Basic Income/Negative Income Tax

Greece to Test Minimum Guaranteed Income Program

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TaxRebate.org.uk/Flickr

Greek Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis announced yesterday that the country will be testing a "minimum guaranteed income" (MGI) measure for Greek citizens living in poverty. The country's current social welfare system is inefficient and incomplete, said Vroutsis, but the MGI "is the pillar of the social solidarity of tomorrow."

The pilot program will be implemented in 13 municipalities for six months. Participating individuals will receive 200 euros per month, plus an additional 100 euros per adult in the household and 50 euros per child.

Some version of a minimum guaranteed income plan—also called a basic income guarantee (BIG) or negative income tax—has been gaining tepid but bipartisan support in America. The proposal has managed to capture the imaginations of conservatives, progressives, and libertarians alike, although each tend to lend support for different reasons and envision a different finished product. The appeal from a conservative or libertarian perspective is that a basic income guarantee program could replace our current bloated, labyrynthian, work-disincentivizing welfare scheme (including everything from food stamps to unemployment benefits to Social Security) with one program that costs less, runs more smoothly, and empowers individuals to use benefits how they, not federal officials, see fit. 

This is not the income program that Greece is implementing. For one thing, Greece's program is designed solely for people with little to no income; the mimimum income plans en vogue here tend to involve a no-strings attached cash benefit for all Americans, regardless of income. And while proposals here—at least from the libertarian and conservative camps—hinge on eliminating other, function-specific social welfare programs, Greek leaders seem to view the MGI as an additional pillar of the country's welfare scheme. Greek Deputy Prime Minister* Evangelos Venizelos stressed that the MGI was "the minimum, it is not enough." 

* an earlier version of this post misstated Venizelos' title as vice president

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  1. Wow – this sounds like a genius idea for a broke country with a poor record of financial freedom and liberty.

    Can’t wait to see how it works out.

    1. Greeks aren’t already lazy enough, and need the government to help.

      And how long before there are demands that illegal immigrants be able to get this?

      1. “Roll me over and put the money in my back pocket – I’m napping!”

    2. Good timing too!

      Greece Is In Full-Blown Stock Market Collapse-

      http://www.businessinsider.com/greece-down-2014-10

      1. Aaaaaaand we’re back to 2008. I’m calling it: we are going right back to that much-needed recession however it won’t effect the whole world at once. As the world economy gets less ‘co-ordinated’ Europe will be in a different place from America.

        1. My prediction is that the US will hold out for a bit as the EU goes to shit, but soon enough we’ll fall off the perch, precipitated by the higher ed bubble.

    3. Hey, when you hit rock bottom the only solution is to keep digging.

  2. And while proposals here?at least from the libertarian and conservative camps?hinge on eliminating other, function-specific social welfare programs

    It’s soooooo libertartian to replace one statist program with another.

    No. Eliminate all of it. Burn it down. If that’s not the objective, ur doin it wrong.

    1. Curse you! Not only were you faster, you had italics as well!

      I DEMAND A GUARANTEED FIRST POST OF A THOUGHT!!!

      1. All for one and one for all!

        That’s sooooooo libertarian!

        1. I believe it was the great Milton Friedman who once said “Make it rain ya’ll. I gots ta get dat gubmint chedda son. Ya herd meh?”

          1. Well, to be fair, he was in the Champagne Room at the time.

            1. “There is no Champagne in the Champagne Room.”

    2. It’s libertarian to reduce the head count of the public sector unions.

      If you spend exactly the same number of tax-extorted dollars on two programs, but program A employs 500,000 federal and state workers and program B employs 1,000, program A is less libertarian than program B.

      At the end of the day, the state is people sitting around in buildings calling themselves the state. If you fire the people and shutter the buildings, that is “less state”.

      1. This. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the somewhat better.

        1. Didn’t say “don’t do it”. Just please don’t tell me how “libertarian” it is. Cause it’s not.

          1. Unless you consult nearly every important libertarian thinker of the past 100 years.

              1. No no, it’s true — for the right definition of “important libertarian thinker”.

          2. It’s pure utilitarianism and moral relativism. It’s like saying Mussolini’s Italy is more libertarian than Hitler’s Germany so therefore we should all put on our black shirts and praise the timely train service.

            1. Godwinning.

              1. I reduced to Mussolini actually. But as usual you have no valid rebuttal.

              2. Godwinning

                More like THREADWINNING, amirite??!

            2. Heh… interesting analogy, since Mises did say pretty much that when it was fascists vs communists.

      2. But what actually happens is that A and B coexist.

        1. And pretty soon B has 500,000 employees too.

  3. Oh boy, that sure sounds libertarian!

    “We are going to take money from you, by force! Then we will route it through the G, and send it out to everyone!” What is not to love???

  4. The bloat and inefficiency are features, not bugs. Implementing a program that actually addresses those features will be roundly condemned for throwing people out of work.
    To say nothing of the private muttering to the effect of ‘how can we provide work for our cronies now?’

  5. the pillar of the social solidarity of tomorrow

    No more masks. The language is straight from Stalin.

  6. No way this “test” ends unless Greek politicians are willing to lose elections to do so.

  7. Totally offtopic, but why isn’t Reason running more pieces on GamerGate? It’s total clickbait, videogaming is Tr?s Millenial, and it gives us a chance to jeer at SJW types who want to have free-speech-gutting “conversations” about video gaming.

    1. There’s nothing else to say that hasn’t been said.

      1. Just missed

        *mic drop*

      2. That’s when it’s best to beat it to death.

        1. Death has never stopped us from beating a horse.

    2. They ran one post on a weekend that got like 600+ comments. Yes, it is click bat but it also offends other journalists and Reason is loath to that

      1. I thought she implied more.

    3. When gamers get a -gate life in America is seriously fucked.

    4. Because both sides on Gamergate are odious and only concerned with scoring internet hate points?

      1. That’s just ignorance on your part.

        1. +50 hate points

        2. Probably so. I haven’t taken an interest in it because my brief experiences revealed that as a non-progressive woman, both sides want to make an example of me.

          1. GG really doesn’t. Read the GG article.

            1. I have. I have no problems with the stated goals of GG. Or, for that matter, the SJWs. The problem is that their stated goals, in my experience, have nothing to do with their actions.

              I realize that it is just my limited experience, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      2. Excellent

      3. It’s probably fairer to say that both sides are large enough that they contain some odious people, and both sides have seen fit to portray these odious people as the face of the other side.

        1. Oh, you mean this thing.

  8. Greek leaders seem to view the MGI as an additional pillar of the country’s welfare scheme.

    Yes, because that will solve Greece’s woes.

    1. additional pillar

      HA! Called it!

  9. Greek Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis announced yesterday that the country will be testing a “minimum guaranteed income” (MGI) measure for Greek citizens living in poverty

    If the Greeks, like many other European nations had such lavish welfare and pension benefits, how on earth could anyone in the country be living in poverty?

  10. “…it is not enough.”

    Is it ever?

    No mention about where the money is coming from…..

      1. Forget it…he’s rolling…

      2. I was gonna make a joke about this announcement making every asshole in Germany go into spasms, but I wasn’t sure if the Krauts were still footing the bill for the Greeks.

    1. You know who else thought it wasn’t enough?

      1. Echo and the Bunnymen?

      2. Peter North?

      3. Lindsay Buckingham? No.. wait..

  11. The Greeks don’t want to leave their poor countrymen’s behinds.

    1. Sure took a long time to get to an anal joke.

      1. Finally!!!

  12. This post has nothing to do with pot, Mexicans, ass sex, OR abortion.

    Bad, Elizabeth! BAD! BAD! BAD!

    1. I thought the article was about greek.

      1. Don’t be such an ouzo.

        1. Oh now you have to bring the gaze into it.

            1. Skinny gaiz – PERFECT

              1. Only if they’re also buff.

              2. Great, you made Swiss narrow his gaze so much that he can’t see the keyboard!

  13. Participating individuals will receive 200 euros per month, plus an additional 100 euros per adult in the household and 50 euros per child.

    IOW, 300 euros per adult per month and 250 euros per child?

    I suppose each senior *pays* 550 per month. Each *German* senior, that is.

    1. Oh, Hello, *Francisco*.

  14. Watching the financial news in Europe; CNBC gets one guy pointing out that markets have been reacting to gov’t promises rather than performance; he gets the hook.
    Then they go to a guy who pitches better work by the central bankers (more free money!) to ‘fix’ things.
    Third up is some guy who mentions that the PIGS are now performing like the major Euro econs, but it’s because the major ones are now as sorry as the PIGS.
    Finally we get the story that Greece is not even keeping up with the PI(x)S, (7% bond rate !!!!); the market is correcting as some idjit lefty might become PM. Shame they didn’t mention this bit of idiocy.

    1. some idjit lefty might become PM

      Former president of a Communist successor party.

  15. The appeal from a conservative or libertarian perspective is that a basic income guarantee program could replace our current bloated, labyrynthian, work-disincentivizing welfare scheme (including everything from food stamps to unemployment benefits to Social Security) with one program that costs less, runs more smoothly, and empowers individuals to use benefits how they, not federal officials, see fit.

    From a “libertarian perspective” then, we should vociferously support a proposal to fingerbang every man woman an child but once in a lifetime in exchange for not being fingerbanged every time you fly. It’s a hypothetically better outcome, right?

    Perhaps the ‘libertarians’ of FDR’s day should have lent their unswerving support to an 89% tax rate because it’s better than a 90% tax rate. Or maybe “libertarians” should have supported the “internment” of only 95% of Japanese Americans, because that’s better than interning 100%. Even if we could be reasonably sure those promises would be kept, self-described libertarians have no business supporting those policies.

    Principles of liberty are not to be subjected to utilitarian haggling with slavers, murderers and plunderers. Leave that to conservatives who can count themselves among the ranks of the latter.

    1. Or maybe “libertarians” should have supported the “internment” of only 95% of Japanese Americans

      No, we should have demanded they also intern everyone of German descent, too. Boom, I’m here all fall.

      Principles of liberty are not to be subjected to utilitarian haggling with slavers, murderers and plunderers. Leave that to conservatives who can count themselves among the ranks of the latter.

      You just dogwhistled for everyone to scold you on the possible vs. the perfect.

    2. “In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.”

      1. There’s ‘comprise’ and then ‘choosing the best option’. Did you know Ayn Rand voted for Nixon?

        1. So you’re literally saying that’s even a possible option? So upon implementation of a guaranteed welfare income program, the progressives will for all time stop their pursuit of a total welfare state? Why, it sounds like guaranteed income is all we need to get a fully libertarian society.

          /explosive derp

          1. ‘Explosive Derp’ is right because that’s all you bring. You just made up an argument I never made at all.

            1. I seem to recall you writing:

              There’s ‘comprise’ and then ‘choosing the best option’.

              If it’s not even an option, it’s not a compromise. Using “guaranteed income” as the ultimate check on the growth of government is almost as absurd as believing that the leftist ideologies will forever halt their expansion of the state.

              You did in fact make a derptastic argument laden with derpy assumptions, as described.

              1. I never said I supported ‘guaranteed income’ I was speaking more generally. Can you just…leave? You’re just here to make an ass of yourself.

                1. We’re talking about the guaranteed income. Like you know the subject of the article and thread?

                  There’s ‘comprise’ and then ‘choosing the best option’.

                  What fucking “compromise” or “option” do you think is being discussed? “General compromise”?

                  How nice that you get to decree what is being discussed after it gets inconvenient to continue on with your absurd argument.

        2. One wonders if McGovern would have created the EPA.

          1. It was created in 1970, natch.

    3. As I often say around here, we are not in the semi-socialized mess we’re in because socialists stayed true to their core beliefs, or because there was a socialist revolution, or because the Socialist Party won elections. We’re here because Fabian Socialists continually compromised, for generations, working within established parties, and eventually got what they wanted.

      That’s why we need Fabian Libertarians: don’t lose sight of your goals, but yes, compromise if it gets you one step closer to your goals.

      1. People like Free Society are narcissists. Every movement has these people who’d rather jack off to how awesome they are for being straight and pure.

        That being said, I am not a fan of the minimum income.

        1. I’m a narcissist because I don’t support a dumbfuck proposal from fantasy land? If I am a narcissist, at least I’m a libertarian one which is more than we can say for your ilk.

          1. No, that’s not why.

      2. Correct me if my memory serves me wrong, Papaya, but haven’t you shifted from libertarian-leaning Republican to vanilla libertarian?

        Why “compromise” when people slowly come around our way by exposure…or is it osmosis?

        1. If pressed, I’d say something like “moderate libertarian,” because I am wary of trying to impose any ideological purity onto messy reality, and because I’m willing to compromise.

          I have never considered myself a Republican, though I have sometimes voted that way.

            1. PapayaSF thinks Eminent Domain is a-okay if it’s necessary for a pipeline and thinks freedom of movement doesn’t extend to icky furriers. He’s a moderate something but it ain’t libertarian.

              1. Hey! My maternal great-grandfather was a furrier. He was also a foreigner, but that’s beside the point.

              2. Foreigners can move all over the place if they want, but no, I don’t think everyone can or should move here, because filling the US with Third World peasants who will vote for more socialism and Muslims who want Sharia doesn’t advance the cause of liberty.

      3. We are philosophically correct, and the statists are wrong. However, being right frequently conveys no real world benefits whatsoever, and knowing what the correct outcome should be doesn’t mean you have any idea how to cause that outcome to happen.

      4. I think you have this backward. ALl this shit happened because ostensible “conservatives and libertarians” slowly gave ground to the libprogs on EVERYTHING, ALWAYS, because “compromizzee!”

        And here we are.

        No thanks. I’m done. Yes, I’ll take incrementalism if that’s ALL I can get. But to even think about going for this “if everything else goes away” is just stupid. Cause everything else is not going away. So I oppose all of it. Burn it the fuck DOWN..

        If I manage to burn a little of it down…I’m OK with that. Rampant incrementalism.

        See how that works?

        1. True, compromise should not only be in a statist direction. I’m not saying “Give the statists what they want incrementally.” I’m saying that incrementalism can work in the political arena, and so rather than spouting off about libertarian daydreams that scare off 90% of voters (“Just end Social Security and Medicare and the rest of the welfare state!”), we need smaller-scale libertarian-minded proposals that can be sold to voters, and that when successful, can be used as evidence for even more of them.

          1. Another thing we can steal from the left’s playbook is to pretend that every niche interest is best served by furthering our interests, and delegitimizing all the competing solutions as immoral half-measures.

            1. I’d be happy if every federal program was split into the leftist version and the libertarian version, and we tested them to see which did better.

        2. It’s one thing to begrudgingly mutter that your slightly diminished tax burden is better than the slightly higher rate you were paying. It’s another to stand up at the podium and announce “Hey libertarians let’s all actively work to erect a new welfare institution because a handful of lefties have promised to make all the other lefties never again expand the welfare state!”

          It’s not a compromise, it’s a utilitarian fantasy from Whore Island.

  16. Greece is about to collapse so who cares what they do?

  17. It’s not freedom unless you’re scolding and punishing people for their poverty. Freedom means sticking your big fat nose into the private lives of poor people and adjudicating their moral worth based on how they spend their time. And, of course, children must starve for their parents’ moral failings. Freedom!!

    1. Yeah, shitstain, this has nothing to do with prosperity, it has to do with whatever lie you come up with next.

    2. Poverty justifies theft. Got it.

      1. If taxation is theft then you don’t get any of the things you want from government either.

        1. You mean, no roadz??? :-O

        2. …what?

          1. No property rights. You get to steal shit from somebody else and defend it with whatever weapons you can get your hands on. If taxation is theft then you can’t expect me to help pay for police and courts to protect your claim to your shit. You not being able to claim a piece of land as yours is most certainly not a more pressing social concern than starving children.

            1. No property rights. You get to steal shit from somebody else and defend it with whatever weapons you can get your hands on.

              You assume only a monopolistic expropriator of property is not only qualified to protect property, but is the only option.

              1. I don’t suppose it’s the only option, merely the best. I don’t believe true anarchy is possible. There are plenty of unpleasant alternatives to democratic government that might work to secure property claims.

                1. There are plenty of unpleasant alternatives to democratic government that might work to secure property claims.

                  Yes once again, you assume a monopolistic expropriator is best and only. A democratic state is still a state last I checked.

            2. Y’all don’t forget, if the Tonster had his way he would dispose of property rights altogether. This is just the prattling of a lying socialist.

        3. My wanting something justifies theft. Got it.

          1. Theft only makes sense as a concept in an environment in which property is defined and defended legally. Taxation cannot be theft, because both are defined by law. With no law, there is neither taxation nor theft. What’s yours is what you say is yours, and will soon be what someone else says is his.

            1. Theft is justified by LAW. Got it.

            2. If one guy robs you, that’s theft.

              If a bunch of Mafia guys rob you, that’s also theft.

              But if thousands of strangers vote for representatives who take a vote and decide to rob you, that’s not theft?

              Why? Because more people are involved?

              1. Because we are the government.

                1. Government is just the stuff we steal together.

            3. Taxation cannot be theft, because both are defined by law. With no law, there is neither taxation nor theft.

              Law =/= reality.

              Retard.

              1. In Tonyworld, government authority is the only authority that matters. What government says is law and that’s it.

                Taxes? Pay them.
                Opinions? Only if the government says it’s ok.
                Dissent? Not allowed.

                All of this and more is completely legitimate because the government passed legislation making it so.

            4. Taxation cannot be theft, because both are defined by law.

              It cannot be valid law unless it’s universally applicable and taxation by it’s very nature is not universally applicable. By your standard you must believe that no Jews were murdered by the Nazi government because the Nazi government unilaterally declared that it wasn’t murder to kill them. It was legal, so no crime right?

              With no law, there is neither taxation nor theft.

              With no statist law, there is neither rape nor consensual sex. Without a state, you don’t even own yourself apparently.

    3. ? Strawman Queen!

      ? Strawman Queen!

      ? He is the Strawman Queeeeeen!

      1. Freedom means sticking your big fat nose into the private lives of poor people

        Wait, we don’t actually support this??

        1. In the Tonyverse, any reluctance to robbing Peter to pay Paul is proof of hating Paul, not the robbing.

  18. No-strings-attached cash handouts totally work: http://www.spur.org/publicatio…..e-not-cash

    1. When they ended that program in SF, we were told that the poor would be starving in the streets. Not only did that not happen, but it turned out people were driving in from out of town (as far away as Reno) to pick up their cash.

    2. You certainly commented on the right post.

  19. Huh, so far I’ve only heard one guy on CNBC talking about fundamentals of the market, while everyone just tries to be a sportscaster and talk about how this or that segment will execute in the next game.

    I don’t care what the market does next week vs this crappy week, the fact that the FED owns 26% of the US economy and the largest percentage of able-bodied people in history are being paid not to work are NOT good fundamentals. Will “The Dow” do well despite these fundamentals? Sure, for a while, maybe.

    1. Yeah, this. Totally

    2. Nor is the stock market at all an indicator of economic health when the feds are essentially forcing people to invest in it. It’s like saying the economy is doing great by looking at the increased number of health insurance policies being sold after the government mandates you buy coverage. It’s a zero-sum indicator, that wealth was necessarily being pulled out of other markets.

  20. When Clinton signed off on welfare reform., progs went nuts. Marian Wright Edelman said a million black children would starve. Didn’t happen.

    1. Too bad that welfare reform was pretty marginal. Libertarians and conservatives alike spent too much of the ’90s gloating and doing victory dances.

      1. We pretty much rolled back that welfare reform by expanding SSDI, didn’t we?

        1. Yarp. I believe the disability rolls grew in almost exact proportion to the shrinkage of welfare.

        2. A compromise for the ages or until whenever we decide to change it.

      2. Too bad that welfare reform was pretty marginal. Libertarians and conservatives alike spent too much of the ’90s gloating and doing victory dances.

        Well that’s because the progressives went nuts. If I post a picture of a funny looking cat, and the progressives go apeshit, I’m probably going to think that posting pictures of funny looking cats is a winning strategy.

  21. “$50 per child”

    In other news, Greece is experiencing a baby boom the likes of which the world has never seen.

  22. Another case of a government breaking legs then handing out crutches.

  23. Don’t tell me, let me guess: They will NOT be eliminating any existing welfare programs, they will be stacking this atop them.

    could replace our current bloated, labyrynthian, work-disincentivizing welfare scheme

    Riiight, because the Free Shit crowd won’t scream bloody murder the second you touch anything.

    One has to wonder where Greece will steal the money to fund this.

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