The last two days have seen a concerted effort by various groups to pressure the government into putting more cash into the homes of beneficiary children; the CPAG, Home and Family Society, Dr Cass Byrnes and the Maori Party have each made submissions. It isn't because the plight of these children doesn't concern me that I reject this proposal - it's the opposite.
Children's health is about more than income levels. An extensive study addressed this in 2002 when researchers compared poor children from homes reliant on government transfers with those from poor homes reliant on market income (benefit homes vs working homes).
Both groups had incomes below the poverty threshold yet the study found the first group were worse off than the second. In part this was because of parental characteristics which made them more likely to be on welfare. Their children were "more likely to be subject to restrictions in key items of consumption."
Despite similar incomes the beneficiary was more likely to report inadequacy of income. For instance 17 percent reported having postponed a child's visit to the doctor to keep costs down. In the second group this dropped to 8 percent. Didn't have suitable wet-weather clothing for each child applied to 16 percent in the benefit households and 9 in the working households. There is a lengthy list I could quote from.
"The results of this study suggest that poor children in families primarily reliant on government transfers are a particularly vulnerable group....The findings suggest a need for policies that have a wider focus than just income support."
We should absolutely resist any action that will encourage more people onto benefits. Quick fix remedies rarely endure and often aggravate.
Helen the Hobbit Hater at it again with the Horrid
21 minutes ago