Almost a year ago, I wrote that the era of “experimenting” with basic income to determine whether it causes “laziness” should end. This question is more often than not asked in bad faith by opponents of basic income, who ignore overwhelming evidence that it generally increases the number of hours recipients work: even leaving aside the productivity gains in those work hours, as people are given more freedom to choose how their labor is allocated.
Mitchell says governments were remarkably successful at providing jobs to people who needed them and there’s nothing stopping them from doing so again. The key to doing it then, and in the future, he says, is having a public sector “buffer stock” of jobs. “In Australia – and I’m pretty sure the same sort of structure operated in New Zealand – you could always get a job in some public sector area,” he says. He’s not wrong. In 1952 in New Zealand, there were just two people receiving the unemployment benefit and 50 registered as unemployed.
Expert policy debate
The costs of natural disasters can be wide ranging, including not just property damage, but broader negative impacts on economic, social, and physical well-being. Research has shown that low income households and communities suffer disproportionately from disasters. Disasters can act as tipping points for families and individuals on the edge, pushing the marginally homeless into homelessness, those living paycheck-to-paycheck into debt and financial insecurity, and consuming any small savings that had been accumulated for housing, education, or other purposes.
How can federal disaster aid programs be improved to assist low-income households? What policy changes need to be made to support effective recovery for low-income households?
READ THE DEBATE: Urban Institute