Over 100 Indian Nations Pay Citizens a Dividend
|February 4, 2014||Posted by Staff under Geonomics In Action|
This 2014 excerpt of Reason, Feb 3, is by Jesse Walker, Books Editor and author of The United States of Paranoia.
Of the nearly 240 tribes that run gambling operations, the AP reports that “half distribute a regular per-capita payout to their members.” Such payouts have been a real help for low-income Indians.
From that AP story:
The “disenrollment epidemic” is a rising number of dramatic clashes over tribal belonging that are sweeping through more than a dozen states, from California to Michigan….
[I]n Michigan, where Saginaw Chippewa membership grew once the tribe started giving out yearly per-capita casino payments that peaked at $100,000, a recent decline in gambling profits led to disenrollment battles targeting hundreds.
The Grand Ronde, which runs Oregon’s most profitable Indian gambling operation, also saw a membership boost after the casino was built in 1995, from about 3,400 members to more than 5,000 today. The tribe has since tightened membership requirements twice, and annual per-capita payments decreased from about $5,000 to just over $3,000.
Not all of these battles have taken place within tribes that issue payouts to their members. But it’s easy to see that reducing a tribe’s membership rolls means more money for the people left over, and it’s hard not to notice that this wave of battles began just as casino wealth started taking off in the 1990s.
Ed. Notes: Good to see Reason use the term I coined in 1981, “Citizens’ Dividend”, and to use it correctly. It’s meaning and background got mangled at Wikipedia. People consistently confuse this CD, which is a share of a surplus (as are all dividends) with a “basic income”, which is a stipend whose amount is set by political fiat. Sorting that out at Wiki is another thing to do … someday.
Hopefully I’ll get to it while it still matters, before most nations are paying their citizens dividends. And no longer subsidizing special interests. And not taxing our efforts. And only recovering the socially-generated values of land, resources, ecosystem services, and government-granted privileges such as corporate charters … using geonomics in general.
Recovering all those “rents” not only gives the CD heft but also makes it possible to streamline government and the economy. Finally, everyone could get a life, not just a handful of lucky tribal members.