Polly

But a warning to Labour: if thousands of mothers end up with punishing benefit cuts because they can\’t find work they feel fits their children\’s lives, the outcry will be deafening.

Erm, why?

I do buy the argument that we should have a welfare safety net. The public provision of what people need to survive.

But I don\’t buy the argument that that safety net should provide what people want over and above that.

24 comments on “Polly

  1. “Yay punishing children for the sins of their parents!”
    Not really true.
    But better than me having to work more and my child not seeing me.

  2. @David. It’s commendable that you wish to spend time with your kids.

    It is not acceptable that you think your neighbour should pay for you to do so.

    The world or society does not owe you children, or the ability to look after them.

    If you want children, get a job to pay for them, then take the consequences of that necessity.

    It is deeply immoral to make those without children, or those who do work very hard AND look after their children, pay for your lifestyle choice.

  3. or to put it another way, nobody should starve in any country, but nobody who CAN work should be given a free ride either.. if only there were a government department who could accurately discriminate between deadbeats and those who simply cannot make a living…..

    If one could do this, I suspect about 90% of people currently receiving benefits would suffer either a reduction or an end to their benefits.

    I’m the first to donate to charity, to respond to need.. but I am the LAST to be suckered by phony pleas, like curbside hucksters with crutches, explaining how tough their lives are while they do NOTHING all day…

    I must come down on the side of removing the safety net so long as there is opposition to discriminating between those deserving of help and those who are simply taking it easy…..

  4. Am I the only one who can see synergies to be harvested here.

    On the one hand the state does not want those fallen on hard times to starve.

    On the other hand, the state does not want to pay them for no contribution.

    On the third hand, the Government employs 6 million people to push bits of paper around its bureaucracy.

    So, fire the public sector and let the skilled and capable occupants of these jobs work in the private-sector where they belong. Replace them with those on benefits.

    In one stroke this cuts unemployment and benefits to zero.

    Gordon, you can have that one for free.

  5. The best thing Bill Clinton did was push welfare reform. The two key parts are:
    1.Everybody has to work, even single mothers of small children.
    2. No more than five years of benefits, lifetime.

  6. “The best thing Bill Clinton did was push welfare reform”: did he? I thought that Newt made him do it.

  7. “Yay punishing children for the sins of their parents!”

    It’s OK, if you won’t punish the little bastards, and you won’t let me do so, Charlie Darwin will look after it for all of us.

    Lefties all pay lip service to natural laws, but do not actually believe in them.

  8. Tim,

    I do buy the argument that we should have a welfare safety net. The public provision of what people need to survive.

    But I don’t buy the argument that that safety net should provide what people want over and above that.”

    With the greatest respect, this is an interesting reworking of the thinking behind the Poor Law (Amendment) 1834 – a topic upon which I bloggd this morning.

  9. “or to put it another way, nobody should starve in any country, but nobody who CAN work should be given a free ride either..”

    Yep. The Victorians called them “sturdy beggars” and the workhouses came about as a direct result of ratepayers getting sick and tired of stumping up cash for people who could work but didn’t.

    Bet we go back to that. Only we’ll call them “vocation hostels” or “duty homes” or “assignment residences” or some such Zanu Labour Speak.

  10. Yes John B. We are most assuredly in favour of punishing the shirkers, and by extension they are punishing their own raggy-arsed neglected bairns and waving them about in front of the TV cameras. Aren’t they?

    They are using their kids as human shields.

    If you have kids, and no means of providing for them, they should be placed for adoption by people who can.

  11. The debate on this thread seems to confirm my suspicion I have that when we weren’t looking, a wormhole opened up and transportd us back in time 200 years. Talk of opening the workhouses under any name, and separating children form their parents, is as if the 20th Century never happened.

  12. “Talk of opening the workhouses under any name, and separating children form their parents, is as if the 20th Century never happened.”

    It’s not me talking about this, it’s Zanu Labour. You voted for them, you pay the IMF. Ooops, sorry, that’s 2010.

  13. ” It is not acceptable that you think your neighbour should pay for you to do so.

    The world or society does not owe you children, or the ability to look after them.

    If you want children, get a job to pay for them, then take the consequences of that necessity.

    It is deeply immoral to make those without children, or those who do work very hard AND look after their children, pay for your lifestyle choice.”
    You do not understand my point. I do work to look after my child. My point was that at the moment he is being punished because I work extra hours to pay tax for other peoples children. If I did not pay for baby chavs my son would see me more. The current system punishes the workers – the new system chavs

  14. Mr. Potarto:

    Muddled thinking, my man. You’d replace a bunch of only fairly lazy, unremarkably incompetent, and not outrageously criminally-inclined (the resultant or composite of which is relatively innocuous or harmless) with a bunch with quite different characteristics, the net of which is criminal antisociality handicapped through lack of even that ambition or, frequently, cowardice (also recognized as good judgement, in the circumstances).

    About 25 years ago, a small Pennsylvania city with a substantial minority welfare program decided to improve conditions by employing some of the recipients on a part-time (half-day)
    basis at “market” (commensurate with the mostly-degreed regular staff) wages but without reduction in benefits (though it might have been envisioned for the future).

    They had a ready-made “project” in which to absorb these new “hires”: a changeover from a check-paid system (in which most recipients, not having bank accounts, relied on check-cashing agencies and some accepting retail stores). The new system involved “direct deposit” of the allotments, therefore the establishment of individual accounts, and a system of “photo IDs” for recipients.

    It worked magnificently. Training manuals were prepared for all of the various steps required in the introduction of the new system. Experienced professionals, the regular staff, supervised the training of the newly employed in all the intricacies of the improved system, and were even surprised at how well they’d adapted.

    Almost 3 months had gone by before it was dicovered that the benefit rolls had been multiplied by a factor of nearly 3. Everbody’d been made an ID with their photo, of course. But most had another ID with their photo and a different name, which had, curiously enough, been entered onto the rolls; some had a half-dozen or more of these “alias” cards and had used ’em. All the miscreants, of course, were known (or could have been); nobody was arrested, much less prosecuted. No benefits were reduced to recapture the overpayments. There was no mass firing. It was just too embarrassing both for the office and for the higher-up administration at the State level, who’d failed to notice the rise in outflow until the third month. And, of course, no mention in the newspapers.

    In the mid to late ’60s, New York City was in dire financial straits, leaking money through both its welfare programs and a bloated, unionized, feather-bedding city administration bureaucracy. Gaping potholes persisted for years. On some city bridges, there were holes through which could be seen the river below–usually with pylons around them (but sometimes merely covered with sheet steel).
    Decay was everywhere. According to the NYT at the time, the city was losing “tax rateables”
    (real-estate valuations for tax purposes) at the rate of a MILLION DOLLARS A DAY and had been so doing for several years due to one specific cause: the tendency for welfare “clients” to burn themselves out of their dwelling-places in order to receive a “moving allowance.” Typically, such folk were housed on an “emergency” basis, supposedly temporarily, in run-down tenements usually below legal standards for livability and saftey but for which the “going rate” was $100 a day! Many had been so housed for years. Such fires quadrupled when the Christmas season approached, as the denizens prepared for gift-giving and festivities.

    Featherbedding was egregious, probably everywhere, as it can’t go on without everyone getting his “fair share.” I’ve only ever been acquainted with 3 NYC employees. One worked in the court system, one in the school system as a teacher’s aide (they were husband and wife) though in separate boroughs. In the court system, the husband was an usher, responsible for physical appropriateness of the courtroom as part of a team of 12. With a little exertion of a normal sort, 4 could “get ‘er done,” which meant that the rest could take many days off and still get a couple months vacation (in addition to the already-generous vacation allowance). The gal took the school work because it provided generous additional pension benfits; later, she found that much of the same superfluity existed and she could get much unauthorized time “off” and, after awhile, was even able to coordinate with her mate to the extent that they could take at least 3 (including vacation) month-long vacation auto trips around the country. (It was from him that I learned that the phrase “Iron Curtain” was first heard in a speech in a small town in Missouri; they were fond of history.)

    The other guy headed the Statistical Section of the Dept. of Sanitation. He was well-educated and erudite, extremely moral, conscientious, and pompous. He eschewed the plebian conspiracy to mulct the City in the manner of the first-described. However, he discovered, shortly after taking the job, that he was, in at least one respect, extremely unusual—and in a very valuable way. The unusual aspect was that he was the only Jew in the Section and one of very few in the entire city department–in a city full of the tribe. Hundred of co-workers existed who had the ill fortune to be scheduled to work at some time on Christmas or on New Year’s Day. He was beseiged with offers to “cover” for him for two weeksfor his reciprocation on either of those days. He wouldn’t hear of it (as I said, he was both moral and conscientious)–would take “in trade” only a single week and still accumulated more than enough obligatory “covers” to take only one solid extra month’s vacation, with a few other days scattered throughout the year, as might become necessary. He liked to brag that, if he were so inclined, he could probably get away with working ONLY those two days in the year–and they’d never miss him. But the experience didn’t utterly corrupt him. He retired as early as possible and went back to private-sector employment, where he was a diligent and capable marketing executive until his death amost 20 years later.

  15. Perhaps we should consider bringing in lifetime accounts. Something along the lines of a maximum number of months for which any person may be maintained by the state. We could exempt all the years up to 18, and all the years after 75, and exempt those who are registered disabled.

    Any home with children, in which there is an earner, would not be running down their lifetime account credits. The adults are contributing to their own maintenance, even if they get some extra state assistance. If you work throughout your working life, you get a state pension at 65. If not, you have to wait for up to 10 more years, depending on your account.

    But for the shirkers, the succession of babies would no longer be a meal ticket. You would be using up your 10 years allowance, and frittering away your state pension.

  16. Another benefit of my proposed methodology, would be a reduction in the number of children who are born into situations where their welfare is at risk.

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