08 March 2017

What "universal income" means to Julia Cagé, economic advisor to Benoit Hamon

[This will probably be the last of my Hamon campaign Englishings, at least until (hopefully) the candidate gets to the 2nd round of voting in May.  I find Cagé's French very accessible, so I selected her as a good surrogate voice for Hamon.]

For me, the universal subsistence income is the social safety net for the 21st century, accompanied by a return to giving labor its due value and an increase in the lowest wages.  It's an income that will be distributed to all French people of 18 years of age and older, in an automatic way, on a monthly schedule.  It comes into play for people who have no income, but it also comes into play for those who earn a wage that is too little, whose work is poorly paid.  For example, with the universal income, someone in that category could see their wage increased by 200 euros:  so, a universal social protection ... (digression about the C.I.C.E.) .... to sum up, the universal income is a guarantee to you, backed up and made automatic by the state, that you won't ever again be in a situation of poverty.  Those who think that this will lead to laziness or mass idleness are, unfortunately, people disconnected from reality.   You can't live at all easily on 600 euros a year; of course this is not going to fully substitute for work.  On the contrary, it's simply a stabilizing balance brought in -- because I think, in the 21st century, we just can't take it for granted that society will pick up the slack.  All those who have the right to it will tap into it; they won't have to ask, they'll get it every month, so it'll increase their net wages.  It'll make their work pay better, and encourage them to keep working.

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