Universal Basic Income – What to do about wealthy people?

The idea of a Universal Basic Income seems pretty straight forward. Everyone gets a minimum payment to cover life’s costs. Sounds good, all things being equal.

But all things are not equal.

Rich people do NOT need universal basic income and indeed should not get it. Or should they?

Maybe the answer isn’t means testing the payment of UBI, it’s means-testing the ability to access it. Controlling access is not a new idea.

Take superannuation – everyone gets paid a regulated minimum amount of Super – but can only access it under certain conditions such as retirement, dire medical issues or potentially losing home due to non-payments.

Your UBI could be paid into a government-held bank account, which can be accessed dependent upon a few very simple conditions. Those conditions would need some smarter people to work out properly…

But lets ‘spitball’ some ideas to start with:

  • Your yearly income is less than 200% of the ‘average’ (median) income, or $200,000 per year (adjusted for inflation)
  • Your total asset value does not exceed 1000% of the ‘average’ (median) asset value, or $5 million (adjusted for inflation)

Continue reading Universal Basic Income – What to do about wealthy people?

No stuff-up to defend breaking ‘unjust’ laws. Had to be said.

A few people have said to me Sally McManus had ‘miscalculated’ or ‘stuffed up’ when she said sometimes it is necessary to break laws that are unjust.

Firstly – not one of the people who has said this to me so far is currently a union member themselves.

But more importantly – if people didn’t take so called ‘illegal’ action against unjust policies, projects and systems…. We would still be living as slaves, with no democratic rights, with a sole rich powerful family ruling the roost.

Or for a more current example – ‘illegal’ action was taken by the people who stopped James Price Point, Roe 8, Old Growth Forest Logging, the WA Shark Cull, and who are using their bodies stopping gas fracking and new coal mines.

I was recently arrested and charged while protecting the Beeliar Wetlands myself.

Laws do not define what is ‘right or wrong’.

Laws are just systems put in place to ensure the ‘status quot’ of how society currently operates. Some of those laws have a future in our society, some of those laws should have been left in the past.

Some laws we probably need haven’t even been thought of yet.

Most of our laws are compromise agreements reached between those seeking a better society, and those who were holding the reigns of power in the unfair and unequal societies of the past.

Modern laws are often compromise agreements balancing the influence of lobbying by vested interests – mostly the rich elite – with the influence of democratic power of citizens through elections, activism and non-violent action.

Laws are not infallible. Laws are not stagnant.

Laws are simply a social-contract currently agreed to in order to enable our society to function in an agreed-to manner.

Continue reading No stuff-up to defend breaking ‘unjust’ laws. Had to be said.

It’s time – Shift the Rock (like Gough).

That classic Gough Whitlam campaign slogan “It’s Time”, is as relevant today in 2015 as it was the day his campaign launched in 1972.

The space for progressive political and economic change is once again widening, after having come under repeated attack by conservatives ever since Gough was dismissed via Double Dissolution in 1975.

At Progress, I attended a workshop called “Moving the Rock – Shifting Power for Sustained Change”, hosted by Sam La Rocca and Holly Hammond. Points raised in that workshop provided some of the key takeaways for me. Particularly, a strong reminder about the value and role of radicals. 

It’s about the intersection of what is ideal and what is ‘politically achievable’. Continue reading It’s time – Shift the Rock (like Gough).

Stop ‘moving on’ – a message to White Australia.

It’s very easy to say “yes that ‘happened’, but we’ve moved on”, when you are on the perpetrating, winning or ‘privileged’ side of that ‘thing’ which ‘happened’.

I see it all the time in White Australia.

As a white kid growing up that was the attitude I was taught toward history, that history was just a bunch of interesting stories that happened in the past. Stories we should enjoy and remember, but barely any different from fiction.

Who knows what is and isn’t true about history I was told. History is written by the victor, I was told. History is mostly about wars and how they were won, I was told.

In White Australia, we do not pay much attention to history as a general social rule and where we do our inability to do so respectfully is infamous.

Tony Abbott’s latest declaration is absolutely indicative of that:

“The arrival of the first fleet was the defining moment in the history of this continent. Let me repeat that: it was the defining moment in the history of this continent,” (emphasis added). 

I disagree. Certainly that was a defining moment in the history of this continent, but this continent’s history is MUCH longer than the history of this ‘country’. Continue reading Stop ‘moving on’ – a message to White Australia.