GENEVA, Switzerland — Chalk it up to Swiss affluence. Voters here will decide next month whether all 8 million citizens and legal residents should be guaranteed a generous monthly income, something no country in the world has ever done.
On June 5, Swiss voters will weigh in on a radical proposal that would mandate the government to guarantee $2,600 a month tax-free to every adult citizen and legal resident, and $650 to each child.
The payment would be provided to everyone, regardless of work status, income level, or wealth. It is a benefit few countries can afford. But then, Switzerland is among the world’s richest nations, with a per capita income of about $85,000, 40% higher than that in the USA.
The idea of an unconditional basic income is not new. It is being discussed by various cities in the Netherlands, Finland, Canada, New Zealand and other nations. But Switzerland is the first country to actually vote on a guaranteed income at the national level.
The latest polls show the proposal likely will go down in defeat, though supporters say they hope to build support for it in the coming weeks… see more