Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why the Aussie welfare system is wasteful

This morning on talkback radio covered the case of a grandmother who is looking after two children because the children, have no mother and the father committed a crime and was sentenced to 8 years prison.

The grandmother was already on welfare, and at first was receiving an additional $75 per week from Centrelink as part of an "orphans payment".... however, after a few months of this, and speaking to a different Centrelink representative, they found that according to the legislation, the children could only be considered orphans if their parents were imprisoned for 10 years or greater.

So.. the decision was reversed and the payments were cancelled. The talkback host suggested contacting the minister, lobbying the government etc so that the legislation could be amended to cover this case. The grandmother was on the radio saying that she is using up her savings, and that the payments were very helpful, and although they didn't come close to covering the cost of raising the 2 children, it helped her a great deal.

What followed then was several callers ringing up to show their generosity. One caller offered the family $500/month. Other callers offered huge amounts too.

So what we have is a perfect example of why a public welfare system will fail individuals, and why private welfare and charity is far more succesful.

* At the moment, to qualify for a particular payment, you provide Centrelink with every little private detail about your life and they see if your income, age and status fall in the particular thresholds. There is a lot of bureaucracy, its very difficult for individuals to determine if they qualify before they apply, mainly because Centrelink has a challenging and confusing website.
The threshold for the children to be treated as orphans is 10 years jailtime for the parents. Its obviously there for a reason, if you reduced the threshold, then more people would qualify and that would add $millions to the cost of the program.

* Even if a family does qualify, who is to say that $75 a week is the right amount. What if the family are comfortable and the carer has a good income? What if they are struggling and the carer has no income ?

* Where do the actual Centrelink payments come from ? From taxes. Which are stolen. From everyone, regardless of whether they volunteer their assistance or not. It came from my pocket, and it most likely came from your pocket. Like it or not, you gave charity to strangers today.

Contrast all the failures and issues above with the simple concept of private charity. It can be through recognised charity groups. It can be through talkback radio or TV. When private citizens hear about a tough situation, they can donate as much as they feel comfortable with, and they know who its going towards.

And... if we all paid less taxes, we'd all have more money to give to our favorite private charities.

Socialism is nothing more than government treating us like cattle, justifying theft and coercion by telling us that they know how to spend our money better than we do.