A lot of right-wing beliefs can be traced back to a few core values. Two apply to the DPB debate:
They object to the DPB on the first ground because they hate paying tax and think if all those mythical ‘welfare queens’ getting their $1000 a week were cut off they could have ‘their’ tax money back.
The second manifests in the oft-repeated ‘If they can’t keep their legs closed, they shouldn’t come begging from me’. Note, there’s ever any question why he couldn’t keep his thing in his pants, of course (there’s an underlying misogyny to this, as with so much from the right-wing). Nor any acknowledgement that actually most women on the DPB were in stable relationships when they had the kids, but the relationship subsequently broke up and they were, literally, left holding the babies. Nonetheless, I used to think a little like that – ‘why should I subsidise someone’s choice to have children?; their choice, their problem; etc’.
Then, at about age 11, I realised something: the purpose of the DPB is not to support the parent, it’s to ease the effects of poverty on the children. That shoots away the right’s moral argument.
I don’t care whether their mum is a 40 year old divorcee who’s always done her best and worked for 20 years or an irresponsible 21 year old who has three kids by three men, the kids deserves the same support, and the same chance to avoid being locked in the poverty cycle. The DPB provides that opportunity. Without it, women with young children would be left destitute and the potential of those young lives would be lost.
I’ve just noticed Annette King says something similiar in the Herald today:
what would those who criticise it say? They shouldn’t have had the children?” she asked. “But those children exist, and support for those children to ensure that they are fed and clothed and housed is what the welfare system is about.
I think if you were to ask, you would probably find you know some people who have led successful lives who, for a time at least, grew up on the DPB. In fact, we all know one man who wouldn’t be PM today if social welfare hadn’t been there to look after him when his father died.
The shame of it is Key is now leading a government that is exploiting misunderstandings and prejudices against DPB families, which can only be groundlaying work for benefit cuts to come. He ought to be defending the DPB for giving hope and opportunity to hundreds of thousands of kids, like him, who would otherwise be doomed to poverty.