PRESIDENT NICOS Anastasiades yesterday announced the complete reform of social policy based on the principle of securing a Guaranteed Minimum Income for all citizens, financed in large part by eliminating non-targeted allowances.
Just as I argued, it is easy to fund the citizen's dividend if you simply eliminate 'coupon' welfare.
“Beneficiaries will be all of our fellow citizens who have an income below that which can assure them a dignified living, irrespective of age, class or professional situation,” Anastasiades said.
This is what I've always wanted. Young poor people are a greater tragedy than old poor people, because it means they can't start families. They are the ones most in need of aid.
“What I want to stress emphatically is that the Guaranteed Minimum Income will also be provided to thousands of our fellow citizens who, in spite of their needs, are not covered to this day by the existing system and did not receive any substantial assistance from the state,” the president said.The citizen's dividend is the only way to protect absolutely everyone in your country, coupon welfare always lets people slip through the cracks.
These would include unemployed graduates of schools and universities, working people with particularly low earnings will have their income supplemented to reach the Guaranteed Minimum Income, and the self-employed, who have found themselves out of work and who, until now were not covered.
“Many of the pensioners with low pensions, without adequate contributions to the Social Insurance Fund, will also receive higher payments than they receive today,” said Anastasiades.
The elderly have nothing to complain about in this system.
He said the general principle of the plan was for every citizen to be “guaranteed the minimum needs for a dignified living in a European country”.This is a wonderful step for Cyprus. However, Cyprus was not the ideal country to pass this reform or lead the world. With negative economic growth, and a per capita income of only $27,500, still in a touchy diplomatic situation with half their country not even under their control, Cyprus should not have been the ones who first took mercy on their poor and resolved to do something about it. These people can ill afford being the vanguard of change. Because of this, they have all sorts of restrictions to the citizen's dividend, like 'you must accept work if offered it and must be searching for work,' and 'you must not have enough savings that you can easily provide for yourself,' and so on. This is a very bare-bones citizen's dividend, and I'm certain it will be much lower than the $12,000 per American I call for. This is because Cyprus is poor and can't afford what America could afford. Which makes it all the more disgraceful that Cyprus is willing to pay this price whereas America, twice as rich as Cyprus per capita, refuses to do so. The country best suited for a citizen's dividend is America. We have the money. We have the massive GINI index gap. We are the country that is ideal for this program. But instead Cyprus is the only nation decent enough to take action in the world. Talk about a missed opportunity for global leadership.
The Guaranteed Minimum Income will replace the benefits system, but will also be financed by a large number of allowances and benefits that until now have been distributed somewhat arbitrarily by different ministries and services of the state.
“The policy of non-targeted and scattered allowance is terminated,” Anastasiades said.
“A policy which, in spite of significantly burdening public finances and taxpaying citizens, did not manage to reduce the inequalities and often ignored fellow citizens who are truly in need.”
Cyprus is willing to take care of its poor. Why can't we?