>> Swiss voters head to the polls on Saturday to decide whether to greenlight a universal minimum income for its 8 million citizens. Campaigners want to streamline the welfare state and secure a basic monthly income of 2,500 Swiss Francs for everyone regardless of whether they've got a job. But the government has slammed the proposals according to Reuter's Michael Shields in Zurich.
>> The government has advised voters to oppose the measure which they think would undermine social cohesion in the country and be very expensive to finance. The government estimates it would cost about 208 billion Swiss Francs. And even if they would take all the money that's spent on the social safety net now, and transfer it to the new program, it would still require about 25 billion Swiss Francs a year to finance, which would require either sharp spending cuts or tax increases.
>> The initiative's backers want a future-proof finances, at the time when automation is jeopardizing jobs. But they're also careful to stress a universal income won't prompt people to quit their jobs.>> The human being wants to work and also our generation but in many cases, people will do something in a job market they don't really actually wanna do.
And I think the basic income can help redesign the economy and the job market in the way that more people can actually do something they wanna do.>> Although the campaign has drawn media attention, it's likely to be rejected come Sunday, according to the polls.>> In a sense, since Switzerland is a pretty conservative country, and this is a rather path breaking proposal, of all the countries in the world, there are so very few that are looking at something like this.
And I think it's even ahead of its time for a country like Switzerland.>> As it stands, Switzerland already has a solid social safety net. Only 7% of the population is affected by poverty. The threat of slipping through the cracks is relatively low, and those who do can count on state support.
But for outsiders looking in, becoming a Swiss citizen could be about to get a whole lot more attractive.