Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: "Because we can"

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Just to be correct she didn’t say (as Keith says in the spreadsheet) there were 161,000 beneficiaries who’d been on a benefit for 5 out of the 10 years, she said “people”. In theory they could all be working now but had been on benefits for 5 of the last 10 years.

    You may be correct. But that’s not how the average person would have heard it – and it completely defeats the claim about people being intractably on benefits. They’re mobile – and, indeed, the system needs the labour market liquidity they represent. The unemployment benefit covering workers as they move in and out of the workforce is what’s actually meant to happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Islander,

    Certainly hope so...what is it with these billionaire creatures and their total disconnect with the rest of humanity? Money turns your brain into a sleazy self-reguarding wax?

    In the words of Bruce Springsteen's "Badlands":

    "Poor man wanna be rich
    Rich man wanna be king
    King ain't satisfield 'till he rules everything"

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Aotearoan,

    To me, she has a touch of the Christine Rankin's - been there, got into a position of power, now feel free to demonise those rely on state assistance...whilst enjoying all the vast privilages of the jobs they now have.

    In all this debate, what has happened to the "social" in social welfare? A society that cared for vulnerable souls and didn't work to slur them as "the other".

    Friedrich List had it right earlier than we think, in his The National System of Political Economy:

    " It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him. In this lies the secret of the cosmopolitical doctrine of Adam Smith, and of the cosmopolitical tendencies of his great contemporary William Pitt, and of all his successors in the British Government administrations.

    Any nation which by means of protective duties and restrictions on navigation has raised her manufacturing power and her navigation to such a degree of development that no other nation can sustain free competition with her, can do nothing wiser than to throw away these ladders of her greatness, to preach to other nations the benefits of free trade, and to declare in penitent tones that she has hitherto wandered in the paths of error, and has now for the first time succeeded in discovering the truth."

    And I once again cite Chris Hayes' Twilight of the Elites, where he basically explains that meritocracy, done wrong, turns into a law unto itself.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But that's not how the average person would have heard it -- and it completely defeats the claim about people being intractably on benefits.

    Doing the numbers this way supports the ideological decision to frame the core issue as 'dependence'. Watch those nutbar WWG terms of reference produce their natural outcomes..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Doing the numbers this way supports the ideological decision to frame the core issue as ‘dependence’. Watch those nutbar WWG terms of reference produce their natural outcomes..

    Sadly, I think you’re right. They’re presenting the numbers so as emphasise dependence over mobility.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They’re presenting the numbers so as emphasise dependence over mobility.

    it would be hard to not see recent numbers being produced as anything but a well-orchestrated campaign to soften up the disgruntled middle classes.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Che Tibby,

    Yes; but now wait for the disgruntled middle classes not to see that. The really really annoying thing about this strategy is that, largely, it’s been working [in terms of maintaining support for National, rather than doing anything productive for NZ] – partly because the disgruntled middle-class subset of the audience is likely to experience confirmation bias; and the worse National do on the economy, the larger the ranks of the disgruntled.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to linger,

    I wonder if for this reason the Romney tape may not be quite as damaging as it looks. If the disgruntled look at the number 47% then they will be offended and patronised, but if they look at the description of "dependence" and "idleness" they will be back to feeling resentful and angry.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And I once again cite Chris Hayes’ Twilight of the Elites, where he basically explains that meritocracy, done wrong, turns into a law unto itself.

    Thanks Deep Red - will obtain and read that-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    The Romney strategy is to focus on is the 5 to 10 % of swinging voters. He, in the Mother Jones link, lumps the 47% ( of those who want social policy in the form of health care, housing and welfare) as votes for Obama and as a goup people who don't pay taxes.

    That Romney is contesting this election represents the GOP surrendering and gifting Obama a second term, The GOP must be serioulsy considering saving their ernest efforts till the following election.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    Yep. I think Romney voters will think (the US slang equivalent of) "Too bloody right, half the population are just a bunch of scroungers, living off MY taxes". i.e. so long as they consider themselves to not belong to the 47%, they're perfectly happy for Mick to describe other people that way.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    What shocked me about Romney's rant was this:

    who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.

    Um, what? Health, nutrition, and shelter from the elements are "entitlements", right up there with McMansion and private jet ownership? Romney would really deny people medical treatment, let them starve, or have them sleep rough because they or their parents had the gall to be poor?

    You can dress a salt water crocodile up in a suit, but it's still just as likely to turn around and eat you if it's hungry and you happen to be the closest meat. I hope this does lose him the election.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I'm tired, so excuse me this short hard; Bennett's a shit Minister, her policies are arcane, her grasp of her portfolio is weak, she's even crap as the faux authentic Western Chick that Key cast her as. NatRad were way too polite to her. That's an interview that should've been concluded by a resignation. Night.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Ae, tautoko- sweet dreams (if possible.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DexterX,

    The Romney strategy is to focus on is the 5 to 10 % of swinging voters. He, in the Mother Jones link, lumps the 47% ( of those who want social policy in the form of health care, housing and welfare) as votes for Obama and as a goup people who don’t pay taxes.

    The irony being, of course, that the states where fewest people pay federal income tax are in the Republican South. 2008 Obama votes were concentrated in higher-income states.

    And, of course, the principal reason these people pay no income tax -- or even have the government pay them -- is a flagship Reagan policy .

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He won't be the brightest, perhaps
    But he'll be the whitest
    And I'll vote for that

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    David Shearer’s researcher Lamia Imam has directed me to Who uses the benefit system and for how long? , which was prepared by VUW researchers for the Welfare Working Group.

    And in particular, p17, which says that as of June 2009 among recipients aged 28-64, 171,100 (or two thirds of that group) had spent “50% or more of the last 10 years on benefit”.

    And 121,100 of that group had spent eight or more of the last 10 years on benefit.

    So, to revisit Bennett’s actual quote:

    I think it does become that safety net and I think over time what it instead has become is a bit of a trap for quite a few people when we’ve seen 161,000 people have been on for at least five of the last 10 years (and) 139,000 for at least 10 years.

    Presumably she’s either recalled the 2009 numbers incorrectly or is quoting newer figures. And her “at least 10 years” is completely wrong.

    Also, the cohort isn’t all NZers or even all beneficiaries, but beneficiaries aged 28-64.

    These are odd measures, because the first one especially could just as well show labour mobility as benefit capture. People moving in and out of employment at the edges is what your benefit system is supposed to support.

    Also, as I noted earlier, half or more of the people in question are on invalids benefits and aren’t subject to the measures Bennett says will fix the problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I think that when the Tea Party wake up and realise that it was them that Romney was talking about as the 47% things will get really interesting ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • jb,

    Democratic campaign ad: "I'm a Democrat, one of the 47% who'll vote for Obama for sure. I pay taxes. Here are my tax returns for the past 10 years to prove it. Now show me YOURS, Mr Romney"

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    half or more of the people in question are on invalids benefits and aren’t subject to the measures Bennett says will fix the problem.

    Yet.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Expect wholesale reclassification as in the UK. That does have some upsides, to be fair. Many people currently receiving the Invalid Benefit would welcome access to support to get some part-time work (see Greens income support spokesperson Jan Logie discussing her conversations with People First).

    However the solution to that lies mainly in the hands of employers and society. To proceed otherwise is just ignorant victim-blaming. Ladling on sanctions is not a sign of faith in people's strengths and desire to contribute.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Reeves, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Her original statement seems (designed??) to suggest that people have been on benefits for five years in one continuous block of time (i.e. they went on one day, and came off it five years later with no movement in between), whereas, when I first read it I though: but perhaps that means that these people had accumulated five years on a benefit by moving on and off over ten years.

    Good digging, though!

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I think that when the Tea Party wake up and realise…

    Thing is, those people are permanent somnambulists when it comes to realising anything approaching truth.
    I had just finished reading the Michael Lewis’ Vanity Fair article on Obama and was wading through the comments, needless to say the Tea Baggers are still in denial and will believe anything their “controllers” tell them.
    The current tactic of the Right(ious) is to trick Obama supporters into trying to prove negatives and asking questions with purely negative outcomes.
    As with our own country, the negativity may well rule. Sad.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Expect wholesale reclassification as in the UK. That does have some upsides, to be fair. Many people currently receiving the Invalid Benefit would welcome access to support to get some part-time work (see Greens income support spokesperson Jan Logie discussing her conversations with People First).

    But what the government is doing seems likely to encourage people to fight to stay on the invalid benefit – making the work-test harsher really raises the stakes on a move to any other benefit, even in pursuit of support for getting into work. I wonder if it’s going to be self-defeating in that respect. It worries me.

    But I presume the minister and Ms Rebstock haven't thought it through like that. It would require more empathy than they typically display.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It would require more empathy than they typically display.

    And just wait until Health Minister Ryall gets wind of this initiative...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

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