NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Greece Experiments with Minimum Guaranteed Income

October 17, 2014

Recently, some policymakers have begun to discuss the idea of a "minimum guaranteed income," which some refer to as a "negative income tax" or a "basic income guarantee."

Supporters vary in their view of what exactly a guaranteed income would mean and accomplish. Some on the right side of the spectrum, explains Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason.com, believe such a plan could replace all of America's current welfare programs (from food stamps to Social Security) with a single program that would distribute funds to all Americans -- even those who are not low-income -- to use according to their own discretion.

But Greece's plan is different. Not only is it focused only on low-income individuals, but it does nothing to replace the state's welfare system. Instead, it provides a cash benefit in addition to all of Greece's other welfare programs. It would work like this:

  • For six months, Greece will experiment with a minimum guaranteed income in 13 municipalities.
  • Those participating in the program will receive at least 200 euros every month.
  • Households will receive an additional 100 euros for every additional adult in the household, while every child will give the household 50 euros per month.

The country's Labour Minister, Yiannis Vroutsis, called the guaranteed income program "the pillar of the social solidarity of tomorrow."

Source: Elizabeth Nolan Brown, "Greece to Test Minimum Guaranteed Income Program," Reason.com, October 15, 2014.   

 

Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues