Swiss Activists Pushing For $2,800 Basic Monthly Income, Just For Being You

Dusten Carlson

If you're a citizen of Switzerland, you might one day reap a $2,800 monthly salary just for being you. That is, if one activist group gets its way.

In an effort to combat growing income inequality, one grassroots committee is petitioning the Swiss government to grant all adults an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs, or $2,800, each month from the state. Producing a basic income for all adults, they say, will provide a financial safety net for the population.

For those of you in the cheap seats, yes, this is an entry-level annual income for merely existing.

Organizers submitted the more than 100,000 signatures needed to get a vote on the issue Friday. In a symbolic gesture, they dumped a truckload of 8 million five-cent coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for every Swiss citizen.

Enno Schmidt, founder of Generation Basic Income Initiative, said that he believes the Swiss government should be concerned about the groundswell of support for income equality. He opines that the country's politicians are angry "because now they have to look into this initiative."

He also clarified that the push for a monthly income for adults isn't "to make people equal" but rather, "to give people the right of life in an economical way."

Switzerland does not have minimum wage laws. Bargaining arrangements on the books between workers and managers have long covered most of the working population.

The proposal does beg the question: How will this be paid for? The initiative's organizing committee said that monthly incomes could be partially financed by money from social insurance systems.

Swiss law allows citizens to organize referendums as a channel of political action. Politicians vote on several referenda every year. When this vote will take place is currently unknown.

Do you think that adults should get a $2,800 monthly salary from the government?

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