Friday, June 24, 2016

Crowded house

The headline reads, "Baby gets sick in crowded house".

It is now an established trend for young people to stay longer in the family home. It's happening in our family and I am fine with it. It makes sense due to various circumstances.

But if the young person then adds a partner, followed by children, it is inevitable that overcrowding is going to happen.

What I would like the media to decide is which is worse? Poverty - higher when housing costs consume a greater part of income - or overcrowding, which allows people to pool their resources.

Overcrowding actually alleviates poverty. So then the story has to be about how overcrowding makes people sick.

I have a suspicion that state houses are the cause of the problem - not the solution. Because they are cheap compared to private rentals families tend to congregate in them as well as on the grounds.

It may be that the son can't find a rental in Tauranga or that, compared to living with his mother in a cheap state house, he can't find anything 'affordable'.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

No free lunches in Upper Hutt

A social entrepreneur has contacted 300 Upper Hutt businesses to pay for school lunches for children who turn up without. He's had no takers.

Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce CE says,

"I'm genuinely surprised to be perfectly honest . . . the feedback that's been given to me is that there's been a genuine lack of interest and in most cases a non-reply which absolutely astounds me for a business community that we have in the valley that do like to normally support community projects."

The social entrepreneur says,

"I'm not trying to sound harsh but if there are businesses that are making money off our community then I'm sort of garnering towards making them socially responsible to give back to the community that it makes money from."
But they do give back. As the first comment records. And they give back in taxes that run the welfare system that distributes income for the very purposes of feeding children.

So I am not surprised that there is little interest in this project. Businesses will also have figured out that once 'free lunches' are on offer the need will mysteriously grow.

These schools need to talk to the parents. Or send them a letter saying that if their children continue to come to school with no food CYF or Work and Income will be contacted. That will result in the parent either having to do budgeting course or have their income managed by a third party.

A couple of slices of bread, apple, and biscuit. How hard can it be for god's sake? And if the school can prepare and freeze sandwiches in advance why can't the parents?

All this guy is doing is encouraging absolutely slack parenting (if indeed children are genuinely without lunch. I bet some are given money to buy food but spend it on whatever it is kids buy these days.)

It is disgraceful that he is trying to shame businesses when it is the parents who should be shamed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Welfare fraud versus tax evasion

Various coverage occurred yesterday about Victoria University research into the lack of even-handedness in dealing with welfare fraudsters versus tax evaders. There is even a very large billboard mounted just to the left of the motorway heading into Wellington highlighting the issue (thank you taxpayers.)

The following is, I believe a misunderstanding on the part of the lead researcher:

Ms Marriott said despite the higher cost of tax evasion, people who committed welfare fraud were judged more harshly because society had little sympathy for people on welfare.

People have plenty of sympathy for those on welfare; for those who have suffered a redundancy, the loss of a spouse, an accident, a disability, care for disabled children etc. But fraud is an abuse of their sympathy and causes anger.

More importantly, what people have little sympathy for is the idea that the state controls all the money and it decides how much of it you can keep. Whether you personally helped create the money is immaterial.

So when an individual attempts to keep more of what he has created there is less anger than when someone tries to take what he hasn't. That is why society has greater tolerance (and exhibits it through the courts) for tax evasion than welfare fraud.