What would change for you if you were to receive 1,000 euros every month for a year – without any consideration?
The association “Mein Grundeinkommen” has been making this possible since 2014. The money is collected via crowdfunding and the basic income is raffled off for 12 months at a time in order to spread the idea. NewsABC.net spoke to three people currently on Basic Income and asked them about their experiences.
These are their stories:
Hannelore, 73, retired
Actually, Hannelore is very satisfied with her life. She lives with her big dog in the vineyards near Ludwigsburg and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. Only the 73-year-old was often short of money. “If I save a lot, I can manage,” she says in an interview with NewsABC.net.
But then she received the news in summer 2020 that she would receive a basic income of 1,000 euros every month for one year. Hannelore became aware of the project through a friend. Since then, she had also supported the association financially – just like the other two protagonists in this article. “I couldn’t believe it at first,” says the pensioner.
“The money made a lot of things more relaxed,” she says. With the basic income she could pay for repairs and renovations in her apartment and buy some new furniture. “Now everything looks brighter and friendlier and I feel even better,” says Hannelore. “I couldn’t have afforded that without the basic income.”
“I have great friends. I often think it’s worth more than all the money in the world “
When she was a young woman, her mother died. She had to take care of the family’s bakery and her seven siblings. To this day, she likes to stand up for others. And even now she says: “I want to give something back.”
She did not experience envy because of the unexpected profit. “A lot of people said: ‘You got the right one,’” she says with a laugh. “I have great friends. I often think it’s worth more than all the money in the world. ”When NewsABC.net called, she was just reading a book by Dutch author Rutger Bregman,“ Utopias for Realists ”. The book advocates, among other things, the 15-hour week and the unconditional basic income.
According to her own experience, Hannelore believes that the basic income would help those who have suddenly lost their jobs as a result of the corona pandemic or who are in a difficult situation as welfare recipients anyway. “I am firmly convinced that the basic income would make Germany or the world better,” she affirmed. “People would not become lazy, but more active. There would be fewer wars and people would not cut down the forests out of necessity. “
She hopes that the corona crisis may offer an opportunity for change, especially with regard to the environment, garbage and consumption. In her childhood, everyday products such as sausage, chocolate or coffee were something special. “Luxury has become a matter of course today. It would be good if we could get back on track, ”she says. Young people in particular value time with family and good friends again. “I think we are changing. Other values are becoming more important again. “
Holger, 29, fitness trainer
At the beginning of last year, Holger was happy to be able to stand financially on his own two feet. Parallel to his studies in sports economics, he worked as a fitness trainer, both employed in a hotel and self-employed. But then he had to go on short-time work because of the corona pandemic and only had a third of his income available.
“I had to rely on my parents for support again. I was very uncomfortable, ”said Holger in an interview with NewsABC.net. That changed, however, when he won the basic income for one year in March. He has been active for the initiative as a so-called crowd squirrel for several years: Anyone who regularly supports the project with a small or large amount of money automatically takes part in the raffle for the basic income.
“The basic income was a great relief for me,” says the Freiburg resident. The money will allow him to focus on his master’s degree before hopefully going back to his job soon. So it offers him both security and freedom. The 29-year-old is also thinking about his future: “I can now put money aside again for my old-age provision. As a freelancer, that’s important. “
Despite the financial support, he misses his job and his colleagues. “It’s stupid if you’ve wanted to work for a year and aren’t allowed to.” The fitness trainer believes that with a basic income, more people would dare to start their own business. In such a case, he himself might open his own small gym. In his opinion, the basic income could also save a lot of bureaucratic effort in state benefits such as the disability pension. “I assume that everyone is looking for a job,” says Holger.
Almut, 30, dance teacher
The dance teacher Almut can only work to a very limited extent due to the corona pandemic, currently only ten percent. The basic income that she has been receiving since March therefore came at exactly the right time for her. “I freaked out when I found out about it,” says the Friborg native. Her brother had checked the winning numbers and called her that night.
Now the money helps her in a difficult time. “Last year would have been my best year so far,” says Almut. But all of their dance projects have failed. While she felt well supported by the state last year, there was hardly any financial aid this year.
“I was lucky. I know how others are doing too, ”says the dance teacher. On the phone, she often speaks to desperate and crying colleagues and friends. That is why she has a bit of a bad conscience because of the basic income. Nevertheless: “Most of them were happy for me.”
The money enabled her to start a new phase of life with her boyfriend and move to a larger apartment. It is not easy to find something affordable in Freiburg. In addition, Almut has founded a non-profit association. “That was more effort than expected. I wouldn’t have been able to do that in normal working hours, ”she says.
She loves dancing and choreography, so changing jobs was out of the question for her. “My job is my calling,” explains Almut. The regular basic income now gives her the necessary security and peace of mind to take part in training courses and prepare projects. When it starts again, she can start with 100 percent.
She observes with concern that the high rents in her city are leading to a financial split: Freiburg residents have to spend up to 40 percent of their income on rent – a heavy burden. “I know a lot of people who would like to work in art and culture or in nursing, but cannot afford it.” With a basic income, many would be more willing to do so, she believes. But politicians don’t dare to invest in projects: “I think too much money is being put into the wrong things, such as rescuing an airline.”
What is behind the idea of a basic income
The unconditional basic income has both supporters and opponents. The supporters hope for more freedom and security for the recipients, who, freed from the worst financial worries, can lead a happier life and be socially and entrepreneurially active.
Critics recall the high costs associated with introducing a basic income. A monthly payment of 1,000 euros to all adults alone adds up to more than 800 billion euros per year – around 300 billion euros more than the federal budget for 2021.
But if, for example, Germany had paid all 495,000 self-employed cultural workers from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to August 2021 (i.e. 18 months) a basic income of 1,000 euros per month, costs of 8.91 billion euros would have arisen – and thus less money than State aid was promised to Lufthansa alone.
The association “Mein Grundeinkommen” also considers the calculation of the costs of the basic income to be “fundamentally wrong” and refers to various financing models. Accordingly, the basic income is above all a tax reform. “Depending on the financing model, people with low incomes have more money available, the so-called middle class about the same and the richest a little less than before,” says the association.
The idea also has prominent supporters, such as dm founder Götz Werner. And recently the “Basic Income Pilot Project” was started, with which various research institutes want to scientifically investigate the basic income.