.OPINION: Fund Taiwan’s Partial Basic Income Proposal with Tax Reforms

Can we fund a universal basic income policy by increasing some of the unusually low tax rates in Taiwan?

The News Lens
Date: 2019/07/23

Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images

Original article by UBI Taiwan

Foxconn Founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) previously made a grand promise during a political presentation: “From birth until the age of six, newborn babies will be fed by the state!”

Taiwan's low birthrate and aging population have evolved into a national security threat, according to former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Meanwhile, Gou's bold proposal to reduce young couples' heavy burden on raising children has sparked a heated debate.

What is Partial Basic Income?

Gou's proposal and UBI Taiwan’s interim "Partial Basic Income" policy happen to share the same idea, a focus on granting target groups basic income. For instance, if basic income is given to the elderly, then it is similar to the basic pension system proposed by the Awakening Foundation (婦女新知基金會), which suggests a minimum guaranteed pension of NT$8000 per year for the elderly. If given to the working class, then it would resemble the "State Support for Children" policy mentioned by Terry Guo.

However, the policy is under scrutiny, and one of the frequently asked questions is "where will the money come from?"

Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), a New Power Party (NPP) legislator, estimated the policy would require a yearly budget of NT$28.6 billion – approximately 12.5% of the government’s annual budget. He said the policy indeed touches on the predicaments a great deal of young people are currently facing, yet “the question is not whether it can be implemented, rather how we can implement it effectively.”    [FULL  STORY]

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