How would your life change if, from one day, you were able to receive basic living expenses of $2500 every month? The Swedish government decided to implement a social welfare program, which provides basic income to the citizens. The advocators of this new bill pinpoint that every citizen has the fundamental right to receive basic living expenses, whether or not they are employed, in order to alleviate income inequality. In contrast, the critics cast doubts that 1/3 of the people working would begin to retire from work and thus worsening the economy.
Sweden actually has seen the side effects of excessive social welfare from its neighbor, Norway. Norway had gone through a catastrophe because the government had provided too much welfare for every aspect of people’s daily lives such as education, nurturing and health insurance. As a result, the citizens became couch potatoes and the country was filled with so called ‘free-riders’. They did not work. Actually, they did not have to have jobs at all because they were able to continue their current lifestyles. This example indicates that excessive social welfare can impede the betterment of a society. Yet, the Swedish government intends to try a drastic experiment that the Norwegian government failed with. In the bigger picture, the citizens are mandated to pay more of their taxes from their income so that the government can beef up the budget. This means that some people would receive less income than before. If such rapid retirement occurs, it would make the whole country itself poor. Therefore, a judicial consideration of this bill is crucial beforehand.
Instead of paying out a fixed guaranteed income to every citizen, it is more rational and effective to strengthen the existing social welfare programs than to tackle specific human needs. Although such a bill could reduce the gap between the poor and the rich instantly, it is ineffective when it comes to reducing income inequality. Furthermore, people are likely to misuse the money. For example in Korea, Seongnam Province provided shopping vouchers at a total of 40,000,000,000 won, to people in their twenties. The point of giving out free vouchers was to aid them in seeking jobs but a survey addresses that most of the vouchers were spent on purchases of alcohol. Even the congressmen manipulated social welfare in order to obtain votes and this is the perfect example of political populism.
Excessive universal welfare has not shown satisfying results before now. If Sweden finally implements the guaranteed income program, it will be the first government to endorse it. It is unlikely to bring about a positive outcome but the Swedish government’s consistent passion towards its citizen and the betterment of society should also be somehow respected. Humans always make mistakes. Therefore, it is absurd that we should create a ‘perfect’ bill. What’s most significant is that we should go through trials and errors in order to beget more effective and efficient bills. < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >