The Nordic nation is on its way to found a key to poverty: paying each of its 5.4 million people $876 tax-free a month. The Finnish government won’t present its proposal until November 2016, but if all goes to schedule, the country will scrap all existing benefits and instead hand out the set amount of money every month to everyone.
This idea appeared to be popular among the nation with about 70 per cent of citizens support the basic income plan, according to a poll by The Finnish Social Insurance Institution (KELA).
“For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system,” prime minister Juha Sipilä said.
The Finland’s economy is struggling as about 10% of the country’s population is unemployed as Finland tries to claw its way out of a three-year recession.
The most recent economic forecast from Finland’s finance ministry, for autumn 2015, begins flatly with grim news and little hope for a better future: “The Finnish economy is in a serious situation. GDP growth is close to zero. Unemployment is rising and unemployment spells are becoming longer. Even once the recession is over, growth will be painfully slow.”
“The universal basic income would require the equivalent of nearly the entirety of Finland’s revenue, and then some, which would imply higher taxes down the line for the nation’s already struggling households,” explains Mashable.
“Finland’s 800-euro-a-month plan, distributed among every single person in the country including babies and teenagers, would cost 52 billion euros a year, and 47 billion euros if you count only adults.”
The country’s economic situation is predicted to get worse due to significant demographic shifts. Finland’s population is rapidly aging — faster than any other EU representative. A fast-aging population is a major problem for several reasons.
First of all, it presupposes shrinking of workforce, as people retire from work – which in turn affects the population’s productivity. Which is more, the country’s revenues fall in such a case and its economy stagnates over time because there are fewer people working and paying income taxes, which make up the majority of a country’s revenues.
“Still, the idea has recently been picking up speed on a local level for years, since the big global financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent recessions and economic struggles in major countries. In Switzerland, a years-long push for basic income grew steadily in popularity until the nation’s parliament rejected it in October. The Dutch city of Utrecht is in the process of a pilot project on basic income, and seven other cities in the country have announced their intention to explore the idea, which has been discussed in the Netherlands since the 1970s,” Mashable writes.
“In theory, the concept of the basic income is politically appealing because it satisfies people who are on the left, who are concerned with strengthening social safety nets, as well as people who are conservative and opposed to large bureaucracies. A single check cut to each citizen seems to appeal to both sides.”