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Basic Income Gets Turned Down

 Voters in Switzerland decided not to accept an offer of a basic monthly income for all citizens. 

| BY Kent McDill

Given the chance to have a guaranteed income for all citizens, the people of Switzerland said “no thanks”.

Voting on a proposal for the Swiss government to offer all citizens a “basic income’’ of approximately $2,500 per month, 77 percent of the voters rejected the idea.  

The referendum offered every adult citizen of Switzerland to receive a guaranteed income from the government of what equals $2,500 a month. Anyone working and making less than $2,500 a month would be paid the difference monthly, while those not working would get the full amount.

The Basic Income would replace what stands for Switzerland’s welfare programs. The income would also be untaxed.

Basic Income is already in existence in Finland, and has been discussed in Italy and France as well. According to the website, a pilot study for basic income in Oakland is being conducted by a San Francisco firm.

Those who opposed the plan said it was too expensive (costing the Swiss government $25 billion francs annually) and would kill the incentive to find work for the unemployed or find better work for the underemployed. Proponents of the referendum said the payments would benefit the thousands of Swiss people who are being put out of work by advances in technology, and would allow people being underpaid or improperly utilized at work to quit their jobs and have time to find new employment.

Switzerland does not have a national minimum wage. It does, however, have a high standard of living, with 80 percent of its people between the ages of 15 and 64 gainfully employed. Swiss citizens have a life expectancy of 83, which is way above the average as determined by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD says the average household adjusted disposable income per capita is $35,952. A person receiving the basic income annually would receive $30,000.

Basic Income came to the referendum stages thanks to the Swiss law that allows for a vote on any topic in which more than 100,000 eligible voters sign a petition to request a vote. The initial proposal came more than two years ago, in October 2013, and was voted on Sunday.

Proponents of Basic Income say it would strengthen the rights of workers who would have the option of leaving their job if they are in bad conditions, and thus cause employers to provide better treatment for their workers.

The government’s Federal Council and Parliament posted on its website the negatives surrounding the referendum, saying “this would exacerbate the existing labor and skills shortage in Switzerland. Furthermore, considerable cutbacks or tax rises would be necessary to finance this basic income, which could not replace today’s social security system entirely.”



About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.