Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More criticisms of WWG report

Tapu Misa says the Welfare Working Group Report is a waste of money:

On the one hand, it says things like: "Most people on the unemployment benefit are motivated to find paid work." "Sole parents face extra challenges in undertaking [parenting] roles alone."

On the other hand, it goes on about "benefit dependency " and with nearly 7% unemployment, Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett has the nerve to talk about a "a lifestyle choice".

Mike O' Brian professor of social policy at Massey University says the obvious that:"the critical consideration is the availability of work and the personal and social supports surrounding that, not the alleged behaviour and lack of motivation of beneficiaries." Around 2007, When jobs were available before the latest capitalist crash, numbers on the unemployment benefit had dwindled to tiny amounts. In other words, "benefit dependency" is a myth.

O'Brien notes that not only are some dependents more politically acceptable than others - the more than 257,000 getting tax credits under Working for Families, for example,(which is denied to single parents on benefits even if they are also working) or the superannuitants who make up our largest and most expensive beneficiary group - but that "dependence" has overtaken "poverty" as the greater evil to be avoided.

Tapu Misa: "Well, of course. Dependence is the beneficiary's problem; poverty might imply responsibility on the part of the state."

In some kind of twisted logic, the WWG report seems to think that the poverty of people on a benefit is not caused by lack of money; but by by getting any money at all!

The obvious way to eliminate poverty is to raise all benefits immediately to liveable levels and to create real jobs for all who need them. ( Labour didn't do this when it was in power, and is not even whispering about doing such a thing now.)

But that would not leave starving people competing desperately on an over-crowded labour market labour enabling employers to pay sub poverty wages in appalling work conditions and make super profits.

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