Free money? No thanks, say Swiss voters.

Free money? No thanks, say Swiss voters, by Max Bearak.

On offer in a Swiss referendum this Sunday: a guaranteed monthly income for every adult, paid for by the government. … about $2,500 for each adult Swiss citizen and foreigners who have legally resided in the country for five years, as well as an additional $640 for each child of theirs.

The proposal was defeated by a huge margin, attracting only 22%, but not for economic reasons.

The reason for the opposition isn’t what you’d expect, either. Most aren’t worried that a universal basic income would disincentivize workers from finding jobs or turn Switzerland into a Marxist dystopia. The fear is that $2,500 a month would make the country too attractive to economic migrants.

Luzi Stamm, who represents the right-leaning Swiss People’s Party in parliament, said to the BBC, “Theoretically, if Switzerland were an island, the answer is yes. But with open borders, it’s a total impossibility, especially for Switzerland, with a high living standard.”

“If you would offer every individual a Swiss amount of money, you would have billions of people who would try to move into Switzerland,” Stamm said.