Mark wadsworth killer arguments against citizen’s income, not (15) gas near me prices

1) There’s a difference between working because you want to (and enjoy it) and because you have to pay the bills. I don’t have to work, but I do. But equally I know I don’t have to so there is never the stress of having to. Its entirely different. Give people who currently have to work the chance not to, even for a slight pay cut, and many will grab it.

2) They are usually working in the black economy while claiming benefit, so such work is untaxed and unofficial, so not necessarily relevant to a UBI argument. Would such people take official taxed employment if they received a UBI instead of illegally claiming benefits? Maybe, maybe not. Particularly not if the marginal tax rates were higher – the incentive to continue in the black economy would be greater than today.

If on the other hand you could stay exactly where you were living, and have a UBI drop into your account each month with no strings attached and no hassle of dealing with the benefit system (which is a job in itself at times), then the work/not work calculation is far easier, it comes down purely to £££ vs leisure time etc, than a complete life upheaval (which going onto the current benefits system would entail).

This is a futile argument, you might as well argue against having a minimum voting age on the basis that if you set it "too high", only a few old age pensioners will be allowed to vote and if you set it "too low" then parents of young children will effectively get extra votes. Or against speed limits, on the basis that if set "too high" they will have no effect or set "too low" the country will grind to a halt.

The question that interests me is how to implement it. If I were a politician, I’d want to start small, say £50 week replacing unemployment benefit, and increase it gradually by folding other benefits into it, ironing out any problems as we go.

You need to identify every person in the country, to ensure people can’t claim twice. You need everyone’s bank details (people without a bank account should be forced to get one – everyone’s entitled to a Basic Account). It should probably be paid monthly.

"There’s a difference between working because you want to (and enjoy it) and because you have to pay the bills. I don’t have to work, but I do. But equally I know I don’t have to so there is never the stress of having to. Its entirely different. Give people who currently have to work the chance not to, even for a slight pay cut, and many will grab it."

What you appear to be saying is that, if CI is introduced, all those currently forced to do shit jobs for shit money might decide not to do them any more. However, that doesn’t mean that they will stop working. Instead, they will mostly do better jobs for possibly less money, i.e. be like you, with the CI taking the place of your private income. Poor people are not, despite what Mailexpressgraph readers think, a different species. Ok, people will either have to be paid more to do the shit jobs or they could be done by (shudder) immigrants, who don’t get CI.

Complete non-sequiter. People working and claiming have to work for cash, duh. That doesn’t mean that if they suddenly were allowed to work and claim under a CI system they would either stop working or continue to work for cash. The point is, which you are dodging, is that the incentive is there to work, despite such work being illegal and the worker being already in receipt of a subsistence income. How much the illegal worker gets is neither here nor there, and the difference that paying tax makes is solely to the amount taken home.

Anybody who earns less than the current tax free allowance is already paying no tax. Under CI, they would pay tax on every penny they earn. Besides, you (deliberately?) miss my point that it would be better for employers to get rid of the lazy sods so that they can eat nik-naks and play computer games at home and replace them with more industrious types who will be much happier working for low wages because of their CI.

Again you (deliberately?) miss my point. The fact that people do voluntary unpaid work shows that the incentive is there to work, regardless of the money angle. I wasn’t suggesting that suddenly lots of people would give up working to become volunteers, although some might, see my point 4.

On the work angle, I’d like to mention that there are a lot of people who are currently working at raising children and caring for disabled or elderly relatives without any pay at the moment. A UBI isn’t going to make those people give up work. It will just ensure that they get some reward for the essential jobs they do.

Agreed, HMRC are the best people to do this, if you are getting the UBI in cash, then you get a PAYE code with no personal allowance. Most people are in work and will get the UBI netted off with PAYE liabilities by their employer i.e. will get a suitably calculated personal allowance.

Why should anyone be forced to do anything? The child benefit system worked for decades being paid out in cash at post offices with a minimal amount of fraud. Indeed, it is much more difficult to commit fraud when dealing with a real person over the counter than it is when dealing with a computer over the internet. The amount of people who don’t have a bank account these days is pretty small, so the additional costs of having a cash system for them will be correspondingly tiny.

BJ, In the short term you’d get a lot of homeless people. The homeless people would end up in temporary housing, paid for by the LA, which would cost more than the housing benefit. The smart landlords would "convert" their flats and houses to temporary accommodation and make more money doing the same thing. No more social housing would be built, for exactly the same reasons as it is not being built now.

It helps if you stop thinking of unemployment benefit and housing benefit as charity paid by a beneficent state. If you think instead that these benefits are paid to prevent there being a large pool of desperate people who would riot at the drop of a hat, then payment of HB to everyone below a certain income makes sense. The other answer is, of course to build more social housing, but that’s not politically expedient at the moment.

BJ, HB for private landlords is the worst benefit of course. There’s no reason not to have some social housing available at low rents (for twenty, thirty percent of households?), but these ought to be in lower rent areas (can still be physically nice buildings), not bloody Kensington & Chelsea, so social rent would not be much above ‘market’ rent anyway, no misallocation and no sub-letting.