Monday, August 31, 2009

Paying for other people's choices

Paying for other people's choices. Where will it end?

Last week the Families Commission proposed that child support payments for custodial parents on a benefit should go directly to those parents instead of to the IRD to offset the welfare costs to the taxpayer. With some minor and conservative adjustment to 2006 figures that would mean each custodial parent getting an average income boost of $2,222 per annum and the taxpayer paying an extra $200 million per annum.

So the beneficiary custodial parent gets a rise, the liable parent is no worse off, while the taxpayer picks up the tab. (Or some other service is cut.) Of course father activists are all for it. They shouldn't be.

At a low income, a boost of $42 per week is quite substantial. In reality many will only get $14 extra because the paying parent is either also on a benefit or in low income work. But at the other end of the scale mothers with ex's on better incomes will receive substantially more. That means if the relationship is rocky, leaving becomes a better prospect than it is now. That means the incentive to go on the DPB rises again. More people go on it. More men suffer the consequences.

National is on record as saying New Zealand should consider doing just this. They would certainly get the support of the Maori Party.


Chuck Bird said...

I have no problem with women getting the DPB when it is granted for the reason that the DPB was introduced.

Very few marriages do not go though rocky patches. If a woman can see that she can be better off financially on the DPB than staying married it much be very tempting to make that choice after a heated argument.

Many people tend to forget that it is the taxpayer who is paying for the DPB. Some of these taxpayers are married couples on low incomes who also have rocky patches. The extra tax they pay to those on the DPB add to the stress on their marriage.

Chuck Bird said...

If the government is seriously concerned about the amount of money spent on the DPB they should do their best to lower the number going on the DPB in the first place.

As I said in an early comment I do not have a problem with a woman with young children who husband has left her or genuinely could not carry on in the marriage for reasons such as violence or adultery. However, as a taxpayer I think I have a right to ask if I have a moral obligation to support a teenager who may have got pregnant as a result of a drunken one night stand. When Don Brash was leader he was asking such questions? Unfortunately, John Key is too concerned about the women’s vote to even raise this issue.

If a young girl is pregnant and not in a committed relationship the option of adoption should be put to her. There is no perfect answer. In the 60s many girls chose adoption. This may have had drawbacks but was generally better for the child than being raised by an immature teenager who will likely to shack up with someone who finds the child a nuisance. We see the disastrous results for innocent children from these relationships all too often.