Tread ‘em down

I have not been a beneficiary in my adult life.

But when I was a child, my mum was on the DPB.  It was no fucking life of luxury – and believe me, I went to a decile 10 primary school, I fucking lived that – but we got by.  And through the Training Incentive Allowance – which Paula Bennett scrapped – my mum was able to get through university and build a decent life for us.  And god only knows how much tax she’s paid back since then – never mind the whole “raising a child who’s also a Productive Member Of Society (TM)” thing, which isn’t a figure on a ledger so isn’t real, as far as the National Party’s concerned.

If I were in the same situation today, we’d be pretty fucked.  Like Aaron Hawkins at TDB, I’m seriously pissed off about that.

Our government isn’t just driving people off needed benefits.  It’s not just grinding them into the dirt and trying to chase them away with endless, pointless bureaucracy.

No, it’s doing all that and then trying to tell people “we’re doing this for your own good!”  Because starvation builds character.

The Little Pakeha links the welfare reforms to Wellington City Council’s fucking shameful “alternative giving” campaign, aka “ignore the problem right in front of you ’cause it makes you feel icky”.  Giovanni Tiso has blogged on this too, and they’re both must-reads.

Beyond what TLP and Gio have said, I can only add that this shit was clearly thought up by the same drug-addled agency which produced Drive Social.  It’s certainly going to be another roaring success of a campaign, based on serious research and an incisive insight into how people really really don’t actually behave ever.  And I’m sure that the money being spent by Wellington City Council and the NZ Police could not possibly have been used more effectively.

(No, I’m being sincere there: if their social welfare project teams are being run by people who’ve bought into this bullshit, imagine all the ideas they rejected!)

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It all comes down to a simple truth:  people deserve to live with dignity.  And when there simply are not support systems, are not the jobs, then the state absolutely has an obligation to help them.  Not turn them into scapegoats to keep the middle classes distracted.

If you’re such a callous, self-centred douchebag that you literally refuse to understand that, try this:  a social welfare system which keeps people basically fed and cared for and allows them a bare minimum of self-esteem is something societies need to provide.  If only so the poor don’t become so desperate and alienated that they chop your head off and burn down your fucking house.

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For a lighter, but snarky, take on the issue I recommend The Civilian’s post, Welfare policy changes encourage beneficiaries to seek work or the lost city of Atlantis.

Oh, and pay your fucking taxes, scumbags.

5 comments

  1. Chris Miller

    Note that people who are far more into the pit of desperation than our beneficiaries are, asylum seekers being held at Manus Island, have just gone from a week of peaceful protest to full on rioting that burned the whole place down. Not that it’s hard to burn down, being largely comprised of tents, bits of plywood and barbed wire fencing. Luckily for us it’s wholly impractical to put beneficiaries in conditions anywhere as bad as that, but the government sure does try. (And for a more realistic consequence, how about the London riots?)

  2. Rhinocrates

    Oh yeah “Not as bad as… [insert dystopia here]” So that makes it alright! Phew, I was getting worried there. Just how low can the bar go before there’s nothing that it’s just ever so slightly a potentially desirable alternative? Tell you what, Miller, just get that conscience surgically removed and you won’t even have to bother making up excuses.

    And where’s Captain Mumblefuck? His roof might be looking a little scrappy. Perhaps he needs someone to paint it for him?

    • Chris Miller

      Where did I imply that it was GOOD we were on the same scale as Manus Island? My point was that if we continue down this path, we’ve seen what consequences can result – the London riots and the situation on Manus. Any step towards that is bad because the first step is always the biggest. From here on out it’s far, far too easy for them to continue making “just one more” policy that leads us further and further into hell.

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