Friday, March 17, 2017

Have we forgotten Greece?

Published in today's Dominion Post:

Dear Editor

Owen Dance (Letters, March 13) writes, "[W]hat we now call New Zealand Superannuation was originally introduced as a benefit for the 'indigent elderly'. " I assume he refers to the 1898 Old Age Pension. The word 'benefit' did not come into common parlance until late 1930s when the Labour government introduced a range of new assistance. It was adopted after the American social security terminology in preference to the increasingly stigma-attached term, 'pension'.

Now the word 'benefit' has become similarly stigmatized, the government has once more changed labels. The Unemployment Benefit has become Jobseeker Support; the Invalid's Benefit is now the  Supported Living Payment and the Domestic Purposes Benefit is Sole Parent Support. This is mere window dressing, a move with only slightly less substance than the proposed increase in Super age to 67 a full generation away.

The point is, too large a proportion of the population (of any age) unnecessarily depends on the rest of society to fund their needs. The aim should be to reasonably reduce the dependent proportion - for everybody's economic and social well being.

Lindsay Mitchell

I should have added, have we all forgotten Greece so quickly?


Anonymous said...

I said at the time the so-called reforms were nothing but renaming.

If beneficiaries really were "unnecessarily" dependent on the dole then reform would be easy.

We know from Ruth's budget in 1991 that in fact they are necessarily dependent on the dole;
and that when that dole is stopped they will riot, protest, that suicide and death rates will go up.
People who haven't worked for 10 years pretty much cannot work. People who are born into
benefits stay on benefits for life.

That is why the only real reform that is possible is to stop benefits - with no regard for the consequences.

That is entirely the lesson of the 1990s we have forgotten - that is the lesson Greece is failing to learn now.
If Greece had simply terminated their entire welfare state - benefits, pensions, health, education, their dependency would end.
They are learning the hard way and spending years to get to the same place. NZ and the EU will too.
Luckily for the USA, TRUMP & Ryan are doing some real reforms - eliminating welfare.

Don W said...

The biggest dependents on the taxpayer is the behemoth called the state followed by councils. They are the biggest destroyers of wealth we have with not alot to show for it. We need to reduce the size of the state and it's mate the councils first. But as the state makes all the rules that won't happen any time soon.