The amazing disappearing Unemployed Youth trick
They are not even bloody trying now are they? So the 58 000 unemployed youth don't just exist now because John Key doesn't think so? Since when the bloody hell did we base decisions on social policy just on what John Key thinks? Surely he would need to provide some evidence rather than hold his nose and run out of Parliament to escape questions?
Come on. National are not even pretending to justify their record or actual plans for youth employment other than exploiting them with a youth wage that will actually end up with employers rushing to lay off older staff for younger, cheaper labour.
Displacing unemployment from one age group to another is not a credible social policy!
Bennett's new eligibility regime is throwing people off welfare regardless of circumstance, that's not beneficial for them or us as those tensions play out in our public social services. This farce of claiming to stop 16 and 17 year olds from buying alcohol or tobacco by forcing them to sign up to poverty identity cards is Orwellian because 16 and 17 year olds can't buy tobacco or alcohol.
This is the beginning of private companies expanding into social welfare as National continue their privatization agenda and sub contract their social obligations out to corporations. Paying a private company a bonus to get rid of a dirty filthy bennie off their list is just pure social Crucifixion. Overseas experience shows us these private companies are a rort, and having the power to cut off a persons benefit if they turn down a job has all the ingredients of enforceable cruelty.
As the ever brilliant Gordon Campbell points out...
To the young unemployed, it must seem be a bit like getting lectures on sobriety from an alcoholic uncle. When have the boomer generation – well represented at the National party conference – ever deferred its own indulgences? It used free education, loads of job opportunity and class mobility to further its advancement in the 1970s and 1980s, and has given itself tax cuts at every stop along the way – but now preaches the virtues of slashing government spending and cracking down on the miserly amounts the state awards to the youngest and least advantaged in the society that the boomers have created? Spare me. Forget about the rednecks in New Zealand First. What was on show in the audience for Key’s conference speech on the weekend was the ugliest side of the New Zealand character.
At the core of Key’s speech were two proposals that amount to the Americanisation of welfare delivery in this country. Believe me, this is only the thin end of the wedge. The payment card for 16 and 17 year old beneficiaries (and for 18 year old mothers) is the American food stamp programme in digital drag. There is no reason for thinking it will not be extended to other beneficiaries, once the rest of the welfare reform package is unveiled.
The second element of Americanisation is the mandatory use of welfare bureaucrats from the private sector to manage the transition of teenage beneficiaries into work, education or training. As the US experience has shown, this privatisation of welfare delivery means that said ‘managers’ will have absolutely no interest or stake in the wellbeing of the clients whose money they control – no, because the managers get paid for purging as many people off welfare as fast as they can. And Key is willing to hand the family income and wellbeing of the babies of 18 year old mothers to a cash incentive scheme of this sort?
What happens if the teenage mother jibes for instance, at the inadequate or unsafe childcare that the manager demands she accept, so that the manager can pocket more money? Why, her case manager will be able to force her into submission on this or any other grounds, simply because the manager will be holding the purse strings. For a party that claims to abhor the nanny state, this is a major extension of state power, and with regard to something far more important than shower nozzles and light bulbs. Again, one can safely assume it will be extended beyond teenage beneficiaries to the wider beneficiary population, once the rest of the policy package gets unveiled in the months before the election.
This will fuel the possibility of riots, not decrease them, John Key is to social equality what ADIDAS is to brand management.