Friday, May 21, 2021

Chris Trotter foolishly invokes Micky Savage

I think Chris Trotter was in his cups writing about the Budget yesterday, including this line: "To hear Robertson invoke the memory of Ruth Richardson’s “Mother of All Budgets” ... delivered 30 years ago as the final crushing blow against Mickey Savage’s welfare state..."

Is that a joke? The welfare state Savage designed was stringently policed. There was no benefit for any individual who caused their own incapacity to work. Criminals and drunks had no eligibility. Single women who became mothers had no eligibility. Even deserted married women struggled to access assistance. 

By 1991 Savage's welfare state had metamorphosised into a massive mess with sixteen percent of the working age population on a benefit. Until 1970 there was never more than two percent. Savage would have approved of Richardson's reforms (numerically exaggerated in the re-telling) intended to undo the intergenerational dependence and dysfunction that had developed.

Now the country is running headlong into free-for-all, no-questions-asked reliance on the state. As Trotter points out, Clark and Cullen resisted this. And they were right to do so. They consistently maintained work was the best way out of poverty (which includes child poverty).

The kind of values needed to raise children with their wellbeing absolutely utmost cannot be learned from a government. They cannot be replaced by unearned income.

Savage understood human hardship but he also understood human motivation.

1 comment:

Mark Wahlberg said...
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