Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last resort?

This is a statement to ponder over;

However, the vast majority treat welfare as a last resort.

First I ask myself, what constitutes a vast majority. Over 90 percent? A small majority would be between 50 and 60 perhaps. A large majority, say 70 odd. But vast is a lot, isn't it?

Something is clearly wrong when 324,814 working-age people – 12 per cent of the total – were on a main benefit on March 30 this year.

Indeed. But if my 'vast majority' prescription is applied, 292,332 people are using welfare as a last resort.

Give me a break. Recall Paula Rebstock's figures;

• In 2008, after a decade of economic growth and prior to the
recession, New Zealand had reached the point where roughly 1
in 10 working age New Zealanders were receiving a benefit.
• To put these numbers into context: in the mid-1960s about
30,000 people were receiving a benefit. That was only 2% of
the working age population.

Professor Bob Gregory made an observation about welfare reform at the WWG forum. That if eligibility is tightened some people will just disappear. Because they don't need to be there anyway.

After the US AFDC was replaced with TANF (open-ended entitlement transformed into temporary and conditional assistance) in 1996, the number of families relying on it dropped from 5 to 2 million (or thereabouts).

Some of the reasons were that people didn't believe they would meet the new criteria. Or they didn't want to comply with the work or activity requirements. Or people simply stopped going on to it. Possibly because they were saving up their 5 year allotment for when they really needed it. When it truly was a 'last resort'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I know I sound like a stuck record

but the only way to end welfare dependency is to end welfae.