Sunday, April 30, 2006

End Welfare Create A Living Wage

It was a policy of the NDP and Red Liberals in the 1960's to call for a Guaranteed Annual Income, a social wage. Today we call it a Living Wage.

Quick. What radical social policy has had the support of the Liberal Party, the former Reform Party, the NDP, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, free-market economist Milton Friedman, the Canadian Council on Social Development, the Canadian Manufacturers Association, certain taxpayers and poverty groups, and even Richard Nixon when he was president? The guaranteed annual income. No, I would not have guessed it either. If such a radical idea attracts such a motley crew, two thoughts come to the cynical mind: they can't all be talking about the same thing; and, why don't we have it yet?Guaranteed annual income

Whether you call it a GAI or LW it is the same, a social wage based on the value of each person in Canada. Real welfare reform can only be made through a policy of GAI/LW.

As a recent CCPA study of Welfare Rates in B.C. shows;
There is currently no rhyme or reason to how welfare rates are set,” says Steve Kerstetter, author of A Better Way to Set Welfare Rates, also released today by the CCPA, “In theory, welfare incomes are supposed to cover the basic necessities of life. In practice, they are set arbitrarily by the provincial cabinet with no regard for the actual cost of living.”

Whether it is provinical minimum wages or AISH or welfare, the fact remains that these social wage programs do not meet the needs or real social value/social captial of Canadians.

That can only be met with a social wage, as studies done by the Federal Government have shown. HRDC/SRC studies found that single mothers on welfare got jobs and stayed in those jobs if their welfare benefits WERE NOT CUT OFF. That allowed them both cash and benefits supplements to their minimum wage. In other words it created a social wage, a GAI or living wage.

That this study has been ignored is an understatement. As all such studies have shown, the working poor, who pay taxes, are hurt most by government tax credit programs, becuase the benefits are aimed at those who earn less than poverty levels, while those who work for minimum wages earn just above the poverty level.
Income Poverty in Canada: Recent Trends among Canadian Families 1981-2002

In earning this amount, their benefits and tax credits get clawed back. Such will be the case when the Harpocrites issue their baby bonus, child credit. The working poor who need all the money they can get will face a double burdern, they will lose their existing tax credit for children, because the Harpocrite baby bonus is taxable income, and will boost their earnings above the current Liberal child tax credit means. Secondly they will then be ripped off because the $1200 will be taxed income.

In order to have genuine social reform of welfare and all income assistance programs, which affect women in particular whether as single mothers or seniors surviving their spoouses, we need to have a GAI.
Why Women Would Gain from a Guaranteed Livable Income

This is something that was supposed to have happened by now, but continually is placed on the back burner because it affects women as social wage earners who do not get paid for their social labour.
Whose Family Values? Women and the Social Reproduction of Capitalism


GAI-Forum Info Page

Rise of Capitalism and Social Welfare

Welfare Reforms in Canada

Also see:

Living Wage articles

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