Saturday, October 02, 2010

No wagering with welfare money

Not content with banning the use of benefits for the purchase of alcohol or tobacco some US states are now eyeing gambling. Imagine the outrage in NZ if even the first was proposed (although I am not sure how it is effectively enforced). There would be a vigorous human rights debate calling for beneficiaries to be allowed to spend their money in the same way as anyone else. But there would be no individual rights debate about the philosophical problem of removing one individual's property to furnish the lifestyle of another's.

Welfare recipients have long been banned from using their benefits for alcohol and tobacco. Some state lawmakers are eyeing the vice of gambling, a move some advocates for the poor see as unnecessary and unfair.



Oswald Bastable said...

I have been advocating this for years!

Of course there are always was around these systems, but why make it easy for them to squander our tax dollars?

Dave Christian said...

I am a hard-liner: Taxation is theft. However, beneficiaries are not doing the thieving.

In modern societies which are dominated by the use or threatened use of force, what I see is people excluded from employment by minimum wage, licensure, and other protectionist employment laws who receive handouts to assuage the guilt of a society built on subtle but real brutality. To then seek to practically enslave those people hardly seems like a step in the right direction.

It is easy to point at the sub-human behaviour of the underclass and say that they don't deserve liberty, but are the finger pointers not largely responsible for this situation?

Liberty isn't advanced by more restrictions on liberty.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I tend to agree with you Dave. As beneficiaries are often casualties of the other circumstances put in place by the state it isn't as simple as saying 'not with taxpayer's money' for mine.

However in a society where need was met by charitable organisations I doubt spending of alms on gambling, alcohol and tobacco would be tolerated.

Oswald Bastable said...

'not with taxpayer's money' is the starting place for me.

There are a host of other reasons for directing where a welfare recipient may NOT spend welfare money. When they cry that there is not enough for their poor innocent children, yet they spend money on drugs and gambling- they fail to get any sympathy from me.

I get my nose rubbed in this every week, watching the taxpayer-funded breeders across the road drinking it up, chain smoking and taking drugs.

I'm sick of loosing 25% of my income to fund this lifestyle choice (I KNOW these people and it IS a choice.)

It's personal for me and more of us SHOULD be taking this rorting personally.

Michael said...

the government breaks our legs then hands you the crutches and says "we're here to help you"

Anonymous said...

The howard govt brought in an interventiopn in NT to limit benefit expenditure freedom, in that half the benefit money given each doleday was issued on a govt card, which must be spent on food or clothing. The rate of malnoutrition in Aboriginal kids has decreased as a direct result, along with a concurrent improvement in the health of Aboriginals. The programme has been such a success that they are looking to extend it beuond NT to the rest of Australia.
There is also a move to make all pokies now operable with finger print identification and the use of a thumb drive, so the amounts bet can be limited. A slight extension of this would be to have smartcards issued and the administration of the system transferred to the card issuer. It would be relatively simple to exclude withdrawals from the smartcard if the pwerson's income stream shows WINZ as the primary depositor, from places of gambling.This type of system would also allow an audit trail to see what the bludger was spending the taxpayers money on, and thus should result in lower claims for emergency benefits. The argument could be raised that if the people really want liberty in their spending habits, then they need to earn their own income rather than rely on taxpayer handouts.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon, People who
have met illness or accidents, for instance, might also want liberty of spending and I cannot find a conscionable reason to deny them under the current social security regime. That brings me back to why we need reform.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

To illustrate my point (given this post is about the US) there are physically and mentally disabled war veterans on welfare who it would be difficult to deny whatever form of escapism they might choose.

Anonymous said...

war vets would be issued with cards with no restrictions, as would the elderly. Everyone else of working age and condition would not qualify however.

mike said...

regarding disabled war veterans (whether physically or mentally), the government should buy them private insurance.

mike said...

expanding more on that, the military can provide whatever benefits it seems best for its members. If that involves a pension, or health insurance, or whatever, there's no philosophic or moral problem with it. I wouldn't call that welfare or a handout though. Its a payment, they earned it.

James said...

All so easily solved by ending state welfare that has no moral or practical need to exist and instead privatising it....problem solved.