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Friday, December 9, 2016

Switzerland caused Russia to social duel


5 June in Switzerland was conducted in a unique referendum. It was a question whether the Swiss are the world’s first to residents of the state, which provides a stable income not only if you are retired or disabled, but even when you do not work. Supporters of the referendum have not convinced of the need for reform. Through it the inhabitants of Switzerland, including foreigners living in the country 5 years, would warrant the allowance of 2.5 million francs (€2,26 thousand) per month for adults and 625 francs (€565) — – for child.

The vast majority of local voters (over 80%) were opposed to this. This initiative would have led to a sharp increase in taxes — e.g. VAT. Accordingly, to increase prices, which in Switzerland are very high. In other words, the majority decided that to pay those who do not work, makes no sense. Especially immigrants.

However, social assistance in Switzerland and so one of the biggest in the world. Therefore, the Swiss presented a great lesson for the Russian government, the head of a direction “Finance and Economics” Institute of contemporary development Nikita Maslennikov.


photo: morguefile.com

— Why the majority of voters in Switzerland voted against such benefits? Of 2.3 thousand euros in the Old World you can live and work…

— The Swiss like to count every franc. Most of the indigenous inhabitants of this country earn enough. Average salary in Switzerland is around 6 million francs ($6 thousand) per month. But such workers extra not expected. They would have to take on additional tax, respectively, and social payments. Would have to increase the value added tax (VAT) and consumption of fuel resources. In General, sharply increased the prices, including for socially unprotected layers of the population, which in the framework of this referendum and tried to help. It is obvious that this referendum is swung on the big money: according to estimates, as additional costs would have to spend 208 billion francs a year. This is almost one third of Swiss GDP. In addition, the Swiss feared that the new benefits will take advantage of new immigrants from the Middle East.

— Why did the initiators of the referendum proposed a measure of social support, and so if it is in the Western European countries is at a high level?

— On the one hand, to blame the European bureaucrats. Social support is diverse, configured for different categories of poor is and persons with disabilities, the homeless, the unemployed, and low income families, and other people. For example, the same immigrants. Therefore, the administration of these costs and requires additional time due to various bureaucratic procedures and large government spending. Therefore, the initiators of the referendum in Switzerland and suggested to see a lot of social benefits with just one — in 2,5 thousand francs. But exact calculations are not presented. The people of Switzerland, the majority of whom are wealthy people, are unable to understand what benefits it can provide. So they voted against it.

— Will work whether the results of the referendum on the inhabitants of other European countries, which also going to introduce the same high social benefits?

— Similar legislation being worked out in Finland, and even in Canada and Australia. But only at the municipal level. Talking about national referendums is not.

— But for Russia it is a challenge? Maybe we can pay a significant benefits? Just who and how?

— In the Russian currency that offered to pay in Switzerland, is about 170 thousand rubles a month. But Switzerland ranks first in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Russia is on the 57-58-m places in this list. For those benefits we have no money. And in the near future is not expected.

But the historical challenge to be answered. It is necessary to improve the targeting of benefits, including veterans and the disabled, not to distribute them to disabled, foreign workers and so on. In Russia more than a third of the budget is spent on social assistance to the population. And this figure grows every year. But the number of poor is increasing every year. It means that such government spending is inefficient. This is what must first be corrected. The referendum in this case does not help.

Watch the video on “Why the Swiss refused unconditional income of 2,500 francs”

Swiss citizens in a referendum on 5 June did not support the idea of providing all residents a guaranteed basic income. Only 22% of voters voted for the initiative. The amount of guaranteed monthly payments is not known, however, according to sources, it could be two and a half thousand Swiss francs. How could it happen that people are refused a “freebie” money, though not very large by the standards of wealthy Switzerland? To explain “mysterious Swiss soul” we asked the editor of the Economics Department at “MK” Konstantin Smirnov and editor of the international Department, senior researcher, IMEMO Andrey Slavskogo

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