Thursday, March 01, 2012

More misrepresentation of welfare numbers

Sometimes an idea gets purchase and is very hard to shift.  For example, under Labour, during the economic boom, the numbers of people on welfare plummeted. That is only true for those on the unemployment benefit. But here are two examples of recent statements  supporting this erroneous idea. Remember too that the reforms in the spotlight this week relate primarily to the DPB, so the reader assumes that when commentators refer to beneficiaries they mean those under discussion.

Duncan Garner:
Labour reduced the numbers of people on benefits drastically in 2004/05 when the economy was going gangbusters.
Gordon Campbell:
Less than ten years ago, a booming economy had reduced beneficiary numbers to historical lows.
Are either of these statements supported by the following graph?

(Click on the graph because it is difficult to see the grey shaded area that represents the unemployment benefit).


Anonymous said...

It just goes to show that there's only one way to end unemployment and bludging

stop paying the money

Of course this graph misses the biggest bludger-populations of all --- kids at school, and codger-bludgers on super --- both of whom also use up vast amounts of health dollars.

Where are they on your graph, Lindsay?

And them in an it's clear: Ruth greatly reduced the benefit spend, and Hellen massively increased it.

Eric Crampton said...

Thanks for pointing to that, Lindsay. When I saw the Gordon Campbell column, I was near-certain I'd seen before that Labour had just bumped people from unemployment to disability to juke the stats, but I couldn't find it quickly. Now I can point to it. Thanks!

Eric Crampton said...

Is grey the unemployment benefit or the widows' benefit?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Unemployment. I put the reference for the graph at Campbell's blog in the comments section.