Implementing a basic income will be complex

The drumbeat for a basic income continues. Canada’s business sector has recently promoted the idea, and reaction to the cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project has been almost uniformly negative, with a few exceptions. The idea of a basic income — which guarantees a minimum income to all, regardless of employment status — has always looked good at first glance.

It seems intuitive that a transfer of income from those better off to those less well off would reduce poverty and treat people fairly. Other commonly identified outcomes include a reduction in food insecurity, an increase in health, increased participation in society and greater educational attainment. Indeed, a basic income could offset much of its cost by lowering long-term health and social costs.

But it is important to enter any significant economic policy shift with eyes wide open, especially one projected to have an annual net cost of $43 billion. Devilish details abound and must be seen to, sooner rather than later. Read More