This article was a response to another article, posted by well-known leftist politician Francisco Louçã, on the 22nd of February 2017. That article was critical of basic income, to which Roberto Merrill and Sara Bizarro now counter-argument.


They start by clarifying some aspects about the basic income experiment in Finland, in which no subject is expected to lose earnings, only to turn 560 € of those earnings unconditional. As for financing basic income in Portugal, Merrill and Bizarro suggest that distributing 450 €/month to every Portuguese citizen would cost 16.2 billion €/year if, after clawing back from taxes it benefitted 30% of the Portuguese population. Benefitting only 5% of the population would only cost an extra 2.7 billion €/year. They also refer other possible tax sources, like automation, financial operations and property.


Rebating Louçã’s conceptual objection that it is unfair to give a basic income to everyone and then, through taxes, clawing it back from the relatively richer, Bizarro and Merrill cite the example of seat belts in vehicles. This example is used to show that it does not make sense to target specific groups to get a basic income, when all need basic security – even if some already have it at the time being. That would be tantamount to just installing seat belts only in those vehicles that would have an accident.


More information at:

(in Portuguese)

Roberto Merrill and Sara Bizarro, “Quem dá e torna a tirar, ao inferno vai parar? Um rendimento básico para todos [Who gives and takes away goes to hell? A basic income for everyone]”, Público (online), April 4th 2017

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 367 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.