There’s nothing like a new idea to give a politician hope in an election year – and what Labour leader David Cunliffe pledge yesterday
to big acclaim in a speech much-hyped by his supporters yesterday was nothing like a new idea. Or a good one.
It was what columnist George Will once called “the politics of seeming to care,” expressed by Cunliffe in rummaging through the recycling bin of the Ghosts of Elections Past.
Didn’t we have a universal “family benefit” back in the day, finally abandoned only in 1991?
Didn’t we have a Labour hopeful here some years ago offering a “baby bonus” to a ungrateful electorate? And see it rejected by Australian Labor as recently as last year. (Why? Because they couldn’t afford it.)
Haven’t we already seen a Labour party here, just recently, buy a win with an election bribe, Welfare for Working Families – premised on “lifting everyone out of poverty” while enlisting most of NZ’s middle class as welfare beneficiaries?
There’s nothing new in buying votes from people with their own money. Perhaps the only thing new in Silent T’s latest offering, having tots on the taxpayers’ tit from birth, is pretending this is “targeted” welfare – when the target is every family in the country with an income under $150,000.
Welfare for the rich, you might call it. Or, an election bribe for the many.
So, with corporate welfare and Cunliffe welfare added in, will be anyone in the country soon who isn’t eligible for handout from other taxpayers? A country of four million, all of whom are on the mooch?
UPDATE: Top tweets about the taxpayer top-up.