By David Henderson
Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to give the entire population of the country enough money to live on, according to exit polls.
A projection provided to the public broadcaster RTS said 78% had voted against all Swiss citizens, along with foreigners who have been residents in Switzerland for at least five years, being given a universal basic income, or UBI.
This is from “Swiss voters reject proposal to give basic income to every adult and child,” The Guardian, June 5, 2016.
More detail about the proposal, from the same news story:
The amount to be paid was not determined, but the non-political group behind the initiative had suggested paying CHF2,500 (£1,765) a month to each adult, and CHF625 (£445) for each child.
Authorities have estimated an additional CHF25bn (£17.6bn) would be needed annually to cover the costs, requiring deep spending cuts or significant tax increases.
One CHF is 1.02 U.S. dollars. So the spending increase would be over $3,000 per Swiss resident annually. I would have thought the added spending would be much more per person annually, given that the amount of the subsidy for adults is over $30,000 a year and the amount for children is over $7,000 a year. Maybe there’s an income cutoff for receipt of the welfare payment.
I estimated in “A Philosophical Economist’s Case against a Government-Guaranteed Basic Income” that a much more modest basic income guarantee ($10,000 for every adult citizen) for the United States that replaced all 126 anti-poverty programs would increase federal spending by 38 percent and federal taxes by 46 percent.