Basic Income COURIER

Title
Call for an immediate introduction of UBI during pandemic
See this on blogsite

The corona pandemic has clearly shown worldwide the need for permanent measures that could prevent not just people's poverty but the worst economical consequences of such sudden crises which could be serious enough to become a global security issue. One of the preventive measures is an Unconditional Basic Income, which is popularly called kodanikupalk (a citizen's salary) in Estonia.






It is time to abandon the search for crooked paths and bureaucratic
solutions to keep legal bodies artificially alive. Instead, we must
immediately start protecting peope, which is the only morally
possible choice. We call the government to look for ways in which
Estonia can use its unconditional basic income independently and
operatively in an emergency. The materials of the research
initiative, which was rejected in the last autumn, may be helpful,
but now there is no more time for calm analysis or any regional
experiments.





At the same time, we
call the President, the Riigikogu and the government, as well as
Estonian Members of European Parliament, to publicly support calls
for the introduction of a (emergency) UBI throughout the European
Union and / or to create an EU financial instrument to support it.
The petition of the European UBI network UBIE in the portal wemove.eu
has collected more than 130 thousand statements of support across the
European Union in just couple of weeks.





The Americans were
the first to show that they understood the gravity of the situation.
The stimulus package approved by the US Congress is a cautious but
still bold step, given the prejudices in society. We welcome the
UBI-like measures already taken or planned by the United States, the
United Kingdom and other countries, in the hope that they would be an
encouraging precedent for Brussels, Kadriorg and Toompea..





Of course, we thank
our fellow citizens who, under the leadership of Clara
Pope-Sutherland, in her public letter to the President, the
Government and the Health Board on 30 March, emphasized, among other
things, the need to introduce a UBI. At the same time, we are very
disappointed that among all media channels only Kanal2 / Postimees TV
“Reporter” considered it reflectable and the content of the
letter cannot be consulted in the document registry of any relevant
authority. We do not know whether the amount of the UBI was also
proposed in their address, but the thousand euros a month mentioned
in the video story is as arguable as any other amount. Therefore, no
specific numbers are offered in any of the petitions. However, the
general view of UBI advocates is that it should cover at least the
necessary living expenses, allow for a modest but dignified life and
be an active member of society.





Providing people
with such a steady monthly income, independent of other incomes, will
also help many companies, especially those that provide daily vital
products and services, to survive such crises without direct state
support. In any case, the money paid to an individual goes to
business through consumption, in the case of unpaid compulsory leave,
only wages are lost, not all income, as the state payments covering
basic needs remains. Thus, it seems very unlikely that companies and
other organizations that have been forced to suspend their
activities, including the cessation of all wages, will also need
state support when people get UBI. Needless to say how important for
small-businesses and the self-employed is such „money for nothing”
paid to individuals.





Given the nature of
the crisis, it even seems inappropriate to ask whether to pay a UBI
only to citizens or to all legal residents. Undoubtedly, in the long
run, it must be avoided, the introduction of this idea in a way that
would make Estonia (and the entire European Union) a magnet for
welfare tourism and thus, among other things, distort the demographic
picture to the detriment of indigenous peoples. However, it is
obvious that in the current situation, the state cannot leave any of
its inhabitants to fate. And the borders are closed.





Imagine our society
as a boat with a dozen people sitting and a couple of "targeted"
lifebuoys (for those who "really need it"). Now, let's
imagine that instead of these two lifebuoys, everyone is wearing a
life jacket, regardless of their swimming skills or ability to stay
afloat. We believe we don’t need to say which trip is safe.