Eradicate poverty in 2022
The best way to improve society is to improve the situation of those who have been hardest hit by injustice, inequality and powerlessness. This is not complicated, in fact the same principle applies as when you want to repair a faulty clock. You fix things that do not work. It is therefore clear which groups the public sector should first support, strengthen and build up. It is the poorest, the people who suffer the most because of the injustices of society.
Iceland is a country rich in resources and since there are few people living here, we are therefore a rich nation. These two, wealth and few, make it easy for us to eradicate poverty from society. We have nothing wrong with it. Other than the mindset.
In recent decades, all emphasis has been placed on improving the conditions of the wealthiest, lowering taxes on the rich, strengthening capital and business owners and giving in to their demands. If we turn this around and meet the demands of the poor, relieve those burdens and the burdensome struggles of life, we will not only succeed in eradicating poverty, but we will succeed in strengthening and empowering society as a whole.
Research has shown that equality not only improves the living conditions of the most disadvantaged, but also increases trust and security in society, reduces crime and encourages the activity of citizens and prolongs life and general health. And equality also strengthens the economy, builds the resilience of companies and society, and makes the economy better able to withstand shocks.
It is equally clear that society has enough vigor to eradicate poverty. That’s enough. The Treasury has the capacity to finance measures against poverty and there are no measures as urgent and none that will bring us as much benefit. In some cases, it is a matter of shifting the tax burden, from the poor to the rich, while in others it is such a lucrative measure that it is obvious that the state prints money to support it or borrows from the Central Bank.
The eradication of poverty should therefore not only be the goal of the poor but of everyone in society. Those who do not struggle with day-to-day poverty will reap a much better society without all the pain that comes with poverty, helplessness, anxiety, and the shame that is imposed on the poor.
The Socialist Party therefore proposes some clear and simple measures to eradicate poverty from Icelandic society, measures that will have an effect as soon as a majority is formed in Althingi to enforce them.
SEVEN KEYS TO ENDING POVERTY
I. Stop taxing poverty
It is both stupid and immoral to collect taxes from people who have such a low income that they cannot support themselves. The minimum subsistence level for individuals and families should be examined and the taxation of income covered by it should be prohibited. If the housing costs of each taxpayer need to be taken into account, this should be done.
II. No one with less than the minimum wage
Retired people, the disabled, the unemployed, students and those who are dependent on municipalities do not have strike weapons to fight for their living conditions. The income of these groups should therefore be based on a minimum of the lowest agreed wage terms in the labor market.
III. Children have no income and can therefore not bear any expenses
Children need special protection against poverty. Children have no income and it is therefore absurd to charge the fees for health services, education, leisure, transport or anything else that can be classified as services to which all children are entitled. Children should enjoy a personal tax deduction like adults, so that the family personal allowance is in proportion to the number of family members.
IV. Free health care
Ill health, accidents or trauma should not undermine people’s finances. It is enough that people struggle with the diseases themselves, the consequences of accidents and trauma and the loss of income that comes with it, even though health and medical institutions do not add to the trauma and charge the sick. We should pay for health care when we are healthy and in the labor market, not when we have become ill and disabled.
V. The housing revolution: 30 thousand apartments in ten years
Affordable and safe housing is a prerequisite for all welfare and health services. Financial support for those living with rent increases is burning up in the housing market. The personal support and empowerment of the person living with relentless financial anxiety does not work. The basic premise for building a strong welfare system here, which in turn is a precondition for eradicating poverty, is a major effort in the development of social housing. The Socialists are proposing a housing revolution in which 30,000 social housing units will be built throughout the country over the next ten years.
VI. Protect tenants from fraud
Low-income people in the rental market are mostly sandwiched between low-income and over-rent. To protect these people until the construction of social housing has permanently reduced rental prices, a rental ceiling needs to be put in place to stop the turmoil, increase housing benefits so that no one pays more than a quarter of their income in housing costs and legislate rent to ensure tenants security and protection. Those laws provide e.g. that the tenants’ association is a party to the rental price.
VII. Let’s build a non-governmental organization
The best way to ensure justice and equality in society is for the public to organize their interests in trade unions and other non-governmental organizations. The government should encourage and strengthen such organizations. Protecting the poor from the oppression of wealth requires strong tenants’ associations, associations of pensioners, students and the unemployed, associations of immigrants and children, associations of people living in municipalities, patients, debtors and consumers. Strong such organizations are a prerequisite for building a just society here. The struggle of the public should become the main partner of the state and take the place of the interest groups of the rich and powerful.
Socialist Sixth Offer to 2021 Voters: Eliminate Poverty in 2022
The Socialist Party’s sixth offer to the electorate this autumn on the elimination of poverty is about stopping taxing poverty, that no one has a lower income than the minimum wage, that children will not be required to pay for self-service and receive a personal allowance, that health care will be free and funded. through the tax system, that 30,000 social housing units will be built over the next ten years, that tenants will be specially protected from harassment and insecurity, and that NGOs will be strengthened to maintain a strong struggle for interests and build justice within the community.
All of these are obvious and natural demands that the vast majority of Icelanders should be able to accept. It is in everyone’s interest to eradicate poverty. It is nowhere decent and least of all in the richest societies on earth. It is our duty as Icelanders to eradicate poverty from our society and to help other societies to do the same.