Basic Allowance for Living (BAL) - Liberal Resistance

Basic Allowance for Living (BAL)

I was just thinking that the standard tax deduction should be a Basic Allowance for Living (BAL). A full time minimum wage could also be set at that Basic Allowance for Living at the federal level.  States or cities could still choose a higher BAL if they feel it necessary based on the local economy.  So your full-time minimum wage earner would effectively be paying no taxes but in general also would not be eligible for most public assistance as they would be earning healthcare through their employer or taxes on employers (Medicare for All) and earning enough through a dignified wage to purchase their own basic need items like food.  

This would allow us to end the massive amount of corporate welfare going on in this country. Corporations would then be required to pay workers enough to live on.  We need to end the practice of employers providing no benefits and then putting the cost onto the taxpayer.  If an employer wants to try and cheat the system by hiring a bunch of people at 19 hours per week, then for every part-time employee the employer should have to be responsible for at least 19/40 of that person’s healthcare.  This would make that scheme ineffective and hopefully open up more full-time positions.  Large corporations that have massive amounts of part-time workers could even be penalized for doing so because overall many part-time jobs makes the economy run less smoothly as it is inefficient. Then the average worker wouldn’t waste as much time and energy trying to go to and from multiple jobs.  

This could also simplify taxes as people that earn a Basic Allowance for Living or less should be given a streamline process for declaring they didn’t make enough money to be income taxed on.  They will stay pay other use and/or sales taxes like everyone else.  Unfortunately, people that make more than the BAL would probably still have to fill out longer more complicated tax forms.  

This is the only logical way that I can think of that would take some of the financial burden off of the American taxpayer and place it where it rightfully belongs onto Corporate America with it’s soaring profits.  This is plain and simple logic and is very easy to follow.  If someone is only making enough to provide a basic existence they really shouldn’t be taxed because that tax will just push them into poverty.  We still need a progressive system of taxation.  For example if an individual is making 100 times what a basic allowance for living is they should be heavily taxed.  If they want to save money, they can always live where poor people live and eat what poor people eat.  Trust me, it probably won’t actually kill any of them.  Poorer people don’t really have that option of reducing their expenses like that.  They are usually already pretty efficient in their spending patterns.

More and more of all profits are being up-ended in America.  That’s why there’s so many working poor people at minimum wage and then with less management or middlemen all the time, all the profits are going directly up to Corporate America’s elite.  That’s why we are seeing record profits; we have a record amount of people not earning enough to even live a basic existence on and corporations that are still doing everything they possibly can to avoid paying any and all benefits.

We are moving more and more towards a system of wage and wealth inequality.  One fair way to tax people is to always keep in mind what it actually costs to live.  We don’t really need to pander to rich people complaining about how they would have to pay so much more than a really poor person.  It is all relative, but we always need to remember if someone is making 100 times what it costs to live they should be paying a hell of a lot more than someone just above poverty.  That is really the only logical conclusion an educated mind could make.  The uneducated, ignorant, and greedy can stand on an elephant in every square yelling how American workers don’t deserve enough to live on, but the reality is we are not required to listen to or to abide by such nonsense.  We know better!

What America really needs is a populist movement to help set some things straight.  We need an economy that works for more than 1 out of 10 people.  The other 9 out of 10 are supposed to have a say in a democracy.  The voice of the 9 out of 10 should also be loud and carry weight.  

Automation is only going to cause more and more job loss.  We won’t be able to tax the poor non-working people, but we can tax the corporations that are directly financially benefiting from automation to help cover some benefits for those displaced workers.  

Hopefully, the pendulum has swung as far to the right as it will ever go.  What are we collectively waiting for someone like Donald Trump to get even greedier and fatter before we say enough is enough with the far right and their never ending greed and hypocrisy?  If anyone complains about things moving to left we need to remind them that where we are at currently there is a giant middle we need to go through before we can even begin to get onto the left side.  

We also need to evaluate what level a Non-Worker Basic Allowance for Living (NWBAL) should be at.  These are the people that are either usually retired or on disability. They do not have expenses related to working so theoretically they could potentially get by with less than a Basic Allowance for Living.  The problem is far too many elderly and disabled are living in poverty in this country. If you factor in many of them having to pay large health insurance premiums and copays many are in severe poverty.  We are failing as a society when that happens and we do have the ability to make better choices leading to brighter outcomes.  


Chris Madsen is a writer and activist based in the great state of Hawaii. He frequently writes from the unique perspective of his Pacific home. His opinions are his own.

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