CLAIRE BISSEKER: Growth will never be enough; SA needs to run just to stand still
A basic income grant now looks inevitable. By implication, SA is headed for an era of higher taxes amid rising fiscal risk
My fellow columnist, the inestimable Jonny Steinberg, is dismayed at the binary way in which the debate over a basic income grant is being conducted in SA, where the choice is being framed as one between more welfare or more job creation (“Unemployment is here to stay: that should be our starting point (https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/columnists/2021-07-29-jonny-steinberg-unemployment-is-here-to-stay-that-should-be-our-starting-point/),” July 29).
His argument is that SA has little choice but to extend welfare (or some other form of redress), since unemployment is deeply structural. He notes that even at the end of the commodity supercycle in 2008, SA’s unemployment rate only dropped to 22%, so it’s crazy to think we will ever eradicate unemployment through faster growth...