of the business community. In its search for efficiency, however, justice seems to have been an issue that escaped the Commission.
The Macdonald Commission was concerned with the business agenda of strengthening control of labour and commodity market processes. So its proposal would only go so far as to supplement the incomes of the working poor through the tax system rather than through paying decent wages. Moreover, "the Commission clearly favours de-emphasizing minimum wages as a policy device." In effect, accentuating the inherent tendencies of capitalism, the Commission was advocating a socialization of otherwise business costs by acceptance of lower wage levels being paid to the working poor. Those low wages were to be made more livable by having society provide UISP income supplements through the tax system. But what was implicitly entailed was that, in the name of keeping business costs down, it was to be proper for business, supported by government, to shift the focus of our collective moral obligation and social responsibility to eliminate poverty amongst the working poor to societys shoulders. This would have the effect that the injustices and failures of the economic system would be rendered less apparent than they are in fact.
The validity of the argument, that the Commission was concerned with a business-cost, socialization of business costs agenda, is supported by, first, the fact, as noted by Kitchen, that the Commission failed to place its UISP proposals in the context of increasing unemployment and poverty, of growing inequalities in the distribution of income, and of the breakdown in existing social programs, and, second, as noted by Hum that the Commission assumed that overall social security spending had to be held a constant proportion of GNP. Consistently, Hum argues that "the Commissions case for a GAI comes not from the often stated merits for GAI, but from its fundamental presupposition that restraint must last for a long, long time, its eyes seem never to shift from the deficit numbers. For the Commission, it is support of market principles that will lead to economic growth. We are now in a position to see the Commissions twofold position: hold the line, and beneath this, a disguised trickle down theory."
Moreover, there were other aspects of the hidden business agenda that could be identified. The principle of universality came under attack in so far as the proposals made would have eliminated the universal family allowance system. Unemployment insurance was also to be eliminated. In the first case, though such elimination was tied to the UISP proposal, even without UISP, government and business succeeded in eliminating the family allowance system in 1992. And unemployment insurance was changed to employment insurance and eligibility entitlements have been tightened. So changes in UI and family allowances emphasize that weakening of social security programs was generally the real business agenda of cutbacks to human rights programs. UISP, for example, would have contributed to the institutionalization of poverty, in some cases at lower support levels than available in existing programs.
Taken together this has meant that the Macdonald Commissions call for a so-called guaranteed income, titled Universal Income Security Program, or UISP, was a political a non-starter, a proposal going nowhere.
A Last Word: Optimism is Required
Over the historical sweep of the three National Policy periods Canadian governments have had a checkered and often reluctant history in terms of commitments to progressive reform of the economic system.
Some battles seemed to have been won for a variety of progressive policy programs have been put in place particularly in the period 1940-1974. In the last twenty years or so, however, welfare and other social agencies have been fighting to hold onto what they had gained and have been unable to effectively look for improvements. With social programs cut-back, reduced and made more restrictive in their application, it seems the old, once-won, battles have to be fought again.
But now, with support from the left and right, perhaps the screw has turned another round. With increased realization of Canadian social problems the necessity of progressive reform that would pick up where the Second National Policy period was abruptly truncated can perhaps resume.
On one side technical efficiency is an obvious goal of each business enterprise as it searches for institutional income security through the maintenance and growth of their respective profit earning capacities. On the other side the technical efficiency processes employed by businesses result in growing social inefficiencies or social costs. These social costs are of a wide variety. Here concern is with the causal run from unemployment, to earned income at zero, to poverty, starvation, ill-health, and, generally, unfulfilled human potential. Clearly the search for greater stability and income security for business has created instability in life-support or income security for many individuals.
Individuals businesses and governments can all benefit from an unconditional basic income. But as suggested in the above preamble citation, "Without some effective forums of communication, it can become increasingly difficult for people to realize that they have, in fact, interests in common. To build a fruitful dialogue, both parties need to be able to get beneath each others rhetoric and that takes time and constructive interaction."
The progressive logic that income security for individuals is itself a stabilizing device for society and at the same time will assist income security for business is central to such constructive interaction.
Finally on the feasibility of a guaranteed annual income. It is worth emphasizing that Englands Speenhamland system (1795-1834) was a guaranteed annual income system that worked. The Manitoba Minecome system worked for its experimental three year period ending in 1979. Hum points out the Macdonald Commission has given " us the credible accounting figures [and challenges that] Canada can now well afford universal income security." Given unemployment and poverty as structural defects, Canada, it can be held, cannot afford not to have universal income security.
These comments are intended to assist the necessary communication and interaction about a GAI. An unconditional basic income will be a complement to the working of the economic system and the welfare of society.
1 Collective Reflection on the Changing Workplace. Report of the Advisory Committee on the Changing Workplace, (June 1997 LT-060-05-97E) Available at: http://www.reflection.gc.ca/report/report_e.txt. This report argues for more progressive approaches to governing the economy than those embedded in conventional neo-conservative economic and social policy. See also the important statement: Kent, Tom. Social Policy 2000: An Agenda.(Ottawa: The Caledon Institute for Social Policy, 1999).
2 The major issue is seldom made explicit, but it is in: Adams, Ian, and William Cameron, Brian Hill and Peter Penz, The Real Poverty Report, (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1971). See also: Drache, Daniel and Duncan Cameron. The Other Macdonald Report: The Consensus on Canadas Future that the Macdonald Commission Left Out. (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company Publishers, 1985). The Real Poverty Report and The Other Macdonald Report, represent analysis and policy proposals by individuals and groups concerned with radical truth and social justice and the priority of human needs over capital and technology. Like thesis to anti-thesis, The Real Poverty Report and The Other Macdonald Report, are each spin-offs in opposition to official investigations. The spin-offs, each for a different time-period, represent progressive alternatives to the conventional system and business dominated views presented, in, in the first case: Canada, Poverty in Canada: Report of the Special Senate Committee on Poverty, (Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1971, reprint, 1976) and in the second, Canada, Royal Commission on the Economic Union and the Development Prospects for Canada, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985). See in particular: Volume 2, Part 5, Chapter 19, The Income Security System, 769-803.
3 The basic income concept has relevance nationally and internationally as a planet-wide world citizens income. See: Frankman, Myron J. Planet-Wide Citizen's Income: Antidote to Global Apartheid, (Montreal: McGill University, October 1977). http://vm1.mcgill.ca/~inmf/http/mf/pwci.html
4 "Unlike the United States, Canada has no official poverty measure. We have no official definition of poverty for the purposes of delivering social programs, nor do we have a measure against which our national data collection agency can judge the extent of poverty." Canada, Towards 2000: Eliminating Child Poverty. Report of the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare, Social Affairs, Seniors and the Status of Women, (Ottawa: Queens Printer for Canada, 1993), 7. But the absence of conclusive absolute measure should not be used to diminish or weaken collective resolve to solve poverty and its associated problems, for these are existing conditions that we can each see daily in streets across this country. Towards 2000 discusses a number of measures that reflect the existence of the poverty condition. Poverty and associated conditions are eloquently documented in: Armine Yalnizyan. The Growing Gap: A Report on Growing Inequality Between the Rich and Poor in Canada. (Toronto: Centre for Social Justice, October 1998).
5 A detailed rendition of the problems this governance contradiction has meant for social security in Canada may be found in: Guest, D. The Emergence of Social Security in Canada. 3rd Edition. (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1997).
6 Myers, Gustavus, A History of Canadian Wealth, (Toronto: James Lewis and Samuel, Publishers, 1972). Calvert, J. Government Limited: The Takeover of the Public Sector in Canada, (Ottawa: The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 1984). Clarke, Tony. Silent Coup: Confronting the Big Business Takeover of Canada, (Ottawa and Toronto: The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 1997). McMurtry, John. Unequal Freedoms: The Global Market as an Ethical System, (Toronto: Garamond Press, 1998). McMurtry, John The Cancer Stage of Capitalism (London and Tokyo: Pluto Press and Springer-Verlag, 1999)
7 M. Walzer, "Justice Here and Now", in F. S. Lucash, Justice and Equality Here and Now, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986), 146-147.
8 These needs include: shelter, food, clothing, personal care, household needs, furniture, telephone, transportation, entertainment, reading materials, religion/charity, school supplies, health care and child care. In the City of Toronto in 1992, the total cost of this list was estimated to be between a low of $22,750 and a high of $28,000. Canada, Towards 2000: Eliminating Child Poverty. Report of the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare, Social Affairs, Seniors and the Status of Women, (Ottawa: Queens Printer for Canada, 1993), 51.
9 The importance of civil rights are explored in Nemni, Max, "Canada's Two Nationalisms, Made in Quebec," Cite Libre: (Fall 1999): http://www.citelibre.com/archives/english/index.html
10 See: Dalton Camp, "Blame for Walkerton at Tories Door," The Toronto Star, (Sunday, May 28, 2000), A15. Mackie, Richard, Susan Bourette and Carolyn Alphonso, "Ontario Admits role in deaths: Water Guidelines not followed in Walkerton pollution tragedy, minister says," The Globe and Mail, (Tuesday, May 30, 2000), A1, A9. And, related, in a Canadian Press article: "Calgary. Premier Ralph Klein is not immune to civil litigation over his government's cuts to health care, the province's top court has ruled." The Globe and Mail, (April 27, 2000), A8. This article reports that "The Alberta Court of Appeal, in a split decision released yesterday, said Mr. Klein should be a party to three lawsuits claiming damages for injuries or deaths caused by the cuts between 1993 and 1996. During that period, the Conservatives slashed $750-million from the system." Overall the issue may be expressed in the following terms: "It seems all too easy for many politicians, [and their apologists] and not just those who are currently in power, to unwittingly link themselves to, first, the notion that democracy is a self-justifying system and, second, the notion that the market solves all problems. In fact neither notion is true. Though fallacies both notions are used as rhetorical devices to escape from the social responsibility of governments to advance the common good through human based policies [that will strengthen our communities, promote cooperative efforts to solve our many problems and further the ends of equality and fairness in the treatment of people]. To make this point clear, while it is true Premiers and Prime Ministers may hold a democratically given power of majority, a power of majority is not ever the end of the matter when that power is used, consciously or unconsciously, deliberately or in ignorance, for ends that are patently immoral. There are higher values, normal secular human values of justice, and there are feasible and realistic human based policies that are alternatives to the immoral aims of the business/corporate dominated drive [of] market forces [and policies] that are being imposed by your government in the name of deficit reduction [and a limited role for government]." (From a modified letter from WR Needham to the Premier of Ontario, November 7, 1996).
11 Hyman Blumenstock , <email@example.com>, "Re America, the Self-Critical," Post-Keynesian Thought Posting, (December 27, 1996, <firstname.lastname@example.org>).
12Cited by Dalton Camp in his Kerr-Saltsman Lecture, Neo-Conservatrism: How to Wreck a Country without a Hammer (Part II), University of Waterloo, (March 23, 2000).
13 C. Gordon, "The Great Conspiracy Theorists Exit Stage Left," The Record, (Kitchener-Waterloo: Saturday, June 3, 1995,), A15.
14 Donella H. Meadows, "People Of Wealth Stand Up For Greater Equality." The Global Citizen, (November 6, 1997). web: http://iisd1.iisd.ca/pcdf/meadows/equality.htm. The italicized words have been added as well as those within [square brackets]. Responsible Wealth, can be contacted at: United for a Fair Economy, 37 Temple Place, Fifth Floor, Boston MA 02111 (617-423-2148 or email@example.com).
15 In Canada the Keynesian logic was built into full-employment designs for the post World War II period. See: Canada, Department of Reconstruction, Employment and Income with Special Reference to the Initial Period of Reconstruction. (Ottawa: Queens Printer, 1945).
16 This occurs directly by shifting to higher levels of output and indirectly through reducing the debilitating effects of alienation within the system.
17 The idea that policies of fairness are also policies of efficiency is not new. Even intuitively if one runs the words as efficient is fair, the words just snap at your heals and you know such an assertion is false. The argument that fair is efficient is developed in Robert Kuttner, The Economic Illusion: False Choices Between Prosperity and Social Justice. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987). See also: James A. Junker, Economic Justice: The Market Socialist Vision. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1997).
18 A simple technical illustration of this argument cast in terms of shifting the burden of taxes from low income wage spenders to high income profit savers may be found at: http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/ECON/needhdata/needhm3.html
19As I recall, Joan Robinson said this. I dont remember where.
20 "Coinciding with the federal-provincial review of social security in the mid-seventies, Canada and Manitoba jointly financed an evaluation of the guaranteed income concept. The experiment, known as MINCOME MANITOBA, was designed to investigate work incentives as well as administrative issues. Over 1300 families in the City of Winnipeg, the town of Dauphin and a number of rural communities in Manitoba participated in the project and were guaranteed an annual income for three years. Because no one could say in advance what the effects of different support levels and tax back rates on the desire to work, a number of combinations were tried. Three guarantee levels were tested: $38--, $4800 and $5800 (1975 prices) for a family of four. Three tax back rates were also specified: 35%, 50% and 75%. The experiments terminated in 1979 after amassing quantities of data, but before completion of the intended program of research." Hum, Derek P.J. "UISP and the Macdonald Commission: Reform and Restraint," Canadian Public Policy, XII:Supplement(1986), 99.
21 Also see: Basilevsky, A. and D. Hum, Experimental Social Programs and Analytic Methods: An Evaluation of the U.S. Income Maintenance Projects. (New York: Academic Press Inc., 1984).
22 Hum, Derek and Wayne Simpson, Income Maintenance Work Effort, and the Canadian Mincome Experiment, (Ottawa; Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1991), xvi. The Canadian results of Hum and Simpson, published by the Economic Council of Canada, are from data from the Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment (Mincome) of which Hum was Research Director from 1975-1979. Hum and Simpson also analyzed (see pages 35-39) empirically based US studies.
23 Hum argued in 1986, thus before the publication of the Hum and Simpsons Mincome book, that " the magnitude of the work disincentive, and how it might vary with different levels of guaranteed support and tax-back rates for Canadians remains unknown." Hum, (1986), 99.
24 Berlin, Gordon, Wendy Bancroft, David Card, Winston Lin and Philip K. Robins, Do Work Incentives Have Unintended Consequences? Measuring "Entry Effects" in the Self-Sufficiency Project. (Ottawa and Vancouver: Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, March 1998), viii.
25 Berlin, Gordon, Wendy Bancroft, David Card, Winston Lin and Philip K. Robins, Do Work Incentives Have Unintended Consequences? Measuring "Entry Effects" in the Self-Sufficiency Project. (Ottawa and Vancouver: Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, March 1998), 38.
26 This is a periodization used in: © W. Robert Needham, Understanding the Canadian EconomyIIIThe Capitalist Development of Canada, (Waterloo: University of Waterloo, mimeo, 1997).
27 See: Brooks, Stephen and Andrew Stritch, Business and Government in Canada, (Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice-Hall, 1991). The addendum to Chapter 2 of Brooks and Stritchs book provides a chronology of business government relations from 1600 to 1987.
28 Kitchen, B. A Guaranteed Income: A New Look at an Old Idea, (Toronto: The Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, 1986), 5-8.
29 Bellamy, Donald. "Social Welfare in Canada," Encyclopedia of Social Work, (New York: National Association of Social Workers, 1965). Willard, J.W. "Canadian Welfare Programmes," Encyclopedia of Social Work, (New York: National Association of Social Workers, 1965). Armitage, Andrew, Social Welfare in Canada: Ideals and Realities, (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1988). Guest, D. The Emergence of Social Security in Canada. (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1997).
30 Armitage, Andrew, Social Welfare in Canada: Ideals and Realities and Future Paths. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975). 2nd edition, 1988), 271.
31 See: Canada, Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations, Book 1, Canada, 1867-1939, and Book II, Recommendations, (Ottawa: The Kings Printer, 1940).
32 See: http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/ECON/needhdata/undeclar.html
33 Marsh, Leonard. Report on Social Security for Canada. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1975), (first Published: Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1943).
34 Sir William Beveridge. Social Insurance and Allied Services, ((New York: Macmillan, 1942).
35 Ken Battle, "Back to the Future: Reforming Social Policy in Canada." Revision of paper presented at The Public Good: Lessons for the 3rd Millennium. A Conference in Honour of Allan J. MacEachen, (July 6, 1996), 5.
36 B. Kitchen, et. al., A Guaranteed Income: A New Look at an Old Idea, 14.
37 Brigitte Kitchen with Christa Frieler and Jeffery Patterson, A Guaranteed Income: A New Look at an Old Idea. (Toronto: Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, 1986), 23-24. Kitchen, et al., reference Canada, Department of National Health and Welfare, Income Security for Canadians, (Ottawa: 1970), 3.
38 Canada, Poverty in Canada: Report of the Special Senate Committee on Poverty, (Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1971, reprint, 1976).
39 Yalnizian, Armine and T. Ran Ide and Arthus J. Cordell, Shifting Time: Social Policy and th Future of Work, (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1994), 35. Yalnizian references: Hum, Derek, P. J. Federalism and the Poor: A Review of the Canada Assistance Plan. (Toronto: Ontario Economic Council, 1983), 19.
40 Yalnizian, Armine and T. Ran Ide and Arthus J. Cordell, Shifting Time: Social Policy and the Future of Work, (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1994), 35-36.
41 Yalnizian, Armine and T. Ran Ide and Arthus J. Cordell, Shifting Time: Social Policy and the Future of Work, (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1994), 33. The included citation is from the Marsh Report. Marsh, Leonard. Report on Social Security for Canada. (Ottawa: Kings Printer, 1943), 107.
42 J.J. Deutsch, "Mackintosh on the Economic Background of Federal-Provincial Relations," Papers Presented at the Mackintosh Symposium on the Occasion of the Opening of Mackintosh-Corry Hall. Mimeo. (Kingston: Queens University, October 18, 1974), 9-10.
43 Part of the chronology of federal government cutbacks is outlined in: Cohen, M.G., J. Morrison and D. Smith, "Dismantling Social Welfare: Chronology of Federal Government Cutbacks, 1985-1995," CCPA Monitor, II:7 (December 95/January 96), 9-12.
44 Marin Rein, quoted in Patricia Evans and Eilene McIntyre, "Welfare, Work Incentives, and the Single Mother." In Jacqueline Ismael, ed., Canadian Welfare State, (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1987), 110. Cited by Yalnizian in Yalnizian, Armine and T. Ran Ide and Arthur J. Cordell, Shifting Time: Social Policy and the Future of Work, (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1994), 39.
45 Tom Kent, Social Policy 2000: An Agenda, (Ottawa: Caledon Institute of Social Policy, (January 1999), 5.
46 The capitalist crisis is noticeable, it has been argued, at least as early as 1968, though popularly it is dated with the OPEC oil crisis of 1973. At the elected political level the governments of Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney have been seen as assisting capitalist restructuring and the attendant in diminution of the effectiveness of government in the delivery of social services beyond the market, and, generally, the autonomy of the nation state. M. Aglietta, "World Capitalism in the Eighties." New Left Review, Number 136, (Nov-Dec. 1982). M. Aglietta, A Theory of Capitalist Regulation: The US Experience, (New York: Routledge, Chapman, and Hall, 1986).
47 Canada, Royal Commission on the Economic Union and the Development Prospects for Canada, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985). In particular: Volume 2, Part 5, Chapter 19, the Income Security System).
48 See: Hum, Derek, P.J. "UISP and the Macdonald Commission: Reform and Restraint," Canadian Public Policy, XII:supplement(1986), 92-100. Brigitte Kitchen with Christa Frieler and Jeffery Patterson, A Guaranteed Income: A New Look at an Old Idea. (Toronto: Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, 1986).
49 In principle what seems to be required is commitment to assure that every person has an income that is both unconditionally secure and large enough to at least match measured poverty lines. In 1985, the poverty line was set at $14,750. Conceptually, one simply takes the poverty line and counts the number of citizens, the product of the two is the total base income that is to be guaranteed in a year. In 1985 the minimum social security payments varied across the country from a low in New Brunswick of 51.6% of the poverty line to a high of 67.4 % in Ontario. Andrew Armitage, Social Welfare in Canada: Ideals, Realities and Future Paths, (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart 1988), 179. In 1985, the federal share for a family of four would have been $7,000. This 4-person amount would have been lower than the minimum social security payments made to a 2-person unit in any of the provinces in that year.
50 John Rawls, A Theory of Justice. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 3.
51 Hum, Derek, P.J. "UISP and the Macdonald Commission: Reform and Restraint," Canadian Public Policy, XII:supplement(1986), 98, and referencing Vol. Two, 542, 619-622).
52 Hum, Derek, P.J. "UISP and the Macdonald Commission: Reform and Restraint," Canadian Public Policy, XII:supplement(1986), 93.
53 Hum, Derek, P.J. "UISP and the Macdonald Commission: Reform and Restraint," Canadian Public Policy, XII:supplement(1986), 94.
54 Brigitte Kitchen points out: "A family of four on Gains-D in Ontario is in fact currently better off than under either of the two UISP options." Brigiitte Kitchen, et.al., A Guaranteed Income: A New look at an Old Idea, (Toronto: Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, 1986), 34.
55 In addition to being politically unacceptable because it did not squarely address justice issues, the UISP would probably have not been workable because of its technical complexity and incompleteness. Essentially a negative income tax device, it would have required a combination of federal and provincial programs, provided very low benefits, necessitating a low 20% tax back rate on earned income, but would have significantly increased marginal tax rates. See: Brigiitte Kitchen, et.al., A Guaranteed Income: A New look at an Old Idea, (Toronto: Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, 1986), 33; and J.R. Kessleman, "The Royal Commissions Proposals for Income Security Reform," Canadian Public Policy, XII supplement(February, 1986), 101-112.
56 Hum, Derek P.J. "UISP and the Macdonald Commission: Reform and Restraint," Canadian Public Policy, XII:supplement(1986), 98.
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