Welfare dependence in New Zealand is intergenerational. There’s around a million or more New Zealanders who depend on welfare for their weekly wedge. And, as Lindsay Mitchell reports, new research shows conclusively that, and I quote, “three quarters of the forward cost of welfare rests with those who go on welfare under twenty.”
Got that? Three quarters of the forward cost of welfare rests with those who go on welfare under twenty.
And of that number under twenty,
(9 in 10) were from beneficiary families, the majority of whom received a main benefit for most of their teen years.
51% were in beneficiary families for 80% or more of their teen years.
So it surely looks as though entitle-itis is born, not made.
As Lindsay says, “this gets to the crux of welfare dependence. For the most past, welfare is not helping helping folk get out of a bad situation. Instead, it is encouraging bad situations to remain, and to become intergenerational.
It is not helping people out of the shit. It is creating generation after generation of folk who see shit as their permanent station in life – as suckers on the state tit for life.
Call it the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Only the people who created this system could be happy.
It’s not just unaffordable – government debt increasing every year to pay for it. It’s not just unsustainable – the experiment is only decades long, and already beyond the means of most countries to sustain it. It’s destructive all round, for no real fruit.
So how do we get welfare out of the shit?
How about start by removing welfare at the margins.
What are the margins?
Well, there’s a list you can make, from most- to least-deserving of your coin:
- Individuals and families who are in the shit
- Businesses and sports teams who are in the shit
- Businesses and sports teams who want a favour
Then, use the Old-White-Haired Mother test created by PJ O’Rourke: recognise that all welfare is paid for out of somebody else’s pocket, extracted at the barrel of a gun. So ask yourself, does this particular measure justify putting a gun to the head of my kindly white-haired old mother.
Unless you’re a Sky City director you’d have to agree at getting rid of #3. And unless you’re a beneficiary of South Canterbury Finance, or Grant Dalton, you’d surely agree there’s little justification for #2.
See how easy it is? Already we’ve slashed away some big margins.
How about the people in item 1: individuals and families who are in the shit. What do we do about them.
Here’s another kind of list that cuts through the fog:
- People who through no choice of their own are in the shit; and
- People who’ve made choices that turned into shit; and finally
- People who’ve chosen to stay in the shit.
It’s fairly clear that in any kind of quest for coin, it’s not number 3 who are the most deserving of your white-haired old mother’s mugging.
And those #2 folk can, at best, only justify mugging her temporarily, by making their stay on the state tit temporary.
So #1 folk are the only ones with any kind of moral claim on my mother’s mugging – people who through no choice of their own, and through either disability, illness or severe quadriplegia are in the shit for life, with no parole.
And, well, really, there’s hardly a million in that boat, is there. Let’s be fair, hardly even 10,000.
Not so many, in fact, that they couldn’t all be helped out by voluntary charity…
Think about it.
Intergenerational state welfare has delivered unsustainable debt and an all-but permanent underclass.
If you can save those permanently enmired and your white-haired old mother at the same time, why wouldn’t you?
If we’re going to help – you know, like actually help, with actual positive outcomes and all that -- then let’s help people out of the shit they’re in, not lock them (and us) in there permanently.