Monday, August 11, 2008

Topping up your DPB

There's no reason that parents of school-age children can't go to work. In fact, most of them do. Many parents on the DPB do too -- it's just done under the table. Is there a problem with forcing all DPB parents to do that, and make it all out in the open?

Yes, there might be.

If National's scheme to allow DPB beneficiaries with school-age children to work up to fifteen hours without affecting the benefit we're paying them, then we -- you and I -- will still be paying parents of children over six for their broods (when would we stop paying them?), we'd be paying for more bureaucrats to administer the scheme (and bureaucrats don't come cheap), we'd be regularising the idea that beneficiaries are entitled to this money as a top-up (and can you imagine how honest part-time workers with school-age children are going to feel when they realise that they're paying to keep their work colleagues in food and nappies?), and we'd be be encouraging 'career beneficiaries' to go out and breed again to avoid having to earn some honest money.

In short, it will do nothing either to lessen the entitlement culture, or to stop the process of paying no-hopers to breed. In fact, it might even encourage no-hopers to breed even more children they don't really want, to avoid the work they don't really like.

So National's proposal is not even a halfway house to stopping the out-of-control DPB benefit culture, or to put a stop to 'career' DPB beneficiaries. A more effective halfway house might be to limit the number of children for which one can put one's hands in the taxpayer's pocket. This is a measure that will achieve nothing, and cost much.

Why would you bother offering it?

UPDATE 1: Liberty Scott has a decent four-point plan that you'd think even National Socialists could support:

    1. Anyone currently on the DPB can claim no more benefit for any additional children while they're on it.
    2. DPB becomes same as unemployment benefit when youngest child reaches school age (almost got that one).
    3. 1 year warning that no DPB will be granted to anyone unwilling to name (accurately) other liable parent.
    4. No one convicted of a serious violent or sexual offence entitled to receive any welfare benefits whatsoever.

Makes sense as a first step towards decent reform: outright abolition after three years.

UPDATE 2: And Lindsay Mitchell comments timidly -- at least until she's heard the full speech. You might like to know that "the percentage of recipients caring for a child aged 6 or under is 60.8%.," and "36 percent have been on the benefit for between one and four years ... 'this time'."

UPDATE 3: Now she's head the full speech, Lindsay M. is right on the money:

National's plan to deal with the huge DPB problem is tired and gutless...
If DPB recipients want to avoid work-testing when their youngest turns
six there is an obvious solution. Make sure their youngest is always under 6.
Children are already added to existing benefits at the rate of around 5,000 a
year. This policy further encourages people to have children for no better
reason than to allow the parent to avoid work.
Even worse, National's approach does nothing to stop very young women being enticed on to benefits. The teenage birthrate has been increasing since 2002 with most young mothers going on welfare. Up to half of current DPB recipients started on welfare as teenagers. A period of six years before having to think about a working future is a long time in the mind of a teenager.

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