welfare reform

Guest Post – Reclaiming the left

This guest post was emailed last night. I don’t agree with everything in here, but far be it from me to filter the voices of those on the left frustrated and zero traction.
How To Win It From Here – by Reclaiming the Left
So, it’s a bad time to be a leftie. Labour looks like losing the “election that couldn’t be lost.” And losing it badly. I had high hopes for Cunliffe, and I liked Goff too. Sigh.
I’ve been pissed off with a lot of the left for ages. There’s a lot of squabbling, but more importantly, very little focus.
Let’s get some things straight. Socialism is about the collective, not individuals or interest groups. Socialism is not about hippy bullshit. Many on the left have forgotten that. However, if we get back to our roots, and smash a few big-hitting policies straight off the bat, we might just do it.
The Big One: Work for the Dole
WfD is the best socialist policy there is. Everyone has a right to a job, but the government has the right to your labour as well. I’d do WfD right; good pay ($15/hr, 40hrs) with maybe 3 months on an infrastructure project then 1 month training on reduced pay. That sort of cycle would give people a chance to get back into the labour market easily enough. Yeah, it’d cost a bit (more on that later) but it’d break welfare dependency because it would turn the dole into a “community wage.”
And if you refuse it, and don’t have a disability? You get nothing.
The Next Big One: Revitalising the Provinces
Small town NZ is dying. Auckland is turning into a cancer, a tumour too big for the rest of the country to handle. Let’s revitalise the provinces – (1) special economic zones (e.g. zero corporate tax!) for places like Tokoroa and Kawerau, (2) moving some bureaucratic jobs into the provinces e.g. WINZ, (3) using WfD infrastructure projects, and (4) making sure all overseas immigrants settle in smalltowns. Try outmanouevring that, National.  Read more »

This has to come in under Nats

No 10 has a  plan to cap benefits at two children. New mothers with three children would lose £700 in £5bn welfare crackdown.

The proposal would mean parents with three children, who would currently be entitled to child benefit because their annual income is less than £50,000, would lose out on £696 a year.

The initiative has been put forward by Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, recently appointed by David Cameron to the No 10 policy board to come up with vote-winning policies for the Conservative Election manifesto. Mr Zahawi is a close ally of Chancellor George Osborne, who said last week he was determined to find billions of pounds of extra savings in the welfare budget.

Opinion polls show strong public support for welfare cuts and the Tories say it is vital  to encourage greater responsibility. But the idea is likely to  be criticised by Labour as an attack on hard-up families.

The Tories say it is ‘nonsense’ to call the idea ‘social engineering’ or compare it to China’s ‘one child policy’ to curb population growth.

There comes a point when you’ve emptied the welfare cupboard and the burden on the net taxpayers is simply not sustainable.  Welfare stops being a safety net, and instead turns into a dragnet.   Of course, like irresponsible children, the left start to whine you’re taking their iPad away.   Read more »

Another good idea from George Osborne, I hope Paula has him on speed dial

Paula Bennett should get over to the UK or Skype in to George Osborne and follow along with that he is doing to end the culture of bludgers.

Benefits will be stripped from the long-term jobless unless they work full time picking up litter, removing graffiti or preparing meals for the elderly.

George Osborne will today announce details of the US-style ‘work for the dole’ programme, starting within six months and affecting 200,000 welfare claimants.

Revealed by the Mail last week, the £300million scheme ends the concept of simply ‘signing on’, the Chancellor will tell the Tory party conference.

And he will accuse Labour of allowing people to linger on benefits for years – with no questions asked – while letting uncontrolled numbers of migrants fill low-paid jobs.

Speaking on ITV’s Daybreak ahead of his speech, Mr Osborne said: ‘From now on, people are going to have to do something in return for those benefits.  Read more »

Has Chris Trotter ever heard of Godwin’s Law?

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From Wikipedia:

Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies) is an assertion made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitlerapproaches1.” In other words, Godwin said that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis.

Although in one of its early forms Godwin’s law referred specifically to Usenetnewsgroup discussions, the law is now often applied to any threaded online discussion, such as forums, chat rooms and blog comment threads, and has been invoked for the inappropriate use of Nazi analogies in articles or speeches. The law is sometimes invoked prescriptively to mark the end of a discussion when a Nazi analogy is made, with the writer who made the analogy being considered to have lost the argument.

Chris Trotter has well and truly lost the argument before it even began with this tosh this morning.

The National Party-led Government’s dramatic reform of New Zealand’s social welfare system marks an ominous turning-point in the country’s history. Never before has the state been willing to satisfy so completely the most punitive, the cruellest and the most nakedly sociopathic impulses of its wealthiest citizens.   Read more »

Work, not welfare, uplifts the poor.

Continuing examples of lessons from the poverty wars by Peter Cove. His contention is that work, not welfare lift the poor…which was precisely what I was talking about with a couple of left-wingers at the pub on Friday evening.

I’ve become fed up with the useless policies that I once supported, and I’m trying to change the strategy of our bogged-down army.

We know for certain that income transfers, the preferred tactic of generations of liberals, have utterly failed to end poverty. My firsthand experience with welfare clients has shown me why: being on the dole encourages dependency. Working at a real job, by contrast, is the surest way for a person to climb out of poverty. Accordingly, the surest way for the government to fight poverty is to eliminate cash assistance almost entirely and offer jobs instead.

Fortunately the left-wingers at the table all agreed with that sentiment, unfortunately others still prefer the destruction of welfare.

Welfare isn’t working…if it did we would have solved the issue of poverty long ago. Getting people into work is what is needs…and almost any job is good enough.

Read more »

Those most in need must come first

NZ Herald

The NZ Herald editorial identifies that despite all the morning minnies the simple fact remains that those most vulnerable are those most in need. You do have to wonder why we even bother to listen to the UN and their busy-bodies:

In the context of children, that means concentrating funding where it is most needed and most cost-effective. It makes no sense to provide welfare for the comfortably off as well as the most vulnerable if the burden on the budget cripples the economy on which all New Zealanders depend.

The United Nations children’s fund Unicef, which drafted the agencies’ statement, also said that Ms Bennett’s proposals risk “stigmatising” the 15 per cent of children defined as vulnerable. That, again, is a skew-whiff view of the Government’s intent.

The plan is to help these children by identifying them early, devoting extra funding to them, and providing a safe and nurturing environment. It is misguided to confuse this focus with stigmatisation.

Not a wish-list, They are a to-do list.

NZ Herald

The government has announced a must do list for the state sector to get their teeth into. About time:

The Government wants Work and Income to cut the number of long-term beneficiaries on a working-age benefit by 30 per cent over five years, Prime Minister John Key has just announced.

That would see the number of people on working age benefits drop from 78,000 to 55,000 by 2017.

It also wants to cuts criminal re-offending by 25 per cent by 2017 and cut total crime by 15 per cent.

The new goals are part of 10 specific targets the Government is setting the public sector under the programme called “better public services.”

One of the targets relating to NCEA was announced by Mr Key in March and some by Finance Minister Bill English in the Budget.

Today they have completed the list.

The welfare target just announced relates to people on unemployment related benefits, the sickness benefit, women alone benefits and sole parents and widows whose youngest children are aged over 14. All of those benefits will become known next year as”job seeker support” from July next year.

“These targets are not a wish-list,” Mr Key said. “They are a to-do list.”

The full list is:

Result 1. Reduce the number of people who have been on a working-age benefit for more than 12 months by 30 per cent by 2017.

Result 2. Increase participation in early childhood education from 94.7 per cent in 2011 to 98 per cent in 2016.

Result 3. Increase infant immunisation rates from 92.8 per cent for two-years to 95 per cent for eight month old by 2017; and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000 by 2017.

Result 4. Reduce the number of assaults on children by 1000 – it’s on a trajectory to rise from 3000 a year to 4000 a year in 2017.

Result 5. Increasing the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA level 2 or equivalent from 67 per cent in 2010 to 85 per cent in 2017.

Result 6. Increase the proportion of 25 – 34 year olds with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees (at level four and above) from 52 per cent in 2012 to 55 per cent.

Result 7. Reduce the rates of total crime by 15 per cent by 2017 or 45,000 fewer crimes each year; reduce violent crime by 20 per cent or 7500 fewer violent crimes each year; and reduce youth crime by 5 per cent. or 600 fewer 14 – 16 year olds appearing in court.

Result 8. Reduce reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 – which means 600 fewer prisoners and 18,500 fewer victims of crime each year from 2017.

Result 9. New Zealand businesses have a one-stop online shop for all Go Government advice and support they need to run and grow their business.

Result 10.New Zealanders can complete their transactions with Government easily in a digital environment, aiming for 70 per cent of common transaction with Governing to be done digitally compared with 24 per cent now.

Pity no one says this here, Ctd

Sydney Morning Herald

What chance of seeing an opposition spokesperson (or even a Government one) make a statement like this?

SHADOW treasurer Joe Hockey has condemned systems of ”universal entitlement” in Western democracies, contrasting this attitude with the concept of ”filial piety” thriving across Asia where people get what they work for and families look after their own.

Speaking in London, Mr Hockey said that by Western standards the highly constrained public safety net in Hong Kong and other Asian places might seem brutal ”but it works and it is financially sustainable”.

”Contrast this with what we find in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. All of them have enormous entitlement systems spanning education, health, income support, retirement benefits, unemployment benefits.”

Government revenues fell far short of meeting the cost and the difference had to be made up by borrowing.

While he was less critical of Australia, saying that over the years there had been some key decisions to reduce spending, Mr Hockey said it still had ”a lot of spending by government which many voters see as their entitlement”.

He said a lower level of entitlement meant countries were free to allow business and individuals to be successful. ”It reduces taxation, meaning individuals spend less of their time working for the state, and more of their time working for themselves and their family.”

Both sides of the Western political spectrum were to blame for the entitlement mentality. Socialist governments had created a huge array of entitlements, and conservative governments had promised to fix the problem but just trimmed round the edges.

”Perhaps the real problem is the exuberant excesses of politicians who do not seem to understand or care about the fact that, like a household, a nation needs to balance its budget over time,” he said.

But now ”the age of unlimited and unfunded entitlement to government services and income support is over”, he said. ”We are now in an era where leaders are much more wary about credit risk.”

It’s not just the Catholics who get it wrong

The Bishops in the House of Lords are getting in the way of welfare reform, backing those who don’t try over those who do.

Mr Duncan Smith said the Church of England bishops, who are threatening to derail his planned £26,000 benefit cap, should think more of low-income families who try to do “the right thing”.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he acknowledged that his plans to limit the total payments any household can receive could face defeat in the House of Lords tomorrow.

He urged the bishops, who are leading the opposition in the upper chamber, to rethink their objections, insisting they were not doing the poor any favours.
“The question I’d ask these bishops is, over all these years, why have they sat back and watched people being placed in houses they cannot afford? It’s not a kindness,” he said.

“I would like to see their concerns about ordinary people, who are working hard, paying their tax and commuting long hours, who don’t have as much money as they would otherwise because they’re paying tax for all of this. Where is the bishops’ concern for them?

“I would like to see a more balanced response from the bishops.

“It’s all very well for the bishops to express a political opinion, but I would love them to ask about the poor people on low incomes who are working hard, whose families share rooms, who are doing the right thing.”

At least it isn’t protecting institutional boy buggering and coverups.