Cyprus Establishes World`s First Citizen`s Dividend—A Guaranteed Minimum Income For Citizens ONLY
Cyprus is creating the world`s first Citizen`s Dividend. This is an idea that has been floating around since American author Edward Bellamy first proposed it in the 1880`s. [President pledges a ‘Guaranteed Minimum Income’ By Stefanos Evripidou, Cyprus Mail, July 27, 2013]
What makes this especially interesting: Cyprus has had a history of rather severe illegal immigration problems—and some resolve to deal with them. The Guaranteed Annual Income or Citizens Dividend may actually indirectly support this effort by making the economic value of citizen absolutely clear.
The GAI will also will allow even the poorest of Cyprus citizens a degree of market power in areas like housing so they can potentially outbid illegal immigrants. The explicit referral to “citizens” in the official announcement above is something US lawmakers might learn from. In the US, the EITC or Food stamps are not explicitly reserved for citizens—nor are the transfer effects of Social Security or Medicaid.
I think immigration restriction will start to succeed in the US when accurately seen as an important part of protecting the most vulnerable American citizens—and packaged with other measures that address inequality of wealth and income.