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Why "Basic Income" is Good in Greece and Bad in Québec

Both Greece and the province of Québec have adopted a form of UBI. Neither program qualifies as a genuine Basic Income because both are means-tested. However, there is a stark difference between the two.

The Greek program, "Social Solidarity Income," has been rolled out countrywide since February 2017. It is not a test. A key feature of the SSI is that eligibility does not depend on work status: it is paid to both the employed and the unemployed who meet the other, admittedly strict, criteria.

This is a big step in the advancement of UBI that we are seeing in the country which gave us democracy. The separation of work and revenue is a major stumbling block in the acceptance of Basic Income and a major factor in its eventual success. Just as Athenian democracy was a pale reflection of the universal suffrage we have today, the timid Greek foray into UBI can evolve... in less than 2500 years, let's hope.

Meanwhile, Québec has also come up with a "basic income." This program is to be completely phased in by 2023. Only welfare recipients unable to work are eligible for this "basic income" which brings the revenue of beneficiaries up to the poverty level cut-off.

This policy makes an unstated yet clear distinction between the deserving poor which will benefit and the undeserving who will continue to be punished for their plight. It completely misappropriates the term basic income and wields it as an ideological and marketing tool. This is a big step backward for the cause of UBI.

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