Where are the ‘Cities’? Finland’s income plan.

 

Old Turku, Finland

Old Turku, Finland

If you are looking for a city called Shoalhaven City, forget it. It does not exist. The same for a city called Canterbury City. We are visiting a place named Nelson Bay which does exists but yet Port Stephens does not. Nelson Bay is also Port Stephens together with some other townships. Palm Beach has no palms and tasty cheese is often not tasty.  Many a foreigner is left dangling to make sense of our fondness for the confusion caused by complications in naming things. I remember buying a house in Balmain but it was actually in Petersham because that was the Parish in which Balmain was situated but it was also in the county of Cumberland even though Balmain was also a Borough till at least 1906. (which was in the Cumberland County). To top it off, Balmain is part of Leichhardt Shire

I suppose, history leaves a stamp on land- titles and official documents and it takes a brave soul to modernise the running of a bureaucracy. Then there are places like Leichhardt near Balmain, but you would be wrong thinking it is the same as the electoral seat of Leichhardt which is 2500 kilometres away in the North of Australia.

It is no wonder someone asked; What’s in a name?

In the meantime Finland is addressing social inequality , by planning to pay every person a monthly income. Now there is a country that likes innovation and making things simple.

https://www.facebook.com/topic/Finland/112369262112381?source=whfrt&position=2&trqid=6226522533971078362

“To fight poverty and boost its own economy, Finland is planning to issue a check for $876 to every citizen, every month. The concept is called basic income, and the Finnish government is getting closer to finalizing its implementation this month.

The Finnish Social Insurance Institution (KELA) is drafting the plan to pay every one of its 5.4 million people $876 per month, tax-free, which would replace social support programs, such as welfare and unemployment benefits. Though a proposal from KELA isn’t expected until November 2016, a pilot stage is currently planned prior to full implementation of the program.

Basic income has been debated by economists for years, but Finland would be the first major nation to actually implement the model on a universal basis. The arrangement was initially popularized in the 1960s by Milton Friedman and would “provide payments from the state that would increase in inverse proportion to income.

This could be the Finnish government’s answer to rising poverty and unemployment rates during a three-year recession, and it is certainly popular among Finns. In a recent poll by KELA, 69 percent of Finns support a basic income. Voters elected the Centre party this April, which campaigned in support of basic income, but the idea is popular among voters of almost all parties.”

I will just leave you with the following;

Our Dutch pension that includes a holiday loading is now higher than our Australian pension. I worked in Holland for about three years. I worked in Australia for well over fifty years (paying tax!) Because the Australian pension is means tested, it gets deducted by the value of savings, the family car, furniture, silver tea spoons, cash on hand, brass taps etc AND a deduction of the value of our Dutch Pension.

Can one believe how complicated and unfair this all is.  We are not complaining and are living well. But what about those who pay rent or mortgage, have debts or living in struggle street?

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35 Responses to “Where are the ‘Cities’? Finland’s income plan.”

  1. sedwith Says:

    We are all about the ‘self made man’.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It is pretty tough for those at the bottom scale of income. Incredibly, the fixing of the budget deficit is to be paid for by the pensioner.

      The last treasurer, Mr Hockey told the old, feeble and infirm; “Your days of entitlements are over”. ” Get used to it”.

      Now, that same Mr Hockey is the pin-striped Australian ambassador in New York and we can hear the Chandon-Brut corks popping while the pensioners are on luke-warm gruel… .

      Liked by 4 people

  2. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    Your opening section on names soon had me completely bamboozled, partly because I’d assumed that such anomalies wouldn’t have arisen yet in a comparatively ‘new’ country like Australia.

    Where I live I often find that if I enter my address accurately
    when completing an electronic form, the the form refuses to accept it until I make the deliberate mistake I now know it wants. It knows better than I do where I live. Apart from that, life is comparatively simple.

    Finland. I have read about this but haven’t paid enough attention to it to know whether it’s a good idea or not. I hope it is, though there may soon be a lengthening queue of people applying for Finnish citizenship.
    What do the True Finns make of it, I wonder?

    The gulf between your Australian and Dutch pensions is astonishing.
    You mave to sell your tea spoons to increase payments.

    As for your last point, I don’t think I’ve ever known a worse time to be poor.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The basic pension in Holland is paid to all, rich or poor and regarded as an entitlement for which a social tax is paid during employment and is paid on top of the income tax.

      The Australian pension is means tested and available to those whose income and assets are below a certain threshhold.

      When assets and income goes above that minimum, the government reduces the pension according to a somewhat complicated method of multiplications and subtractions. ( mainly subtractions)

      It is also required from pensioners to inform the government whever a trip outside Australia is planned with dates of return etc. We are on our last teaspoon and share the stirring of our cup-o-tea with an Arnotts biscuit. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrew Says:

    The concept of basic income is finding favour here too, Gerard. Adair Turner’s new book looks at it as one option. It will be fascinating to see if it works as envisaged.

    Liked by 2 people

    • hilarycustancegreen Says:

      Thanks for the reminder, Andrew, my husband has to have at least one surprise for Christmas.

      Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Holland too is planning a UBI, with funding to come from a mix of revenues, preferably from the wealthy and VAT or GST. At the moment the administration of a potpourri of benefits costs almost as much as the benefits themselves.
      The UBI would simply be less costly. However, overcoming the objections by the wealthy will be difficult. A green party in power or in a coalition with the more social minded moderates could perhaps achieve that.
      I do hope I will witness that and shall strive to remain as healthy as possible.
      One never knows though. People cark it so unexpectedly now-a-days and why would that exclude me?
      Is any of us more deserving to longevity than anyone else? Positivity is the answer here and that’s what my dearest Helvi is always holding up.

      Like

  4. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I am fascinated by the state paying everyone an income and I’d like to know how it is financed. I used to dream, when I was at home bringing up children, of a state that paid a housewife for this dawn-to-dusk-to-dawn job. Re the cities; our house is run along these lines. My husband knows what I mean if I say something is in the dining room/book room/your study/the big room/the music room/the sitting room or the TV room (that’s three rooms), but no one else would.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      An income for everyone has been bandied about through the years. It has to be possible if somehow the waves of wealth going to fewer and fewer people can be reversed and spread out to the general population.
      There is a street in NYC where about a dozen super rich have real estate worth more than entire countries. They don’t live there but their wealth does, and keeps expanding to such a degree that when walking past you can actually hear the wealth heaving, growing and groaning.
      It makes a sound like the rising of bread sometimes does . The wealth makes its own yeast and the rich know how to sour-dough their own wealth indefinitely.
      Truly amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. stuartbramhall Says:

    The New Zealand Green Party has a platform plank of an Unconditional Basic income – if we ever manage to get into government.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, NZ really got something going on the social conscience level. Here our new PM, Mr Malcolm Turnbull is disappointing. He is good at smooth talk and rocking backwards and forwards on his heels, holding court, but…is not changing anything. He likes the limelight and glows in the dark.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. stuartbramhall Says:

    We propose to fund our UBI by eliminating wasteful and bureaucratic benefit and pension programs and increasing income tax on high earners.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    In the past, pensioners could get a modest return on savings, if they had any. Today, that is almost impossible with interest rates at 2 or 3 percent paid on savings at the maximum.

    On shares the income is somewhat higher with the franking credits ( company tax paid on earnings) getting returned to those below the taxable income.

    But,… the Australian pension gets reduced when the( nodding off) pensioner is canny enough in their old age to muck about with shares and manage to eek out an extra income.

    There is a Government approved punishment lurking about here. What do you reckon?

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2015/dec/10/borat-tells-jimmy-kimmel-that-donald-trump-is-not-a-real-person-video

    Like

  8. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    Progressive and visionary. Fins are the vanguard of future social economics. I can’t wait to visit the country next year!

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You will like Finland, especially their design and architecture. The language is tricky where adjectives and pre-positions etc become part of the verbs or nouns. That’s why the words are so long. The young all speak English!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Forestwoodfolkart Says:

        That sounds great Gerard. I am not there for long but I do look forward to visiting Porvoo and the capital!! Can you recommend any particular Finnish dish I should try? I have already tried the cinnamon buns and loved them as we used to have access to a Finnish/Scandinavian bakery. Sadly it has now closed down.

        Like

  9. Master of Something Yet Says:

    Remove the superannuation concessions to the very wealthy and we could fund a healthy pension for everybody with change leftover for the unemployed under 30s. If we also ditch negative gearing, we could give every pensioner a new house.

    Unfortunately, the ones who benefit the most from these tax concessions are the ones making the rules.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is tricky. Holland too is trying a small group as part of understanding what it entails. Will an income to all lower poverty, and you are right; why pay those that are already well off? At the moment the rich are getting richer and they lower their tax by superannuation deductions which those with low income can’t do.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. snowsomewhere Says:

    I’m a Finn but I’ve no idea what to think of the planned reform (It’s not decided yet). It feels like we’ll lose benefits (they are already very good) and at the same time give the wealthy some money they don’t need. Taxes here are so huge, everything is expensive, and unemployment depressing, so something needs to be done. Live Master of Something said, unfortunately it’s the ones who benefit the most who are making the rules. And as for the line for citizenship, that’s happening already with the refugees. Meanwhile, we normal citizens are working longer and longer days with less salary to pay excecutives bonuses… Hmm. It’s complicated. But I’m trying to stay optimistic!🙂

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Huomenta.

      I don’t know the answer. I suspect many countries have problems of equal opportunities for all. Worldwide, the rich get richer and the poor poorer. I think Leonard Cohen sings along those lines.
      Here in Australia welfare is not as generous as it is in most European countries but our climate is benign and we have plenty of sun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • snowsomewhere Says:

        Yes, I’m envious of your climate!🙂 I spent my childhood in Australia, actually, but somehow ended up in Finland now (how that happened, I’m still wondering!) And true, those problems are global and largely due to human nature. Have a great week!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. berlioz1935 Says:

    It is called The City of Shoalhaven.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Shoalhaven

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but why is an area called a ‘city’. A city is a large town. It is more like a shire than a city. But, then again, so many things remain a mystery.

      Like

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        This has something to do how they organise local governments in Australia. First there is the Shire, then the Municipality before such a place reaches city status. Perhaps you can study the Local Government Act. It is very complicated and, as you say, a mystery.

        Did you know that the Sydney Olympics were not held in Sydney at all but in the City of Auburn! What a letdown.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        And yet, the ‘city’ of Auburn is a small suburb of Sydney. Hardly a city!

        Like

  12. elizabeth2560 Says:

    The lands department changed the name of my road eighteen months ago. It still isn’t picked up by google maps so no-one can find it. Not taxi drivers. Not telstra. Not service contractors. Not the motor registry office when I went to renew my licence. Not GPS locators in cars. I always have to give anyone the old name so they can find me. The ironic thing is that the reason they changed the name was so any ambulance would be able to locate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, and it always takes a whole team of experts to make thing difficult and incomprehensible. They also change the bounderies of both state and federal seats.When it come to voting we find out we are not living in the same area as before. It is called gerrymandering.I think England has a lot to answer for.

      Liked by 2 people

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