Swiss citizens will soon be voting in a referendum to decide if every adult citizen should be guaranteed a monthly income of $2800. Even children will get $615 each month for living expenses. It sounds like a lot but because Switzerland has such a high cost of living, it’s actually not enough to live on. So people won’t be quitting their jobs. But if it passes, it certainly will be a sizable and welcome supplement to the family budget.
This is an example of the “share the wealth” mentality that is central to our Peace Dividend proposal.
Of course, the Peace Dividend is a one-time stipend, rather than a recurring minimum income. And the Peace Dividend further differs from the Swiss proposal in it is really a refund of money that was taken from the American public under false pretenses and misappropriated.
At the same time, people in America seem to shrink in horror from the concept that the government, even as a widely accepted agent for enforcing principles of fairness and justice, might actually issue checks to its citizens. It’s a fear of “creeping socialism”, a symptom of nonsensical brainwashing. Strange that these same people aren’t horrified when the government writes checks to military contractors for equipment the country doesn’t need, to prosecute wars the country doesn’t need to fight, and to defend us from ourselves by creating a police surveillance state where our every phone call and email message is monitored and recorded.
The simple truth is, allocation of resources and distribution of wealth are historically among a government’s most basic functions — whether it was a King in the 16th Century making land available to peasant farmers, or it is the Bureau of Land Management today permitting grazing or drilling rights. We also can’t help but notice the misguided application of this responsibility, as with the huge, often unwarranted subsidies given by our government to the fossil fuel and pharmaceutical companies.
On a more positive note, in Norway the earnings from the country’s vast oil production industry is put in a public trust. That money is held in reserve for all citizens to benefit from. Based on the enormous size of that trust and the relative small population, in Norway a newborn child comes into the world a millionaire. The trust pays for everything from education to health care for Norwegian citizens.
America is the richest country in the world. Maybe it’s not yet ready psychologically for a guaranteed minimum income, as is being entertained by Switzerland. But surely we can at least feel comfortable about each of us getting the $18,064 essentially stolen from taxpayers since 1992 and run through the military-industrial complex money shredder.