National is steadily increasing pressure on the poor. National doesn’t like the poor, although there’s nothing like a bit of desperation to drive wages down. National likes that well enough, with instant dismissal at the drop of a hat and the unions ruined. You get far more money out of people by exploiting them than working with them. Paying peanuts to make more profit out of the workforce is considered ‘good economics’ when society is considered just a primary resource for greed enablement by the sort of people who support parties like National and worse.
But beneficiaries have got to an embarrassingly high ratio, even for this government. You can recategorise some of them so the figure looks lower, but it doesn’t really deal with the numbers of sufferers I mean ingrates.
There are two approaches to this problem, essentially. A humanist government takes the approach of job creation, but that’s challenging and requires investments of time, energy, intellect, compassion and money.
Of those, this government only has time, being mid-term and all. Besides, a right-leaning regime would rather the problem just disappeared – and if that requires punitive action, so be it.
Announcing a board to create ‘welfare reform’ is bad enough in itself, since we already have a ministry in place for that full of highly trained and well paid people who specialise, and have experience in, the New Zealand welfare situation. But no. National has decided to create a demonstrably right-wing board run by paladin Paula Rebstock to do it. That’s verging on monstrous.
Apart from the waste of dropping NZ$1.1 million on this when we are supposed to be minding our pennies and already have budgeted-for experts in place, it’s clearly a way of pushing through unpalatable reforms that the government wants initiated while keeping the impetus at arm’s length. Nothing like a well paid scapegoat when it all turns to shit.
Rebstock is the idiot who advocated getting women back to work once their babies were 14 weeks old! Clearly, this is not a person with an ounce of empathy. Perfect to do Paula Bennett’s dirty work.
This board, apart from the seriously questionable (if she actually answered questions) Rebstock is composed of insurance and business types so it can focus on projecting risk and any long-term potential deficit for this government.
Rrrright … now I can see where we are headed. OK.
I know I normally dispense advice on left-style social change and policy, but I can offer my services to National here, as there are very clear precedents to draw from and besides, it’s obvious National likes hiring outsiders to do its dirty work.
OK, so here’s my advice. The first step is always to stigmatise beneficiaries a lot more. Muldoon did this with solo mums, so there’s already precedent even here in good ole New Zealand, but we can draw on international precedents too. New Zealand has a long history of implementing other people’s mistakes, after all.
So I suggest requiring anyone on a benefit to wear a black triangle in public so every one can see who they are. You know, you’re in a café having lunch I mean a work meeting and one of these blemishes on society is spending your grudgingly-paid tax dollars on a coffee. The gall! How dare they? With their black triangle on, everyone can see who they are, and you can enjoy the support of your peers when you tell them off.
That’s if they get served at all, of course.
It’s been done before, also as a way out of a financial crisis – so you can give the concept a foreign name, too. We can use ‘Arbeitsschue’. It’s a German word with a nice, sophisticated historical ring to it, although it just means ‘work shy’.
Because work makes you free.
And there’s lots more advice John Key would clearly endorse, so he doesn’t actually need to hire me at all.
It’s all in Mein Kampf, John. If you can actually read words that aren’t on spreadsheets or stock tickers, of course.
Maybe get Paula to read it out to you. She’d enjoy that.