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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why bashing work testing solo mothers works

"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well housed, well warmed and well fed."

Herman Melville

And it begins, the crippling of the welfare state using far right ideologues as a 'think tank' for welfare 'reforms' rammed through by a Minister who has cut off the very same benefits to solo mothers that she herself used when she was a solo mother is being rolled out across the country.

Paula Bennett's hypocrisy is the least offensive ingredient in this redneck stew of bennie bashing hate.

It is a blitzkrieg of hard right austerity policy, forced upon the weakest members of NZ society because of the Governments economic incompetence. The Government raised GST to subsidize a tax cut for the rich, but that GST tax rise wasn't enough and the Government have had to borrow a billion dollars, that sort of affection is not extended to those on the benefit.

In the same week that thousands of public sector job cuts were announced, in the same week Air NZ and Yellow Pages sack hundreds, in the same week the Executives at the Ports of Auckland continue to destabilize Auckland's economic well being and AFFCO follows suit with their Union bashing practices, in the same week Housing NZ close face to face meetings and launch an 0800 number after they start to throw state house tenants onto the street (expect more violence at State House offices as frustration explodes), the Government embark upon bennie bashing extremism that should embarrass a civil society.

The reason bashing bennies works so well is because the National Party have understood a truth about NZers, the working poor hate the beneficiary poor with the same visceral passion that racists hate people of different color.

The working poor look at the pittance they earn and look at the 'money for nothing' that beneficiaries get and their fury is impossible to control. It is a fury that ironically gets whipped up by National who plays to that anger by bashing bennies. I say ironically because the working poor should be angry not at beneficiaries, but at National because the pittance they are comparing against the benefit is driven by the disgustingly low wages our country earns since National's neoliberal union crushing policies from the early 1990s.

As this graph from the CTU points out, when you de-unionize a country, inequality grows...

..the legacy of a low wage economy sown by National is harvested today by generating envy between the working poor and beneficiaries. Watching the NZ public being played so effectively by National in generating that envy between the working poor and beneficiaries is a lesson in divide and rule politics.

When you empower anger as social policy by playing the poor and the desperate off against each other, you reap a terrible ignorance.

Blaming the welfare state for poverty and dependency is like blaming hospitals for people being sick, all John Key's vacant aspiration is offering you is economic Darwinism - welfare is a safety net, not a cancer to send back to work.

When the Shire Volk of NZ are getting their way on welfare, the rest of us should be nervous. 68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for this.



At 28/2/12 1:31 pm, Blogger Alex said...

Can the damage be delayed for 3 years until the next chance to vote this government out? I would love to see a broad coalition of parties against bene-bashing, preying on the weak may be good politics but it is morally very wrong. I think the Greens and Mana will stand against this ideologically motivated austerity, I just hope Labour, NZ 1st and the Maori Party remember those at the bottom of the ladder over the next 3 years.

At 28/2/12 9:06 pm, Blogger mel said...

I don't think the working poor hate the non-working poor. Most of the vitriol I read and hear is from the affluent who have no notion of poverty, nor morality, at all.

At 28/2/12 11:07 pm, Blogger Canichett said...

Fact is, if our Government made job creation a top priority, both in the private sector, and government schemes such as the apprenticeship scheme for the young that Labour wanted before the election, then frankly, we wouldn't NEED welfare reform. Anyway, what Nact call reform, others call retribution! According to Nact, it's their own fault that they're bennies, and should be severely punished for daring to take from the State(funny but isn't that what MP's do?) Don't all the rich folk who send their little darlings to University take much more from the State than a bennie when their kids are at uni, as they and their offspring only pay about one quarter or less of the cost. The rest is paid by the taxpayer, and then, whaddaya know, the offspring then take off overseas, sometimes owing a huge debt, and the taxpayer is unlikely to ever get a return on their investment. Yet these are the same people who want bennies punished. They take more from the state but it's not called a benefit, so that's different? Don't think so, it's still taxpayer's dough!!!

At 28/2/12 11:12 pm, Blogger so you tell me said...



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