Public welfare


A highly emotive subject; public welfare payments. Even some private charity efforts and payments are becoming the subject of controversy.

I see more and more comment, e-mail and even political campaigns around the world to reduce who can receive public money, and for how long.

There is even a movement to get Oxfam out of Somalia, where after 20 or more years of feeding a population who cannot feed themselves, their numbers have increased considerably; whereas a country unable to feed its people over the same timespan (without outside help) would have drastically reduced numbers. So is Somalia just a ‘suburb’ of Oxfam? If you’ve given money to Oxfam, are you really responsible for creating the Somali pirates?

Experience in many countries shows families who for generations seem to exist on welfare payments alone. There is no reason such as a major disability, diminished mental capacity (in the normal sense), advanced age etc why these people should be offered help. They are all physically and in terms of mental competence able to earn their own living, provide their own food. Yet they don’t. The family doesn’t seem able to ever make themselves independent. Fortunately this is not true of all; some wonderful y productive people come from these backgrounds.

Yet the backlash against continual ‘free existence’ is growing.

Why should someone live all their life on state subsidy, paid for by those who do work? Why should a new immigrant to a country receive an on-going payment just for having come there? Why should the able be paid to laze around? What have they contributed to the country? Older people who have paid taxes all their lives have contributed to the country over the years: supporting them in return is essential.

One argument is that these payments remove the need for these people to commit crimes to survive. That is not really true as experience shows that many of the young (men especially) caught committing crimes may be on welfare payments, but with enough time to be bored and want the things you can’t buy on welfare.

There are places in the USA that have introduced public work required to get public money. I remember chuckling when reading about one of these who complained that the work was ruining her well-manicured nails. Hellooo, if you can afford a fancy manicure why do you need public money?

There are also campaigns to get fathers to pay maintenance for all of their children. Men who wander around impregnating various women over the years, being extremely generous with the sperm donations, but who seem to feel that’s where their responsibility ends. Why not simply force them to provide the food, accommodation and school fees etc for all of their children. And if they default, have them sterilised so they can’t add more children needing public support?

I’m all in favour of free education, that’s the kick-start for people to lead productive and independent lives.

I’m all in favour of public health care (in some workable form?) to save lives and limbs etc. for those who are working and contributing to public coffers as far as they can.

Why not public feeding schemes for those who literally have no way to earn a living?

We have huge numbers in this country who through the ravages of Apartheid were dislocated from their communities, given an education designed to make them the bottom end of the working class only, or no education. There is a genuine need for a generation of support.

Do I agree with the campaigns? Yes I do. There are people in genuine need through no fault of their own. Is it part of a country’s responsibility to support these people, yes? But I don’t believe the ever-and-ever payments to those who WON’T work make any sense financially or in other ways.

Should welfare be paid to those willing to upgrade their skills to be employable? Absolutely! Should welfare be paid to those who have been struck by some illness or accident? Yes probably.

But should welfare be paid to those who WONT work. No never. Not without some training and public work in exchange. After all if your choices are like these:

a) starve on the street

b) get into crime and eventually either die or go to jail where they force you to earn your keep

c) receive public support, do public work not of your choosing, and be limited in ever having children

d) receive public support, so some work in exchange, educate (and PASS) for employable skills, be limited in having children until you are self-supporting

e) become self-supporting with some freedom of choice, decide when and if you have children, raise them the way you believe

those who can will end up in E is my belief.

Then there will be public money to help those who really do need assistance.

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13 thoughts on “Public welfare

  1. There should be a limit on how much and for how long you get state aid, but you also need an effective back to work programme. Some public work in return for help is a good idea.

    I write this as someone trapped on benefits for 15 years. It’s soul-sapping. I got A Levels, a degree, took computer courses, back to work courses, workshops, volunteered in my community. I can’t get a job.

    The system needs overhauling, needs to be tougher, but needs to help in practical ways.

    BTW, once we realised we might be on benefits for a while, we took the decision not to have the third child we wanted. One son is at uni, the other on a full bursary at a good grammar school. You don’t have to be a victim and there is absolutely no excuse for turning to crime.

    1. exactly, the help to get out of it needs to be REAL

      good to have the view from someone who got caught up by the system, stopped you starving, but it doesn’t exactly help with self respect at the time

      you of course were too responsible to have the other child, others arent!

  2. The immigrant population in Miami is huge and we are probably over 50% foreign born. They have the food stamps and all kinds of benefits and of course work under the table and their presence is bankrupting the schools and hospitals. Truly needy American born have a far less chance of getting assistance.

  3. They will always be there, these people, won’t they? I have no idea what the answer is. We have to have a safety net to stop people descending into inhuman poverty; but self sufficiency, reaping what one sows, is so important. I feel like a dog chasing its tail just thinking about it 🙂

  4. Great post, Sidey.

    There are many sides to the issue (and sometimes decisions need to be made on a case by case basis) . . . but there is real credence in the welfare to work rules implemented in some of the states.

    Also in the rules that say having more kids when you’re on welfare will not “earn” you more money. If you can’t afford kids, stop having kids.

    As you’ve mentioned, being on welfare does NOT prevent “bored” people from committing crimes.

    In Vermont, there used to be Town Farms. Instead of getting “handouts” you went to live and work on the Farm . . . you got a roof over your head and a chance to get back on your feet. Smart thinking.

    1. There are so many ways to help those willing to work and keep their self respect.

      Here there is a demand for a poverty payment to all. It has merit but there ae other initiatives (private of course) that help the rural poor create food gardens etc, Apartheid took so much from so many, dignity, the drive to look after themselves, traditional education was relpaced by ‘slave’ education. we have a few generations of teaching people better before we can push them all to be self sufficient. Others soared out of those conditions purely on their own efforts. All they need is a spot of applause

  5. Interesting and brave. The work-for-welfare debate has been raging here in North America for years. Still comes up every time there is an election, which, in Canada, is quite often. I am with you in believing that people should not be simply handed money, especially just enough money to barely ‘make it’. There is no way a person can develop a sense of confidence or self-worth when that happens. Teaching people, providing them with the tools they need to make informed decisions for their lives, that is the best use of public funding. That said, the elderly, children, and the infirm should never be victims of social programming. Therein lies the problem.

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