Thursday, August 05, 2010

Forget illegal. What about immoral?

This case caught my eye only because the judge sent the defrauding mother to jail rather than the defrauding father. Both had been illegally receiving benefits from Work and Income. It appears the decision is based on the degree of fraud. He stole less.

I can no longer get very worked up about the illegal use of the benefit system for the simple reason that the much bigger story is the immoral use. Thousands of people enter the system every year due to avoidable circumstances. They cause their own incapacity or inability to be independent. That is, as they say, the elephant in the room.

Focussing on benefit fraud only allows supporters of the status quo the opportunity to say there is relatively little of it (that which is uncovered and prosecuted) and it is a price worth paying for the preservation of the safety net as it stands.

That's a bad enough cop-out but government's collective failure to confront to widespread misuse of welfare is a much bigger one.


Anonymous said...

All beneficiaries are by definition immoral fraudsters and thieves. Noone ever has to enter the welfare system. There are always honourable alternatives.

One mlion kiwisuve Iive in Oz with no access to benefits whatsoever. If it's good enough from them there it's good enough for the rest here.

All bennies are immoral.

Lucia Maria said...

In a country where a great many babies are conceived out of wedlock to single parents, morality is not really our strong point here.

You can't really pick and choose your morality, it's all interconnected.