Friday, June 30, 2023

The Plague of Entitlement

The subject on Kerre Woodham's morning talk show today was the cost of living and how dire some people's circumstances are becoming. A texter wrote in:

"Kerre, As a solo mum of two year-old twins I was recently offered a role for $96,000. I chose not to take it because the cost of living means I'd actually only be getting about a hundred extra dollars a week to what I am getting on the benefit. Something is very wrong with that scenario. Rent - and childcare if I work full-time - is $80,000 gross. So getting offered a job at $96,000 …  financially, this single mum is better staying on a benefit. And what does that tell you?"*

I am assuming the texter is saying that a well-paying job, but not paying enough to attract her off a benefit, is confirmation of the extremely elevated cost of living. The answer to her rhetorical question is implicit. We are expected to agree and sympathise.

I would answer her last question rather differently. What her text tells me is this:

1/ She has no sense of gratitude or shame that other people are working so she doesn't have to 

2/ She has no motivation to contribute to the economy

3/ She has no interest in 'cutting her cloth' to cope with the consequences of her personal decisions

4/ She has no apparent awareness that increasingly generous benefits are a factor fuelling inflation and the cost of living which she is currently so concerned about

Over twenty years ago now, I launched a petition to parliament asking for an inquiry into the DPB. A local newspaper wrote about the petition which provoked howls of outrage among beneficiaries. One lady took umbrage at my assertion that being raised on benefits was not good for children. She wrote to the editor saying her children had turned out fine. Indeed, her daughters were now raising their own children on the DPB! 

This elicited a response I shall never forget and when in need of some sanity and solace I revisit it:

Here we are, a generation down the track, and it's not just the value of money that is subject to rampant inflation. So is the plague of entitlement.

*(NewstalkZB, Week on Demand, 30/6/23, 9:45am, at 6:00 in,