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Repenser le revenu de base

WASHINGTON, DC – Les dispositifs de revenu universel de base (RUB) attirent beaucoup d'attention ces jours-ci. Bien sûr, l'idée – fournir à tous les résidents réguliers d'un pays une somme d’argent forfaitaire indépendante du travail – n’est pas nouvelle. Le philosophe Thomas More la préconisait déjà au XVIe siècle et bien d'autres, notamment Milton Friedman à droite et John Kenneth Galbraith à gauche, ont proposé plusieurs variantes de celle-ci au fil du temps. Mais l'idée a récemment fait l’objet d’une plus large adhésion, certains la considérant comme une solution aux perturbations économiques liées au développement technologique de notre époque. Quel est son véritable potentiel ?

L'attrait d'un RUB tient à trois caractéristiques principales: il offre un « plancher » social de base à tous les citoyens; il permet aux gens de choisir comment utiliser ce support; et il pourrait aider à rationaliser la bureaucratie dont dépendent de nombreux programmes de sécurité sociale. Un RUB serait également totalement « portable », aidant ainsi les citoyens qui changent souvent d'emploi, ne peuvent pas dépendre d'un employeur à long terme pour l'assurance sociale, ou sont des travailleurs indépendants.

Considérant qu’un RUB est un moyen simple pour limiter la pauvreté, beaucoup de politiciens de gauche l’ont intégré à leur programme. De nombreux libertaires aiment le concept, car il permet – en fait, exige – que les bénéficiaires choisissent librement la façon de dépenser l'argent. Même les gens très riches le soutiennent parfois, parce que cela leur permettrait de se coucher le soir en sachant que leurs impôts ont finalement et efficacement éradiqué l'extrême pauvreté.

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