I’ve been working on the idea of a Livable Income Guarantee for some time. This is a version of the participation income idea put forward by the late Tony Atkinson. ANU has just published a policy brief on the idea, written jointly with Tim Dunlop, Jane Goodall, Troy Henderson and Elise Klein.
It’s not the ultimate theoretical ideal for ideas like Universal Basic Income or a Job Guarantee. Rather, it’s a policy that could be introduced now, within the existing fiscal framework. The key elements are
- permanently setting the unemployment benefit (whatever it’s called after Jobseeker) equal to the age pension, and subject to the same income and asset tests
- expanding eligibility to encompass a wide range of contributions including
- voluntary work
- child care
- full-time study
- artistic and cultural activity
- starting a small business
- replacing current compliance enforcement with an approach similar to that used in the tax system, with self-assessment backed by auditing
The estimated cost is $18 billion a year, and a range of financing options are included.