Friday, January 01, 2016

Morgan Foundation can't be trusted

An article appeared in this morning's DomPost from one Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw of the Morgan Foundation. Apparently the first of three.

My response by way of a letter-to-the-editor:

Dear Editor

Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw of the Morgan Foundation (DomPost, Jan 1) argues that giving families cash with "no strings attached" is the best way of reducing child poverty. To support her argument she quotes from The Economist, "Unconditional Cash Transfers work better than almost anyone would have expected. They dent the stereotype of poor people as inherently feckless and ignorant".

This is only part of the quote. The next sentence is, "But Conditional Cash Transfers are usually better still, especially when dealing with the root causes of poverty and, rather than just alleviating it, helping families escape it altogether."

That immediately conflicts with the idea of "no strings attached."

Additionally, The Economist feature was about aid in the developing world. Not alleviating family poverty in the first world where employment, social housing, highly effective contraception, low-cost health services, 'free' education and  access to credit, etc are all available.

Lindsay Mitchell

There is far more that could be said but why credit any validity to the rest of the piece when it starts with a deception.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Income support by age

The graph above depicts incomes support by age.

I had to make it double axis or it would have been very tall.

The left-hand axis and grey columns show numbers of Super and Veteran pension recipients.

The right-hand axis and coloured lines show numbers of working-age benefit recipients.

Obviously the growth in Super is large at 49% between 2005 and 2015. In behind the 64+ is a steady but small rise of 55-64 year-olds. Interesting that that age band did not change with the recession. Probably because most are not working due to some form of physical incapacity. Their numbers are not affected by changes in the labour market.

The 18-24 and 40-54 are more-or-less back to where the number lay in 2005 (though the rates would be lower as the relevant populations are higher).

The biggest drop in any age group is among 25-39. This is probably partly due to the growth rate in sole parent employment.

It's great that working age benefit numbers are declining albeit slowly. Currently 10.2% of the 18-64 population relies on a benefit. In 2005 it was 12%; in 2000 it was near to 17%

But we need those numbers to keep falling because government expenditure on income support for 64+ will continue to climb quite steeply over the coming years.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

'Investment' if you want more of it

In today's NZ Herald Child Poverty Group spokeswoman Susan St John writes,

"A shameful disparity between the treatment of children in families who can work enough paid hours, and those children whose families cannot, means in practice New Zealand has two classes of low-income children. The "in work" worthy can be supported to the full extent of the social security legislation, and the children of the unworthy, the outcasts: beneficiaries, disproportionately the disabled, Maori or Pasifika, many with chronic illness, are consigned to remain in poverty.

The parents of the "undeserving children" may struggle in a casualised labour market, on low wages or with redundancies, or in the aftermath of disasters. Irrespective of the cause of low income, regardless of circumstance, all children could and should be afforded the same tax-funded child payments to ensure an adequate standard of living."

You cannot isolate a child from its parent. So in effect she wants all parents to be treated the same whether or not they work. This involves far more than the $25 benefit rise for parents scheduled for next year.

St John wants to increase  "....child assistance by $72.50 a week for the very poorest families" and add "...$100 a week to the newborn's Family Tax Credit for one year for those who don't get paid parental leave."

"...spending of an extra $1 billion per annum is required immediately. This is what an "investment approach" to child poverty should look like."

An investment if more child poverty is what's wanted. How so?

With massive increases like these, having children becomes the way to (initially secure and) increase income. Because these children are being produced by people who have only a thought for the present, their life chances will be compromised. For example the parent who cares more for money than for their child's future will stay out of work and fail to set any example of industry and sacrifice. Or they will live in areas where there are no economic opportunities or prospects for offspring to do anything else but become the next generation of individuals who parent- for- an- income.

And who needs a husband or partner when the state is a better provider? So more sole parents....and more poverty. And more calls from CPAG to raise benefits...

It's time to stop throwing good money after bad and accept that strong family structure and work ethic are the two most important safeguards against poverty.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Historical 'rape'

Pertinent, and I'll make no comment other than I subscribe to The Scotsman because Scotland and New Zealand have surprisingly similar social dysfunction 'statistics':
THERE has been a five-fold increase in the number of rape and attempted rape cases in the High Court linked to domestic abuse over the last four years, figures show.
According to the Crown Office, there were 435 rape or attempted rape cases in the High Court in 2014/15 where domestic abuse was an aggravating factor, compared with 88 in 2010/11.
Prosecutors said the steep rise was due to changes in legislation and an increase in the number of historical crimes being reported.
But charities said Police Scotland’s pro-active approach to tackling domestic abuse was also having an impact.
The number of domestic abuse charges marked for the sheriff court was 31,373 in 2014/15, compared to 20,673 in 2011/12 – an increase of over 50 per cent.
Sandy Brindley, national coordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, said police had adopted a new tactic of speaking to ex-partners of men being investigated in domestic abuse cases.
Oh bugger it. I will make one more comment. When the policing and justice system operates with a bias, the benefactor can be expected to exploit it.

And that is doubly worrying in view of the last piece of the article above.

Hell hath no fury etc.