Editor: There is much talk and debate among federal political leaders these days about the economic condition of the broadly defined voter-rich middle class.
Too bad there wasn’t as much concern about the plight of the 15 per cent of the population that live below the poverty line and have zero net worth. Those folks would dearly love to be in the economic shoes of any part of the middle class even if it is true that group is not presently doing as well as it should.
Among the many problems of the poor is getting politicians to pay attention to them. They have no lobby and many of them do not vote. Even fewer of them will likely be voting in 2015 if present proposed legislation passes into law. However, at one recent political event the poor did get significant attention and were offered at least a ray of hope.
The federal Liberal Party at its February convention in Montreal adopted a priority resolution put forward by the P.E.I. delegation calling for a Liberal government to work with the provinces and territories to design and implement a national guaranteed basic income program. Hopefully, this resolution will become a major plank of the Liberal Party’s platform for the 2015 federal election campaign.
I hope that Conservatives and the NDP will also make it a part of their platforms. Eliminating poverty shouldn’t be a partisan issue and a GAI offers something for those on both the right and the left.
Anyone who wants to know more about beneficial possibilities of a guaranteed annual income should read about the research of University of Manitoba economist Dr. Evelyn Forget regarding a Canadian GAI experiment that took place during the mid- to late 70s. Her study found that even a very modest GIA with a 50 per cent clawback resulted in significant reductions in health-care costs and improved education outcomes.