Welfare Reform – let’s figure this s#!t out

So, not sure if you’ve figured out, but I’m pretty political. I was having a discussion with @vikutoooria on Twitter (@swagosaurusrex was involved to, sort of) about Welfare Reform, so I thought I’d throw in a few thoughts on the matter. This is something I feel pretty strongly about, and one of the main things I will be campaigning on when I start a political party some day*.

We need to start by saying that, yes, welfare is an extremely important part to Government Spending. I would never be against welfare – it is an essential, because if we don’t look after the people who are struggling to look after themselves, we essentially turn into a group of savages relying on survival of the fittest. However, what we are doing right now is wrong. People on $100,000+ p.a. are able to get Working For Families tax credits. (If you don’t believe me, check out the tables from the IRD website) That is wrong. That money would be better spent on a universal student allowance, or reducing the Government deficit. So, anyway, let’s look at this.

Working For Families

I do believe we need WFF tax credits, but they are far too broad right now. You should not be eligible for this if you earn $120,000. To me, the thresholds should be halved, so around about $60,000. That way, you can either redistribute the money to other welfare sources, or give more to those who actually need it. Someone on a six figure salary has enough money to look after their children and don’t need more money from the Government.

Unemployment Benefit

The unemployment benefit is obviously something we need, but it shouldn’t be something we give. I know economic idea of transfer payments is that it’s something given by the Government without a responding transaction, but I think that isn’t the way it should be. If you’re on the unemployment benefit, you should be able to prove that you’re actively looking for work, and you should have to do some sort of work within the community. If you do 5 hours community work a week, you are getting $30/hour, assuming you get the $150/week. That’s pretty fair. Also, that would reduce spending in other areas, as the Government would not longer have to pay more for people to do these jobs.

Student Allowance

I do think Student Allowances should be universal. I also think it shouldn’t be considered that your parents are to pay for you until you turn 25. You are legally an adult at 18, but unless your parents are dead or you no longer have any contact with them, you get a reduced student allowance if you are under the age of 25. That’s wrong. If I don’t live with my parents, they should not have to pay for the bulk of my costs. However, with the current allowance system, they pay about 50%. With the cuts I’ve proposed to Working For Families, plus the reduced costs due to unemployed doing community work, you could afford for both the introduction of universal allowances, as well as not expecting parents of over 18s to pay for their children.

Sickness/Invalids Benefits

These should be provided without any question once you have been assessed as requiring them. You should certainly not be forced into part time work earlier than your doctor suggests because the Government wants to cut costs. There are plenty of places you can cut costs, but this is truly messing with people’s lives. If they are on a sickness or invalids benefit, they are on that for a reason.

And that’s my thoughts on welfare. I might come back to this at another point and add to it, either further explanation or additional areas, but right now, I have class in 25 minutes, but I want to get this post up.

Domestic Purposes Benefit

There has been suggestion that the solo mothers on the DPB should be back in work within twelve months. To me, we need to look at what’s best for the child, not what’s best for the state with this. Obviously, the best option would be both the mother and father caring for the child. However, that is not always an option. The next best option is to have one parents looking after the child. Childcare is obviously the final option, if for any reason that can’t happen. Forcing parents to put their children into childcare from their first birthday is just wrong. We need to look at the good that parents are doing. However, I do agree that beneficiaries should not be able to have more children while they are on the benefit. It is not fair on the child if you consider them to be a boost to your income. If you do not have the resources to care for a child, you should not even consider having one until you are in a more financially stable position. It is not fair on the child to do anything else.

* Political party may or may not happen.

This post originally appeared on Daniel-Farrell.com.

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About Daniel Farrell

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Posted on June 9, 2011, in New Zealand Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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