Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Better off if we "talk calmly"

Economist Susan St John had an article published in my local paper, the Hutt News. It advocated her usual answer to child poverty so I submitted my usual response.

Economist Susan St John writes (Hutt News, May 11) that the In Work tax credit, "...manages to exclude the poorest children, in families on benefits, whose poverty has simply been left to deepen."

Benefits are annually adjusted accounting for cost of living rises and family support payments were also increased when the In Work tax credit was introduced. Children in beneficiary families - the vast majority have mothers on the DPB - have not been completely ignored.

St John, spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group, has already led a legal challenge to the government on the basis that this tax credit discriminates (presumably with the aim of having it extended to beneficiary families). The Human Rights Tribunal found that while it is discriminatory, the government has a right to discriminate between those who work and those who do not when forming social policy aimed at lifting employment and income.

If the In Work tax credit is extended to non-working families the incentive to work will be further eroded.

While children can and do suffer from material need, they also suffer from the non-material deprivation that goes with having no dad; lacking the structure, routine and example a working parent provides; and from exposure to the kind of dysfunctional habits not working allows.

Making the DPB more economically attractive, which is what Susan St John essentially advocates, will only result in more parents and children being drawn onto it long-term.

This brought forth three letters which when read together provide a fair bit of irony.


Alan said...

its hard to know where to start in pointing out all the stupid things in those 3 letters.

keep up the good work Lindsay.


Anonymous said...

We can talk calmly when 95% of NZ's tax income is redistributed to bludgers of one kind or another

When we're not borrowing $300 MILLION PER WEEK to prop up our totally unsustainable welfare state then we can talk calmly.

not before