Switzerland Rejects Free Income Plan

August 8, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. conclude / kənˈklud / (v.) – to end
Example: The meeting concluded with an agreement to postpone the plan. 

2. slate
 / sleɪt / (v.) – to set a schedule for something
Example: The movie is slated for an April release.

3. adopt / əˈdɒpt / (v.) – to start implementing something
Example: The city will adopt the new policy next month.

4. target / ˈtɑr gɪt / (n.) – something that is vulnerable to an attack
Example: The relaxed tax laws made the country a target for companies seeking lower tax rates.

5. prospect / ˈprɒs pɛkt / (n.) – a chance for something to take place
Example: She moved abroad because she had very few employment prospects back home.


Read the text below.
The voting on whether or not the free income plan would be implemented in Switzerland has already concluded, with the result being a no.

Free income, also known as basic income, is a guaranteed sum paid by the government to its citizens regardless of their ability and willingness to work. Its roots trace back to 16th-century Europe when some citizens realized that the responsibility of taking care of the poor should fall not only on the Church and charitable organizations. This ideology still persists in Europe, with Dutch city Utrecht slated to adopt the plan in 2017.

The Swiss debate regarding the free income plan was initiated by café owner Daniel Häni and his co-imitators. Under the Swiss law, any citizen can propose a change in the constitution. If it receives 100,000 signatories, it will be put to a public vote. Supporters of the plan believe that passing it would encourage people to work on their passions, to do charity work, and to have more family time. Supporters proposed a monthly amount of 2,500 Swiss francs for adults and 625 francs for children below 18.

However, not everyone was on board with the idea. The vote, which took place in June, showed that 76.9% of voters opposed the plan.

Critics argued that passing the plan could make Switzerland a target for migrants who wish to improve their prospects professionally and economically. According to a member of the Swiss parliament, billions of people will try to move to Switzerland if there is a guaranteed monthly payout. The proposal allows foreigners who have legally lived in the country for five years to receive the same amount as the citizens.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If the free income plan were to be passed in your country, would the monthly payout be enough for monthly expenses? Why or why not?
·         Do you support the free income plan? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you believe that citizens should be able to propose changes to the constitution? Why or why not?
·         If you could propose a change in your country’s constitution, what would it be and why?

August 8, 2016