Jobs only real benefit reduction policy

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, March 24th, 2010 - 18 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, unemployment - Tags: , ,

You can’t ‘force beneficiaries back into work’ by ‘giving them a kick in the pants’ if there’s no jobs for them to go into.

People on the dole already need to show they are looking for work to get the dole. Forcing them to reapply after a year is simply a wasteful and arbitrary restating of that existing policy.

People on the DPB are encouraged to find work. Back when Paula Bennett used to be able to get a grant to help them into work training to get off the DPB, but she canned that. Forcing DPB parents to try to find work won’t get them off the dole when there’s no work to find.

Giving them a ‘kick in the pants’, to use the phrase of multi-millionaire John Key whose mum had the security of government support when she was raising him, would only work if two conditions are true: there are jobs to have and beneficiaries currently prefer to be on the benefit than in work.

On the first, there aren’t the jobs to go around. The economy is still losing jobs, 2,ooo in the last quarter. We don’t have enough for those who have jobs, let alone those who have lost their jobs during the recession, and young people entering the workforce.

On the second, just by looking at the facts you can see that most beneficiaries would prefer to be in work. Most people get off the dole in less than a year. Only 10,000 out of 66,000 have been on the dole longer than a year.

If these 10,000 were bludgers, they would be on the dole regardless of the economic situation, eh? But before the recession, that number was just 5,000 and just 1,700 had been on the dole longer than four years.

Clearly nearly everyone who is on the dole moves into work in time when there’s work to get. And why wouldn’t they? It’s not like living on $200 is an attractive ‘lifestyle choice’. You can’t blame people for being stuck on the dole when there’s no jobs.

The only thing that will get people off the dole is the creation of new jobs. When the work is there, people will take it every time rather than scrap by on $200 a week. If the government was serious about getting people off benefits, it would be investing in job creation, which is a cheap option compared to leaving people to rot on the dole.

On a deeper level, this is the capitalists’ old trick of turning working people against each other. The Nats set us fighting among ourselves, bitching about benefits and competing against each other for jobs which brings our wages down.

Meanwhile, the attention goes away from the real bludgers – the tax cheats, the big corporates, and CEOs on their massive salaries who avoid paying their fair share of the cost of government and stand to win big from the Nats’ tax cuts.

This supposed ‘get tough’ approach won’t get people off the benefit. It’s a cynical exercise in political marketing – paint everyone getting a benefit as ‘bludgers’ then hammer them. It is no coincidence that this policy was released a day after the mining policy.

18 comments on “Jobs only real benefit reduction policy”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Alternatively I’d argue that this as more of a labour policy than a welfare policy. It’s not designed to reduce benefit levels so much as push down the cost of labour by increasing supply (and the desperation of those supplying).

  2. stevo 2

    Note to aspirational supporters of National:
    It’s OK to stop supporting the government now

  3. Tammy Gordon 3

    “On a deeper level, this is the capitalists’ old trick of turning working people against each other. The Nats set us fighting among ourselves, bitching about benefits and competing against each other for jobs which brings our wages down.”

    And the Dominion Post is doing its very best to help fuel resentment agains those bludgers. The headline this morning: “Dream’s over Bennett tells unemployed’.

    Fortunately they balanced it out with real life on the dole story: ‘Living the nightmare’.

    And can we get the Tshirts now? ‘Don’t blame me, I voted Labour’

  4. tc 4

    Watching Bennett yesterday smirking and nodding at the responses to patsy questions being thrown by nat MP’s at nat ministers on issues she’s got nothing to do with just encapsulates this gov’t.

    No experience, no empathy, no talent and I’m right up here now so screw my past and where I came from…..looking forward to Karma running over the dogma.

    • Bill 4.1

      Maybe we need psychological profiling to be carried out on all prospective MP’s?

      When John Keys hagiography came out whenever, I remember commenting here that if the article was read closely it was evident that he had no empathy. I think I postulated that he had sought to make up his emotional deficit through the pursuit of money.

      Smiling assassin indeed.

      And others in National give me the same impression of something missing, something dead inside.

      I could suggest that they be referred for therapy at our expense. And that as a civilised society we should see that no harm comes to them as attempts are made to encourage some measure of warmth from their dead souls.

      But I really don’t care about them that much. They presumably have friends, family or acquaintances who are not utterly devoid? They certainly have the financial means.

      All I’m interested in…and I am being quite serious…are mechanisms to prevent people like these assuming positions of power.

      And if the problem is that people like this are always going to be advantaged by the structures we operate by; by the reward systems that flow from them, then we really need to look at those structures and reward systems and insist on the relevant degree of reform or if need be, their complete abolition and replacement with structures and reward systems that elevate and advantage better expressions of humanity than these sad cold shadows we reward at present.

      • Clarke 4.1.1

        I’m reminded of that comment about Nixon …. “The very qualities that made it possible for him to be elected President should have immediately disqualified him from ever holding the role.” Stand up, John Key.

      • SPC 4.1.2

        The telling comment about his politics comes for how he promoted the 2005 tax cuts of the Brash led National – the positive impact they would have on our society. He said that more parents would be at work on Saturday mornings rather than watching their children play sport.

  5. Clarke 5

    On the first, there aren’t the jobs to go around. The economy is still losing jobs, 2,ooo in the last quarter.

    Oddly enough, I take issue with that statement, Marty. From your wording, it almost sounds like the government is unable to do anything about the job loss in the economy – that the best they can do is sit passively and watch jobs disappear.

    I don’t think this is the case at all; I think National have deliberately destroyed jobs as a result of their policy decisions. There have been thousands of jobs destroyed across the public sector, employment in adult education has been decimated, and more is being telegraphed in the Budget. Job losses in New Zealand are not accidental like some force of nature or act of god; they are a deliberate and calculated result of National Party policy. As evidenced by their decisions, it’s their intention to increase unemployment!

  6. deemac 6

    as someone said on RadioNZ yesterday, the main effect of this will be wasting employers’ time as they have to provide jobseekers with proof that they have applied for (often non-existent) jobs. And what employer is going to choose the person with no job experience or qualifications, when there are plenty of people with both looking for work? This is nonsense on all levels except the soundbite one.

  7. randal 7

    confused people are the most controllable.

  8. Daniel 8

    Can you provide a source for your statistics? I’m not disputing them, just want something a bit stronger than “i read it on a blog”

  9. deemac 9

    and now the Nats admit the proposals breach the Human Rights Act…

  10. Zorr 10

    Trying to find the online link to it now for the exact details with regards it but apparently according to a leaked or early release of a draft report of the Privacy Commissioner, Paula Bennett has been found to have breached the Privacy Act with regards releasing the information of the 2 women who criticised her last year.

    • JAS 10.1

      Zorr can you contact me thru our website (hope this isnt against the rules)

      • Zorr 10.1.1

        For anyone else who may be interested in the details, the only place I could find this was on a site that has pdfs of papers, hence why I am posting it in full:

        “Shroff close to breach finding

        Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff is close to deciding whether Social Development Minister Paula Bennett breached the privacy of two beneficiaries.

        It is believed draft findings by Shroff have been sent to Bennett and that they find she breached the Privacy Act.

        Shroff was asked to investigate after Bennett issued details of payments to domestic purposes beneficiaries Natasha Fuller and Jennifer Johnson after they criticised her for axing an allowance to help those on welfare into tertiary study last year.

        Bennett authorised the release of information showing Fuller received $715 a week as a domestic purposes beneficiary and Johnston $554 a week.

        Fuller, who took the privacy complaint, had also received $9500 from the state for a business venture that failed.

        It is normal practice for the subject of such complaints to be given an opportunity to comment on adverse findings.

        A spokeswoman for Bennett said she could not comment because the process was ongoing, but confirmed there had been exchanges with Shroff.

        Bennett was working towards a resolution.

        A spokeswoman for Shroff said there would be no comment until the case was decided.”

        haha captcha: embarrasses

  11. Jenny 11

    This change would be “punitive” claim the rich parasites responsible for the recession and mass unemployment.

    What on earth are they talking about?

    At a time when the government is planning to punish the victims of the recession.

    The topic of a Financial Transaction Tax is worrying the real bludgers, who have labeled this type of tax as “punitive’.

    The right wing argument that is coming from the government and their supporters, is that the powerless victims should be punished and that the perpetrators of the crisis should be left alone.

    How ironic is that?

    This article first appeared in the Dominion on March 12.

    Reading the counter-argument actually strengthens my conviction that this is a GREAT idea.

  12. aj 12

    Bill English et all should have to re-apply for housing allowances annually, with proof of living location.
    They are sucking large from the public tit as well.

    Goose, gander.

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