Swiss reject free income plan

Is actually having to work for a living an old fashioned and outdated idea? About a quarter of the Swiss people think it is. Thankfully about three quarters of the Swiss still have their common sense and voted against this revolutionary proposal on their ballot.

Here is more on this story:

“Conservative Switzerland is the first country to hold a national referendum on an unconditional basic income, but others including Finland are examining similar plans as societies ponder a world where robots replace humans in the workforce.

Olivier, a 26-year-old carpenter who works on construction sites and runs a small business designing and building furniture, said he voted “yes”.

“For me it would be a great opportunity to put my focus on my passion and not go to work just for a living,” he said.”–business.html

But plans like this are being considered in other European countries. What people do not realize is when you give people a free basic income then you take away all incentives for people in lower income jobs to work.

In many ways President Obama has tried to give a free basic income through expanded food stamp programs and other government assistance programs over his two terms in office.

Food stamp recipients up 42 percent under Obama

There is a simple truth in the world – when you give people free food they will work less or not at all.  That is why it is no coincidence that under Obama we also have one of the lowest workforce participation rates since the Great Depression.

The Bible while encouraging us to help the truly poor and needy does not ever tell us to give unending free government assistance to people.   This concept can be found nowhere in the Scriptures.

This is the Bible’s answer to motivating people to work:

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. ” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV)

As Christians and as Americans while we must help those who are truly in need we cannot in our trying to do good encourage the sin of laziness.

23 thoughts on “Swiss reject free income plan

  1. It’s not a terrible idea. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but you could cut out almost all the redundant government assistance programs, end food stamps, WIC, etc.
    For way less than the cost of these programs, you could fire all the government workers that dole out goodies and give every citizen $12k per year. Some may choose to get by on that small amount, others will want to work and live on more. Either way, if you waste it or spend it all on booze, you are SOL. It could be way cheaper than what we spend now and actually remove incentives to stay poor, since people won’t be afraid to lose their benefits if they better themselves.
    I don’t like the idea of depending on regular checks from the government, but it could be a better system than our current progressive one.

  2. Do you think this has anything to do with all the unemployed muslims entering their countries? Some of these European countries have given them money for free, housing, food, and access to free resources like internet, etc. And many of them are abusing it and just a drain on society with no plans to actually contribute.

    What on earth are these governments thinking? It just looks so suicidal to their societies!

  3. Actually it IS a terrible idea. None of the government agencies you say we could eliminate would actually be eliminated, for starters. And where would all this free income come from? As the current situation has shown, when you give people free stuff they lose the drive to innovate and create. America would become a country of deadbeats and consumers. It cracks me up when I hear people say that they would have more time to work on “their passions”, and yet we don’t see overflowing innovation and art from the black community, who consumes a large chunk of welfare. Nor from the migrant community, who come to the country and immediately get on public assistance. All we see is laziness and murder. I don’t need to see more numbers, the ones we have now speak volumes!

  4. i use food stamps, I’m in school for nursing and I work at target. Food stamps helps out a lot- there are some people who need food stamps

  5. “and yet we don’t see overflowing innovation and art from the black community”

    This is simply absurd. To say that that the black community is not artistic and innovative is an ignorant statement. Many genres of music that are popular today such as rock and jazz were born from the black community. Hip hop, one of the most profitable and widely distributed genres of the current day is undeniably rooted in black history.

    Also, I don’t think anyone is advocating that people be given six figure salaries. Giving the general population a small stipend, enough to feed themselves but not necessarily a house or car, would be an interesting concept to explore.
    That being said, I do agree that a guarenteed income for all citizens is not an adequate solution to poverty. However not because I think people will lose ambition and resort to crime. Generally speaking, poverty tends to inspire crime more than laziness. I do however believe that America is not financially stable enough to achieve this without an unnecessary raise in taxes on all people.

  6. @Snapper It could only be considered a good program compared to the welfare state we already live in. It’s really a shame that it’s actually cheaper to dole out thousands of dollars to each person, than to spend what we do on social programs, plus pay an army of bureaucrats to pass it out and add their own strings to the money.

    I would prefer to do away with all government assistance and go back to private charity, but part of the theory behind this is that you lay off thousands of bureaucrats and take away incentives to stay poor and unemployed. Right now, a single mom needs a job that makes over $35k per year just to break even with the benefits they would lose if they got a job.

  7. A single mom needs $35k a year to break even? When I was a single mom, living alone, paid all my own bills, no Medicaid, no food stamps, no child support. I made just under $17k that year. I was very very frugal but it can be done.

  8. I have heard this quote from Abraham Lincoln before and it truly is an indictment of our current welfare state. Abraham Lincoln would have completely opposed Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” which was the seed for the mess we are in today with so much dependency on government.

  9. Wood Chipper,

    I think what we see happening in most European welfare states should be an omen to us in American. Nations going bankrupt. Socialism can only survive as as leach on the back of capitalism. Eventually when you put enough leaches onto the back of a Capitalist economy it will eventually fail.

  10. Wood Chipper,

    “For way less than the cost of these programs, you could fire all the government workers that dole out goodies and give every citizen $12k per year. Some may choose to get by on that small amount, others will want to work and live on more. Either way, if you waste it or spend it all on booze, you are SOL.

    Even if it would be cheaper to do it the way you propose it would not be morally right to do so. God only wants us to give to those who are truly in need. I do not think the government should be involved in these things and they should be left to private charities(something you and I agree on). However if the government is to help it should only be temporary just as private charity should only be temporary.

    We cannot just give people 12,000 a year or whatever we give them indefinitely for doing nothing but breathing and simply being in a low income bracket. A person must earn what they get. This is a basic principle that God has established. When we just indefinitely give people money they have not earned we encourage laziness.

    I am all for the government doing things like collecting taxes for basic government needs(police, fire fighters, roads, defense..ect) and for those government workers to be paid. But they are pain for DOING SOMETHING – they provide a public service.

    But when the government takes from one group of people and indefinitely redistributes to another group of people when those people have done nothing to earn that money this is a form of legalized theft.

  11. SapphireYagami,

    I agree that some people need assistance. But that assistance should be temporary in most cases unless a person is truly disabled or elderly and cannot work.

    Also I think that temporary assistance to people say when they loose their job is fine. But assistance should be a bridge to get you to your next job and there should be a cut off. It should not be a way of life.

    There may be poor people that benefit from food stamps such as yourself and I appreciate that you are trying to better yourself by going through nursing school.

    But respectfully, I do not think giving people in your position food stamps is the answer. What we should do is what many people in other foreign countries do. People should pool their resources. In other words if you cannot afford the basics of life like food and shelter from working at Target as you seek higher education then you must live with family or other people and pool and your resources together. But the government does not have an obligation to give you free food because you only make a certain amount per year.

    I am reminded of when I lived in my first apartment as a young man more than 20 years ago. There was an apartment where a large family of middle eastern folks lived. They packed into that place(and they were probably breaking occupancy rules in doing so) but they pooled their resources. Every adult in that home worked and they all pooled their money together. They all had low earning jobs from places like Target or McDonalds. They lived cheaply.

    You know they do – they live to together and save for YEARS until they can afford to buy a gas station or a party store and then all the family members work there and they reap the benefits of it. They understand that families must work together to survive and sacrifice is necessary. We have lost that mentality in America.

    Every American must have their own home and own car. We are so materialistic and we waste so much. We could learn a thing or two from people who come from poorer countries that don’t have welfare states.

  12. So we agree to some extent that taxation is theft. Welfare comes in a lot of forms, and middle and upper class get their “shares” under different names. It’s almost unavoidable and it incentivizes all of us to do things we otherwise wouldn’t.

    Not to put lipstick on a pig, but in this case it is also called a negative income tax. Milton Friedman was actually a proponent of it. I only see it as a possible net benefit, because our current system is as perverse as it is.

  13. Well put. While you believe in a short term welfare state, I think you made a great case as to how things might work successfully if there were none at all. (Like it used to work).

  14. i do live with family, my mother and sister. my sister works at fast food and my mother is a CNA. However majority if the money goes to bills and the two cars we have. one car is paid off but needs a new engine among other things, plus target only put their employees to work for 4 or 5 hours- which us not very helpful when trying to pay bills and other things.

  15. Going through a time of poverty makes you appreciate what you have more. Two years ago, living on my own asa single mom, I barely had money to pay rent & utilities, buying very cheap food, no internet, one ancient, beat up but paid for car, buying all our clothes secondhand. It was hard and depressing at times.
    But now I don’t have to freak out over paying monthly bills. I have a better car, not new but much better. I also have my own motorcycle and an old truck for 4-wheel drive. We have internet and I can shop at the grocery store and afford fresh meat & veggies every day. I am also in nursing school. I can buy new clothes when they are on sale. Moving in with another person helped, but mostly just continuing to go to work every day, being patient, and bring frugal with all purchases.
    Another thing…..2 years ago I had a drug addiction and also smoked cigarettes. I did not spend a large amount of money on these things, less than $100/month. But once I quit those things, it’s like God opened up a door for financial blessings that was previously shut. I think if the Lord knows you will destroy yourself with drugs if you have extra money after meeting basic needs, He will not allow you to have that money.

  16. @Rae On breaking even, some estimates show that a single mom can bring in $35-50k per year in benefits, depending on the state. What incentive is there to take a $20k or sometimes $30k per year job? You wouldn’t see your kids as much and would give them a lower standard of living.

    It’s a shame that many low skilled and jobless poor are making VERY rational decisions given their options and government “help.”

  17. Oh wow how confusing! Just read the snopes article… even Reagan seemed to be confused by it, but yes, it was Boetcker from a 1942 leaflet. It’ still true but wow … misleading.

  18. My husband needed to be on a cash-assistance program for a little bit back in the day. They said he qualified for $200/month. He said he didn’t need that much and asked for $50. They said they needed to give him the full $200 since that’s what he qualified for. Luckily, he has the character to not give up working and being thrifty because extra money was being given to him,

    My sister’s ex-husband’s ex-girlfriend is on welfare and they told her that she is given a set amount a month. Whatever she does not spend that month, she will receive that amount less the next month. Funny how she always manages to use all of it……….

    The system is screwed up.

    And we had our baby yesterday! Everything is going great so far. 🙂

  19. I am not getting government assistance & have a college degree.

    People feel that they can get so involved in voicing their opinion of others getting public assistance because they pay a very small amount through taxes. Do you understand how bad the US would be without it? I am American, but I have lived in another country where babies are starving to death because there is no government assistance. Yes you can say it’s the parents job to feed the baby and it doesn’t matter if the country is poor etc., but who in their right mind would want to remove the WIC program and take this chance? Would you want that on your conscience really? If you want babies to die or risk being malnourished to save a buck then you are not a true Christian. There are always going to be poor, disabled, and lazy people in society, as well as those who struggle for various reasons to fond suitable employment to sustain themselves and family. And as far as the elderly, you are giving them an excuse to get government assistace because they are old. I do not disagree with this. But from the way you are saying things and not wanting to feed innocent children & babies but wanting to feed the elderly. They had their whole life to live already and prepare for when they would be old and helpless and did not adequately if they are later in need of government assistsnce. Once again im not downing elderly. Im only comparing them to babies getting gov. Assistance. Our programs and the assistance we give to the poor are what sets us apart from other countries like what I mentioned. If we take away our programs our country will degenerate and the conditions will be very impoverished. It will not be a nice clean country like it is now. Believe me. People will horde things because they cannot or will not work. All types of bad things will happen. Also, you cannot force a family to work together and help each other. America is not even designed like that. In many of the poor countries they do live together and help each other, not because they want to. Because if they don’t many will die and do. BTW, I am not getting any government assistance & I have a college degree.

  20. AnnaMS

    “And we had our baby yesterday! Everything is going great so far.:)”

    Congrats Anna! Hope you get to sleep more than I did with my first two children. Both my boys would not sleep more than 3 or 4 hours for the first year. When my daughter came along and actually slept 6 or 7 hours at a time that was a nice change.

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