Basic Income Quotations and Facts

The following quotes and facts are designed to prompt some reflection, add a bit of dry humour and provide a few facts that may startle or stimulate you to action. Some are quotes directly about basic income, others are about politics or life generally, and have accompanying bits of information.

OBIN has a treasure trove of good items on our website. They are all informative but admittedly may take time to read and digest. Sometimes a quote or a simple fact may grab attention to an issue and leave one with something to ponder upon.

If you have “good ones” please send them along to us at [email protected]

"Basic income might seem like it is a vast expansion of state power, since presumably it's the government (or some quasi-state institution like a central bank) that would be creating and distributing the money, but, in fact, it's exactly the reverse. Huge sections of government-and precisely, the most intrusive and obnoxious ones, since they are most deeply involved in the moral surveillance of ordinary citizens would be instantly made unnecessary and could be simply closed down." -David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs.

Current systems of welfare involve constant invasions of their recipients' privacy. In his 2014 book The Divide, journalist Matt Taibbi tells the tale of how welfare recipients are forced to let government agents rummage through their personal belongings before they receive financial assistance. Taibbi tells countless tales of inspectors denying people assistance because their underwear was too sexy for a single woman or "for having a teenage son whose pants were too ghetto".

Because our current system of cash assistance relies on dividing people between "deserving" and "undeserving" recipients, it enables intrusion into people's lives that are dehumanizing. A basic income, one not based on dubious moral deservingness, would avoid government intrusion into people's lives.

"Canada's already halfway to a basic income. We provide it to seniors and children, and it works. We just have gaps" Sheila RegehrChairperson of the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN).

For years now, Canada has provided money to families through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which can see families receive as much as $6,833 for a single child. For the elderly there is Old Age Security (OAS), "a nearly universal pension financed from general revenues and paid to almost all Canadians aged 65 or older" and the 

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) "a non- taxable benefit paid to low- and moderate-income seniors—about one-third of the elderly population. It is a form of guaranteed annual income (benefits are reduced according to other income received)."

When people say that a Basic Income is impossible, just remind them that not only is possible, in Canada, we already provide a basic income for some.

Marshall_McLuhan.jpg“Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen.” Marshall McLuhan, Philosopher and Author

The median individual income of Canada’s artists is $24,300, 44% less than all Canadian workers ($43,500). The main component of total income, for most workers, is employment income (including wages, salaries, and self-employment earnings). A typical artist has an employment income of $17,300, a figure that is 56% lower than the median of all workers ($39,000). (From a report of research by the Canada Council for the Arts which can be downloaded here.)

“You can never have international peace as long as you have national poverty.”  Professor Stephen Leacock, Humourist and Economist

In March 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that Canada's relative poverty rate of 12.4% was "slightly above" the average for OECD member countries, which is 11.7%. February 2020 Statistics Canada report based on 2018 income tax returns, says that "3.2 million Canadians, including over 560,000 children, [are] living in poverty."

"Everyone is an intellectual. Educate yourself because we need all your intelligence, stir yourselves because we’ll need all your enthusiasm, organize yourselves because we’ll need all your strength." Antonio Gramsci (1930)

Canadians participate in the political system any time they voluntarily try to influence the outcome of an election, or a government or party policy. This can be done in various ways, from voting to campaigning for a political cause to running for political office. The highest turnout rate for a federal election was 79 % in 1958. Voter turnout in Canada declined in the 1990s and 2000s, reaching 58.8 per cent in 2008. The numbers then began trending upwards, reaching 68.3 per cent in 2015 and 67 per cent in 2019. Women, who gained the right to vote federally in 1918, vote at slightly higher rates than men. Older citizens are more politically active than younger ones, although voting among people aged 18 to 34 increased sharply between 2011 and 2019. The Canadian Encyclopedia.

“Hope is not a Plan.” -Mary Simon

Hope gives inspiration to an idea but it takes an Action Plan to make it a reality. 

An Angus Reid poll in 2020 showed the following results:
60 per cent of Canadians support a universal basic income (UBI) of $20,000 per year. However, about 55% feel a UBI would make Canadians less inclined to work. Further, Canadians are divided over whether a UBI is too expensive (54%) or if Canada can afford it (46%).
As of February 2021, little had changed. The above facts indicates that there is still much work to be done by all of us to show that all of society benefits from a basic income. There is an ongoing need for us to counter the continuing myths that a basic income is unaffordable and that people will be inclined not to work. Women are more likely than men, and younger people more likely than those who are older, to support a basic income. Just 36% of Canadians say they would be willing to pay more in taxes to fund a basic income.