Monday, January 25, 2016

" incentive to work"

A Blenheim single mother of three has found she is only $34 better off working.

"When you weigh it up, is it worth going to work? The Government is trying to get everyone off the benefit but there is no incentive to work."

This line bugs me. The incentive to work lies in being self-supporting, in joining the community that provides the productivity and taxes to run the benefit system. In being a giver instead of a taker - especially after having been a taker for an unspecified time.

But then she hits on the real incentive to work herself:

"I love my job. It makes me feel rewarded."

So what is the point of this piece?

It's headed up "Blenheim mother of three struggling to survive after coming off the benefit."

Her main problem is that 57% of her income is going on a mortgage. Lucky her. She 'owns' her own home. Most people are moaning because they can't get on the first rung of the property ladder. But perhaps she could reduce the repayments?

"We struggle but we survive.
In Marlborough the gap between the low income and the high income is horrendous.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
The journalist tries to give this some supporting data.

 According to the 2013 census data the median income in Marlborough was $27,900, compared with $28,500 for all of New Zealand.
Nearly 23 per cent of Marlburians aged 15 years and over had an annual income of more than $50,000, while 36 per cent earned $20,000 or less.

Proving what? In among the 36 percent are dependent children, students and a disproportionate number of elderly. It's Marlborough. But a comparison to earlier census would be needed to prove a growing gap.

And the struggling mother of three is actually earning over the median income. (It's a possibility she is intentionally limiting her hours to keep her student loan under the threshold for repayment.)

Ministry of Social Development figures showed those on main benefits in Marlborough had gone up slightly from 2237 in December 2014 to 2265 in December 2015.
But down 14% from 2,638 in December 2011. That's inconvenient.

I am not without sympathy for the family. It is tough on kids having very little disposable income. But they live in a great part of the country, they eat well, have housing security and most importantly, prospects. That doesn't happen when you stay on a benefit.

"There is that stigma attached to being on the benefit and many believe that you are just a bludger," she said

Only if you can work and won't.

As I said I don't get why this is newsworthy. It's just more resentment fuel for the inequality insurgents.


Jigsaw said...

We have no idea what past decisions this person has made that effect her current situation. This is one of the problems when journalists write about such things and tell an incomplete story - then if we ask we are told that we are not allowed to know because of privacy reasons. Distortion and propaganda thrive on the incomplete set of facts and the unreal presentation of a few facts.

pdm said...

I would have thought $34 a week income increase not bad dosh - I assume it is net of tax. Half of that spent on fruit and vegetables will be good for her kids and herself and she will still have some to put away for a `rainy day'.

Anonymous said...

There is no information in this about what happens to her children while she is working. Are they being looked after by someone else? I'd like to know, because there is a huge difference in the lives of children when a stranger has charge of them, rather than their mother.

It's not only money one should measure.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

10, 15 and 17 years-old. The older children can legally provide care for the 10 year-old out of school hours.

david said...

If the comentarisat have their way we should increase the benefits for those out of work and thus reduce further the benefit from working. You cant have it both ways.

Q said...

It's newsworthy because it is highlighting that the labour market does not provide adequate incentive to work. You've got things the wrong way around, it's not about welfare being an incentive not to work. Like the woman in the article says, "I love my job". Most people do genuinely want to be productive. A healthy economy can easily provide support to those who need it, and even for the very small portion of society who genuinely are useless. If you perceive that welfare costs are too high, this reflects a problem with the economy, lack of opportunity and reward.

The Slippery Slope said...

Exactly the questions I was asking Lindsay.
As a single working Mum with two teens, after mortgage and essentials I had $7 a week & I cycled to work, considered myself well off aqnd living in paradise.
I couldn't work out what the problem was.