It is worth lingering on both tax exemptions and tax expenditures. As Tony Atkinson has argued, the “personal exemption” and “standard deduction” in the income tax is closely related to basic income. If the tax rate is 30 percent and the exemption threshold is $10,000, the exemption provides personal savings of $3,000; these “savings” are state expenditures like any other and are not unlike a basic income. But notice its regressive construction: A person with $8,000 in income gets only $2,400 in the above example. Those with no income get nothing. A basic income would remove the regressiveness hidden in the tax code. [...]
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