I have a confession to make about Universal Basic Income ( #UBI). I'm late to the party and was initially very skeptical. It's not because I don't believe in the research or the important equity issues. I just thought people couldn't swallow it. I let cynicism win. #cdnpoli 1/12
As a double confession, I felt the same way about legalizing marijuana. I thought well, of course I support it. Makes good sense on many levels. But it's too hard to sell. People won't get it. Basically, I succumbed to the dark side of centrism. #UBI #cdnpoli 2/12
The pitch for #UBI is complex. It goes far beyond issues of social justice and equity. Of course common decency alone says we should allow everyone dignity, inclusion, and stability. But it isn't just about being nice and fair. It's also good social policy. #cdnpoli 3/12
As a society, we've decided that no one should outright starve, or go without basic care, or die homeless in a gutter. That's the goal anyway. We spend a lot of money on a social safety net intended to prevent all this. But we spend the money very badly. #UBI #cdnpoli 4/12
We spend money to keep people propped up on their very last legs - just enough to keep them alive but no more. That isn't just mean and heartless. It's also terrible economy. Emergency services cost so much more than just preventing the emergency to begin with. #UBI #cdnpoli 5/12
Anyone who maintains a building knows this. You can spend less today putting off upkeep and repairs. It may seem to save money. But sooner or later the bill comes due and you always pay more in the end. On a balance sheet this is "deferred maintenance." #UBI #cdnpoli 6/12
Our spending on social welfare is dominated by short-term thinking. We spend as little as possible on people who need support, and we rack up huge "deferred maintenance" deficits which come due when they end up homeless, in hospital, in jail, etc. #UBI #cdnpoli 7/12
No matter how heartless anyone may be, self-interest alone weighs in favor of #UBI. Just like legalizing marijuana makes good policy sense even if you hate weed. I know this and always did. I just thought it's too complicated to explain and too hard to sell. #cdnpoli 8/12
There's a confession here but also a lesson. I think a lot of us do this. We know what's right and what needs to change. But we lose faith in the people around us and don't even try. Meanwhile the people around us aren't trying because they have no faith in us. #UBI #cdnpoli 9/12
#UBI is one of those big-think changes that seems impossible now but may become a bedrock right in the future - like universal healthcare and public pensions. Time was those seemed impossible too. And they didn't ruin the economy either. They made us stronger. #cdnpoli 10/12
Covid has been terrible and we've learned from our failures. Let's learn from our successes too. Do we want to go back to evicting people into shelters because they are poor? Do we want to go back to funding foodbanks instead of giving people enough to eat? #UBI #cdnpoli 11/12
I believe in practical politics and on living in the real world. But some things are impractical because they can't really be done, and some things only seem impractical because we lack imagination and will. We're at an inflection point here. Let's be better. #UBI #cdnpoli 12/12
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