working poor Viewminder/Flickr

最低工资还是过活所得?

伦敦—如今,大部分富裕国家都存在几百万“工作的穷人”——工作收入无法让他们生活在贫困线以上,因此必须领国家补贴的人。这些补贴以税收优惠的形式发放。

这一思想由来已久。英国在拿破仑战争期间就实行了“斯宾汉兰”(Speenhamland)制度,这是一种户外救济(outdoor relief),旨在抵消面包涨价的影响。1795年,斯宾汉兰(位于伯克夏的一个村庄)当局批准了一项根据资产状况调查发放的按比例工资补贴方案。家庭所获补贴额根据孩子数量和面包价格的不同而不同。

但该机制受到了批评,被认为这让雇主支付低于生存水平线的工资,因为纳税人会补偿差额。1834年,斯宾汉兰制度被新济贫法(New Poor Law)取代,新济贫法规定救济只限于救济院,并且需要满足非常苛刻的条件以迫使人们回到劳动力市场。

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