The Green Party: Guaranteed Basic Income for All: A Rebuttal

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by Willem Van Dam

The Green Party contends that there is no time like now to correct economic disparities, since Canada and Ontario are wealthy, and because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other laws, declares every person has the right to food, housing, social security, a certain standard of living etc. In addition, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of person.

John Locke also indicated that each person has the right to freedom and liberty, that is, not to be subordinated to the will of others, and no individual should infringe on that freedom. That includes the right of the individual to the security, use, and disposal of personal property. All these freedoms are to be exercised according to the proper use of one’s personal abilities and responsibilities. In fact, Locke argued that these rights supersede the right of the state to impose its will on the individual.

The Greens argue that the state should exercise its power to curtail the individual rights to these freedoms. The Green Party seems in opposition to Locke, for their claim is that all persons have “rights” that must be “afforded” to them, being the responsibility of others.

Historically, persons have had “access to income sufficient to meet their basic need and live in dignity” by conducting themselves properly with their talents, abilities, knowledge, and seeking of opportunities. The Greens claim that the “Government” should now take on the responsibility previously reserved to the individual, and must do so to protect the “right” of those that do not take on their personal responsibilities. One may ask, what dignity does an individual express when that individual will claim a “right” to “rob” another of their “property”.

“Given the wealth of Canada, basic income must be promoted from a perspective of abundance” the Greens claim. What “abundance” are they referring to? Canada has had chronic deficits since 1975 for a 2019 total of approx. $685 billion, and the 2020 closing level is estimated at $1.2 trillion. Before Covid, Canada spent $29 billion annually on debt financing. Today’s interest rates are at historic lows, largely due to world debt levels. Any increases in interest rates will be devastating to the world economy, so we are told.

The Greens claim that the basic income must be “accessible to all persons and not contingent on work or any other participation requirements”. This is definitely contrary to Locke’s ideas of freedom, that the individual has a right to “their own property”, whereas the Greens advocate that others have a right to “your property”. Since the government generally gains “property” by taking it from those who have “property”, it seems the Greens endorse higher taxation, that is, remove the “right” of the property owner to the use and disposal of their “property” and substituting the “right” of a “stranger” to the “use and disposal” of the original property owner’s “property”.

The Wynn Liberals initiated a “basic income pilot” in Ontario, and a guideline was a basic income of $34,000 annually for a single person. In such a case, it would appear that any single person would be entitled to that amount, which means such an individual would be paid $17/hr., have healthcare, daycare , affordable housing, education, pay equity, etc., and never work in their life. It would wipe out all minimum wage jobs, as any person has the “right” to the aforementioned amount. So much for entry level jobs, where the individual has the opportunity to learn, experience, and become competent for higher valued work.

“The basic income must be legislatively protected from garnishment by creditors and debt collectors” according to the Greens. I might then ask, what business would participate in extending any person on the “basic income” credit of any kind, if a business has no “right” to seek compensation for services or property contracted for?

According to CRA records for 2014, over 27.5 million people filed a tax return. Of that, over 9.1 million people paid no income tax at all. That means 18.4 million tax filers paid all the federal and provincial income tax that year, while one-third of filers paid zero. Those who should suffer at the hands of the Greens with a more “progressive tax”, that is, those making over $100,000, represent 8.5% of tax filers and pay 51.7% of the total income tax collected, while they earn 33% share of total income. Then they must still pay Provincial and municipal taxes. So you can see that the Greens seek votes by appealing to the 9.1 million who paid no income tax at all, as there are more potential votes there than from the 8.5% in the high income group, those who would be “pro- gressively taxed” to pay for the “Green Scheme”.

It should be noted that the “Greens” only put forward the “rights” of certain individuals, and, according to the article, never address their “responsibilities”. Neither do they address the “rights” of those the Greens would “plunder for their property”. The Greens would have the individual “abdicate” his responsibility and leave it to the “nanny state”, which is much wiser, to handle properly the individuals’ “responsibilities”.

I wish to conclude with some down to earth observations. During this Covid 19 epidemic, there are doctors and nurses risking their lives and family’s health and working phenomenal hours each week. I personally know of nurses that live in trailers, away from their families, in order to protect the health of their families. There are truckers who work 60 or more hours a week to keep the food and supplies flowing; there are hydro workers who keep the electricity flowing; there are managers who make less than $100,000 per annum and work 60 hours a week. Those are the exact people that the Greens desire to “progressively tax” and “rob them of their property”. All in their self-perceived claim of “righteousness”, claiming to hold to the higher moral ground, when, in reality, they rob the many individuals who work diligently with dedication to their profession and families. The position paper of the “Greens” is morally detestable.

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