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“We don’t want to confront the fact that our safety net is not strong enough to raise people out of poverty but is strong enough to entrap people,” he told Huff Post Canada in an interview two years ago.In Segal’s view, a minimum income would mean a significant clawing back of government involvement in citizens’ lives, and the elimination of the “judgmental” aspects of social programs like welfare and EI -- government officers deciding who is and who isn’t worthy of aid.Under a negative income tax, there would be an income cutoff point below which your tax rate would be negative -- the government would pay you instead of the other way around.

Segal points out that a guaranteed income already exists in Canada -- in the form of Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which act as a minimum income for seniors.

Glen Hodgson, an economist with the Conference Board of Canada who wrote a policy paper in 2011 calling for study on a minimum income, sees it replacing what he calls a “dog’s breakfast” of social spending programs.

Welfare, EI, various tax credits for parents and low-income families could all be replaced by one payment program.

If you lose your job and your income falls below the cutoff, the government won’t respond until you file your income tax return next spring. Under the UBI, every adult gets a monthly cheque from the government, regardless of their income or circumstances.

That would solve the administrative problems of the NIT, but political objections to this could be stronger.

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