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October 4th, 2013, 21:19
I've heard about the concept before, "Citizen Salary" is what it's usually called up here.

The concept is that every citizen gets a base amount of income from then government each month. Not very much but enough to cover basic necessities such as housing and food, things that are already guaranteed each citizen already just without all the bureaucracy. The thought is that the savings from that would go a long way to cover the extra costs. I've not seen any example of how it would work in reality, there would have to be a complete revamp of tax laws and such.

Lets compare two scenarios.
Scenario 1:
My current situation. I'm unemployed and on well-fare, I get enough to get by and that's about it. To get my money I have to be in contact with five different officials spread over two government agencies (the Employment Agency, Social Services and Social Services own Employment Office). I'm obliged (in theory) to apply for any free job that I'm qualified for in the entire country. This doesn't really increase my chances to get a job and it's a lot of paperwork and a real hassle. One downside is that for every job that's listed there are hundreds of applicants so a lot of companies simply don't list their jobs but rely on word-of-mouth or applications they already have.
Case in point. When I worked at Burger King when I was younger we listed an opening for a job. We got over 1000 applications by mail and email and we had to turn the phones of because no one had the time to answer it.
This isn't beneficial for either part.
My job searching activities have to be documented and verifiable and someone has to go through my application for well-fare each month. When all is said and done the process of getting me my well-fare has cost the tax-payers far more than the money that I actually receive.
Then there's the purely psychological effects of this process on the applicant. Having to always be able to prove that you're actually trying to get a job, that you're not just mooching. It's a lot of extra busywork for everyone involved and a lot of energy expended that could have been put to better use. In my case it caused a major depressive episode and I had to be put on "sick leave" (not quite the right phrase, I was exempt from all job searching requirements and only had to deal with one government agency) for a couple of months.
Add to that that any money I make is subtracted from my well-fare so that I have little incentive to just work a few odd jobs here and there to make a little extra cash to make my life a bit more comfortable.
Parts of this is endemic to our particular system but I'm guessing that there are similar hoops in all the well-fare states of Europe.

Scenario 2:
Under a Citizens Salary system. I'd get an amount of money similar to what I get now but I'd only really need to be in contact with the Employment Office. Due to not having to apply for every job out there I could focus on getting a job that is suitable for me or study to acquire skills that are useful for getting a job. The costs of the bureaucracy would be significantly reduced and there'd be little difference in the amount of money I receive.
Employers wouldn't be swamped with hundreds of applications per position.
I'd be a lot less stressed and my depressive episode this summer would probably have been a lot less severe and shorter (I'm bi-polar, odds are I would have had one anyway).

There you go. Some totally anecdotal "evidence", but I believe some of the points are valid. The part of the population that'd be most effected would get a much needed breather and most people wouldn't be effected much any way.

Now lets hear from someone who's a bit more knowledgeable on the subject. This is just my understanding of a quite limited part of the idea and it's admittedly pretty biased as well.

conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evil, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

rational, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
-Ambrose Bierce, The Devils Dictionary
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