‘Basic Income Plus’ could be even more ambitious

By Lindsay Advocate

I love the policy proposals in your recent editorial regarding Basic Income Plus, although I think it could be even more ambitious.

We must demand it be implemented at the federal level and funded with federal dollars. Canadians should not be burdened with the costs of much-needed reforms that are long overdue – and we don’t have to be.

Unlike provinces, territories, municipalities, businesses, and households, Canada is monetarily sovereign and the federal government is the sole issuer of Canadian dollars, a fiat currency.

Despite popular belief, the federal government is not dependent on tax dollars to stay afloat and it cannot go bankrupt, as Stephanie Kelton has written in The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy.

Unfortunately, leftists often fall prey to discussing economics in a right-wing frame. Politicians and media organizations cynically fear-monger about the federal debt and deficit to keep necessary reforms at bay – and leftists acquiesce.

Your own proposal for pharmacare falls into this trap. Why should Canadians be expected to suffer co-pays on prescription drugs when we should demand free, universal pharmacare?

Presumably you wanted to help offset the costs of the program while appearing fiscally responsible.

Talk of creating more money inevitably leads to fears of inflation, which can be an issue. However, the U.S., Europe, Japan and others have actually been grappling with under inflation/deflation for more than a decade.

And right here in Canada, despite record levels of federal spending during the pandemic, the country’s inflation rate went into the negative for the first time since 2009.

Instead of worrying about debt, it’s time that Canadians were able to think big and accomplish things we thought were impossible.

In this time of crisis, while we rethink society, the economy, politics and ourselves, we must slay the deficit bogeyman if anything is ever going to change.

–William Paterson

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