June 5, 2016 8:45 am
Updated: June 5, 2016 11:45 am

Swiss voters overwhelmingly reject guaranteed basic income plan

In this May 14, 2016 file picture a huge poster reading “What would you do if your income were taken care of?” is pictured on the Plaine de Plainpalais square in Geneva

Magali Girardin/Keystone via AP

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have guaranteed everyone in the Alpine nation an unconditional basic income, according to projections published Sunday by public broadcaster SRF1.

The plan could have seen people in this wealthy nation of eight million people receive about 2,500 Swiss francs (C$3,315) per month – enough to cover their basic needs.

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Proponents argued that a basic income would free people from meaningless toil and allow them to pursue more productive or creative goals in life. Critics said the plan would explode the state budget and encourage idleness, arguments that appear to have convinced voters.

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Based on a partial count of results from 19 Swiss cantons (states), the gfs.bern polling group calculated that 78 per cent of voters opposed the measure against 22 per cent in favour.

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The Swiss government itself advised voters to reject the proposal put forward by left-wing campaigners who collected the necessary 100,000 signatures to force a vote on the issue.

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But the idea has won over some economists, who say it could replace traditional welfare payments and give everybody the same chances in life.

© 2016 The Associated Press

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