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Eliminating poverty with a universal basic income: the devil is in the details

By Michael Hatfield      

The stronger the earnings incentive in the form of a lower tax back rate on other income, the less adequate the benefit can be. The more adequate the benefit, the higher the tax back rate must be and thus the stronger the earnings disincentive becomes. That trade-off explains why the widely popular concept of a UBI has never been implemented anywhere as an ongoing program.

Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, pictured. Why hasn’t every government in the world adopted a universal basic income, asks Michael Hatfield. The Ontario government is currently testing a form of UBI at five sites throughout Ontario and its advocates claim it would end poverty. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

OTTAWA—Why hasn’t every government in the world adopted a universal basic income (UBI)? The Ontario government was testing a form of UBI at five sites throughout Ontario before newly-elected Ontario Premier Doug Ford cancelled the experiment, which advocates claim would end poverty.

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