(P1) Swiss voters rejected a plan to introduce a guaranteed monthly income for all citizens. Almost 77 percent of voters said no. The idea was for a minimum salary of around $2,500 for those who have been a citizen for five years, whether they worked or not. Supporters said it was necessary to replace Switzerland’s social welfare system to fight poverty and inequality. It would also give more money to people who earned below the minimum wage.
(P2) Supporters argued that automation was reducing the number of jobs available. The campaign group Basic Income Switzerland said the money would not be for doing nothing. It said: “In Switzerland, over 50 percent of total work that is done is unpaid. It’s care work. It’s at home. It’s in different communities so that work would be more valued with a basic income.” Opponents said: “You would have billions of people who would try to move into Switzerland.”
VOCABULARY: rejected, poverty, inequality, automation, campaign, unpaid
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you agree or disagree with a guaranteed monthly for all citizens? Why?
- Does your country have a social welfare system? Tell about it.
- Why do you think people live in poverty?
READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:
- What percentage of the voters said no to the basic income proposal?
- The Swiss citizens said the current social welfare program needs to be replaced. (T or F)
- What is the name of the group for the basic income proposal?
- People against the free income said millions would go to Switzerland to live. (T or F)
EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:
What do the following expressions or phrases mean?
- Social welfare system (P1)
- Minimum wage (P1)
- Care work (P2)
- Basic income (P2)