On the 24th August Larry Elliott, while discussing the Eurozone crisis, wrote this in the Guardian:
The two different processes result in different expenditure patterns and therefore in different effects on the economy. An increase in a household’s weekly income is likely to translate into higher consumption of basic goods and services and is therefore likely to benefit the local and national economies. An annual windfall is more likely to be spent on imported goods.
We have another suggestion to make in relation to Larry Elliott’s article. To pay the cheque to the poorest 80% poorest households will mean working out which those are. Existing means-testing administrations (for Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, etc.) are unlikely to be able to do that job, so an additional means-testing administration would be required: an unnecessary and onerous burden both for households and for Europe’s national governments. To give an income to every household in Europe would be simpler and therefore cheaper – but we would still need to work out who was living with whom. Even simpler, and therefore even cheaper, would be to give a cheque to every individual in Europe: and once the process existsed, it will be just as easy to pay a weekly income as to pay a one-off or annual one.
A Europe-wide Citizen’s Income would be of substantial benefit to European society and to its economy, and to the economy and society of every European nation. It really is worth a try. We look forward to seeing more on this idea.