Friday, November 01, 2019

Are benefits protection money?

I heard Kim Workman expressing a view this morning that withholding benefits from gangs would result in more crime.

He may well be right.

But is that what Mickey Savage's grand and noble idea has come to? That benefits are now paid as protection money to some individuals or groups to ward off violence and lawbreaking?

Maybe a society could live with such an arrangement if it worked.

But it doesn't. The crime gets committed anyway.

If we want to reduce crime, by Mr Workman's logic, gang members should be paid more.

The tragic thing is that many current politicians actually believe and want that. If we just pay the unemployed and the unemployable more, Aotearoa will become some sort of nirvana. A shining beacon of social justice.

They are dangerous delusionists.


Mark Wahlberg said...

Lindsay, if Kim Workman's comment "withholding benefits from gangs would result in more crime." has any substance, could it not be argued that by paying those who earn above the average wage, more money, this would reduce the high level of white collar crime?
Perhaps if National is going to focus on benefit abuse by those of the lower socio economic class, is it not also time to look at asset testing those receiving the old age pension? Or does this creep too close to that scourge of the affluent, a "Capital Gains tax"?
I suggest the "State" has always been a source of extra revenue by those with a quick eye for the main chance. Criminal or otherwise, lawyers and accountants have usually led the assault on the treasury. Then there are the large corporations using their influence to seek tax payer funded government contracts. With the billions of welfare dollars on offer, the rough trade are muscling in and want their share. The unintended consequences of this free for all, are that both ends of the scale end up meeting in the middle and benefiting from each others efforts as a result.
I suggest if benefit levels take a dive, so will the economies of many small communities such as the one I live in. The busiest days at the local supermarket are benefit days and I cant see The Brave New World being happy with their car park bereft of vehicles.
Perhaps its best to throw more money at the problem and worry about it tomorrow.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Reasonable context. I come back to a recent comment on another thread. We wouldn't need to constantly fight 'abuse' of benefit and tax systems by every sector if we didn't have them (pure libertarianism). But we do have them. And the bigger and more convoluted they get, the worse the potential for abuse and exploitation gets.

That said ... It is easier to persuade the taxpaying population that a subsidy to Peter Jackson's latest movie will net a greater return to the economy than a subsidy to the Mongrel Mob.

On a brighter note we can afford to keep throwing "more money at the problem" so long as a sustainable (god-awful word) ratio is preserved.

Mark Wahlberg said...

Lindsay, Ive only ever had a couple of accountants to oversee my humble jumble of business affairs. Both were at pains to assure me that their job was to ensure i paid only that which was due. No more or no less, their cost to me was money in the bank they said. I made little taxable income, but lived very well within the boundaries of my bohemian lifestyle.
People who are rorting the benefit system or any system for that matter, are doing the same to survive by using what street smarts they possess. Dishonesty is the tool of their trade. Not that they see it that way. Successive governments have provided the opportunity to prosper.
Banks suck billion dollar profits off the backs of hard working people and understanding how the "system' works, exploit it to the maximum with a "nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more" from the government.
Carnivores do what carnivores do, its the nature of the beast.
The welfare system needs the needy to justify its existence and keep everybody employed in well paying jobs. The police need the criminals (big and small) to justify their ever increasing appetite for power and control.
The government needs everybody in work so they can feed the lemmings which are keeping the treadmill turning.
"Is everybody happy? you bet your life we are!"