Finland and the Inevitability of Guaranteed Minimum Income
December 07, 2015, 04:53 AM
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Finland may soon implement what I believe will be a fixture of the Western world, for better or worse. It is about to provide a Guaranteed Minimum Income for its citizens.
Finland's government is drawing up plans to give every one of its citizens a basic income of 800 euros (£576) a month and scrap benefits altogether.

A poll commissioned by the agency planning the proposal, the Finnish Social Insurance Institute, showed 69% supported the basic income plan.

[Finland plans to give every citizen 800 euros a month and scrap benefitsby Will Grice, Telegraph, December 6, 2015]

Charles Murray, among others, has been advocating something like this. He believes this will be a more efficient replacement for the welfare state. And this idea has been long percolating through the American Right, even popping up in libertarian think tanks [The Pragmatic Libertarian Case for a Basic Income Guaranteeby Matt Zwolinski, Cato Unbound, August 4, 2014].

Given that in a democratic system with universal suffrage there is going to be some kind of a welfare system, this seems like this is a no brainer for conservatives and even libertarians. It would have the advantage of being a more cost effective replacement for the confusing mess of welfare programs currently in place [Welfare Reform, Exemplified by the World's Most Confusing Chartby Juliegrace Brufke, Daily Caller, November 4, 2015] More importantly, from a tactical point of view, such a policy would allow Republicans to eliminate huge swathes of the social services industry which provide a reliable constituency for the radical Left.

For immigration patriots, this subject is also of special interest for two reasons. First, such a policy would help provide a tangible benefit for citizens and could serve as a pillar for the kind of moderate "citizenist" platform which a National Conservative party could use to build a winning coalition. Secondly, because of automation and globalization, such a policy is inevitable because we are going to have a huge number not just of unemployed citizens, but unemployable citizens who can still vote. It is inevitable such a constituency will eventually demand succor from the government.

Of course, as with everything, there are important drawbacks here. "Tyler Durden" over at Zero Hedge points out Finnish lawmakers aren't doing this to be creative, they are doing it because they are in an economic crisis.

Over the last few months, in a prime example of currency failure and euro-defenders' narratives, Finland has been sliding deeper into depression. Almost 7 years into the the current global expansion, Finland's GDP is 6pc below its previous peak. As The Telegraph reports, this is a deeper and more protracted slump than the post-Soviet crash of the early 1990s, or the Great Depression of the 1930s. And so, having tried it all, Finnish authorities are preparing to unleash "helicopter money" to save their nation by giving every citizen a tax-free payout of around $900 each month!..

Simply put, The Keynesian Endgame is here... as  the only way to avoid secular stagnation (which, for the uninitiated, is just another complicated-sounding, economist buzzword for the more colloquial “everything grinds to a halt”) is for central bankers to call in the Krugman Kraken and go full-Keynes.

[It begins: Desperate Finland Set to Unleash Helicopter Money Drop To All CitizensDecember 6, 2015]

"Helicopter money," or having the government (or really the central bank) print more money and handing it out, is simply a way to kick the can down the road and avoid dealing with systemic economic programs.

Besides that, there are two further concerns given the realities of our degenerate democratic politics. First, who is to say the existing welfare system will be replaced by a guaranteed minimum income? In the electoral bidding war, we can expect politicians will simply propose this as an additional welfare program, rather than a replacement. And more importantly, like the grain dole in ancient Rome, once this benefit is awarded, it will be impossible to take away. In fact, there would always be agitation to increase it.

Second, we can expect complaints from the Left that limiting the benefit to citizens is discriminatory and probably "racist." Therefore, there would be hysterical demands that noncitizens are also eligible to receive a minimum income, which would of course serve as a draw for more Third World immigration. The nightmare would be an ever growing lumpenproletariat in every major American city, subsidized to an extent even beyond what they are now.

What is the solution? There may not be one that doesn't have at least some downside. But one thing we can do is reduce the scope of the problem by not importing more unemployable, low skilled immigrants. And there must be a recognition by policymakers on the Right that any income transfer program has to be structured so as to cut out the left wing activists who survive on taxpayer money. A Guaranteed Minimum Income, if and when it comes, should be a benefit for loyal, productive citizens, not yet another subsidy for the Parasite Class.