The Exception is the Rule

Australia
September 16, 2011 10:11pm CST
One of the things I have noticed through my life is the habit conservative types have of basing their polemic on the exception rather than the rule. For instance, Australia has possibly the most generous social security program in the world, and it is indubitable that some people will try to rort the system. But when you look at the figures, it appears to be a very small proportion of welfare clients. Most are genuinely out of work, and the long-term ones are generally there still because of the vicious downward spiral - they've been out of work for a while, therefore are suspect and cannot get work, so the spiral continues. Add to that the economic rationalist worship of eternal growth, which results in companies outsourcing lower level jobs to the cheap labour markets of Asia, and the opportunities continue to shrink. Despite this, conservatives continue to blame the unemployed for their plight, often labelling them malingerers (the disablity pensioners), sl*ts (the single mothers), and lazy bludgers (the unemployed. As one on an aged pension I understand only too well that it is not a matter of "living" on social security, it is barely existing, and that in a generous system. How it must be in, say, America, horrifies me. And I own my own home, so no rent, and yet I'm still battling to survive. That being so, why on earth would any sane person choose to be on long-term social welfare? The Right seem to base their entire objection to any form of welfare on the existence of that small proportion of cheats rather than on the vast majority who can't wait to get off welfare - if they can manage to find a decent job. In the current US argument over health care, they seem to focus their entire concentration on that same small minority who are cheating the miserable system they have. Why would this be? I suspect it is simply a function of the character of religious, political, economic, and social zealots. Any other ideas? Lash
1 person likes this
4 responses
@p1kef1sh (45640)
17 Sep 11
I don't know much about Australia other than you have a Welsh woman for PM! However, it seems to me that it is easy to pick on the poorest in society and blame them for all the ills of the World. I have a growing concern that whilst governments are laying in to publicly funded anything (especially jobs) they are not creating any real incentives for private industry to grow new employment opportunities. In the UK there have been 111,000 public sector job cuts and only 41,000 private sector new jobs in the past 12 months. If there is no investment in economic growth then the waged will always have a lead on the unwaged. Regrettably many of them infer from their employment status that they are somehow "better" than the unemployed. This seems to me an ostrich-like attitude all with sand in their buried eyes. There is no easy answer because it is about respect and what we disrespect we rarely learn to treat differently.
2 people like this
• Australia
17 Sep 11
So many people in politics, on both sides but more emphatically the Right, ignore the employment problems, problems created by big business outsourcing jobs abd governments trying to balance impossible budgets by shrinking the public service. The voter, of course, most of whom don't appear to think clearly about much more than their hip pockets, clings to his/her good luck at being employed and, as you say, think themsleves better. Perhaps it helps them ignore any guilt at the poor conditions the "others" ave to deal with. Thanks for joining in P1ke, hopefully this can turn into an interest for us all to go to to blow off steam about the important issues. Lash
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@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
18 Sep 11
Hi P1ke, it is true that the waged always seem to think they are better than the unwaged, just as people think themselves better than others just because they have more money than them. The trouble is that they do not seem the social damage of abandoning people until it is too late. The recent riots in London and other cities is an indication of that. I suspect that if they do not try to fix that problem then it will just get worse.
1 person likes this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
18 Sep 11
I am very liberal minded as well but I have no sympathy for those rioters. I felt very sorry for the people who lost homes and for the poor man they killed. There is no way they can justify such actions. It is a sad comment on the way our society is going.
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
17 Sep 11
Well...if there was a way for people to rise above their class...the super elite would not have as much power as they do. Our welfare system here is not made for people to escape it. There are people that rise above and get out but it becomes harder all the time for them. The retirees are the ones that have suffered the most. They have cut their benefits to almost nothing. There are people that have to spend almost their entire check each month on their medications. It is crazy. I have no idea how people are making it sometimes. I will tell you that there are alot of elderly people suffering here right now. This is a trip...there are some banks here that are capitializing on their suffering too. They are offering what is called a Reverse Mortgage on their homes. These people who need so badly are getting payments each month on their homes. When they pass...the property becomes the bank's. I could go on forever about the welfare system here. My most recent irritation is government provided cellphones.
2 people like this
• Australia
17 Sep 11
Indeed, but those in the lucky class have enormous vested interest in keeping the underclass, for both economic and self-image reasons. I worry about how long it is going to be before the underclass is big enough and desperate enough to become a danger to peace and stability. One can hardly blame them considering that their situation is created by and sustained by the very people who are supposed to be looking after their interests as citizens - their governments. Lash
1 person likes this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
17 Sep 11
Yes in many cases it is also greed. Not all the rich, but some of them seem to hate parting with any of their money. I am totally astonished at the lack of tax that the multi millionaires in the US pay. It seems over there that the more money they make the less tax they pay which is why the country cannot pay its bills. Instead they blame the economic collapse on the victims, the unemployed, and blame any money given to them for any reason is what is bankrupting the country. The people on the right who want to return to low or no government, also known as anarchy, seem to believe that if you cannot survive without assistance then you have no right to exist. They seem to forget that they rely on the poor to supply all their cheep labour which helps keep them rich. If all these people were left to die and they did die rather than revolt, then where would they get their cheep employees from? These people depend on others living in poverty to fund their wealth.
1 person likes this
• Australia
17 Sep 11
The odd thing is the number of people who do this who themselves are clearly not wealthy, so although I would agree that greed is a part of it, I suspect that is more of a symptom than a cause. The desire for small/no government is part of the fundamentalist zealotry, though, part of that out-of-control individualism (which is quite distinct from individuality) that infects so much of conservative polemic, particularly in America. Lash
1 person likes this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
17 Sep 11
I have noticed that some people who are not wealthy share this view but I wonder how many really poor people would refuse welfare on the grounds that it was a bad thing. Many Americans would be outraged if you took their medical insurance away and yet some see that as a form of welfare, that is the medicaid as opposed to private insurance.
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@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
17 Sep 11
The provided medical insurance here is seen as welfare. I guess the reason is because tax money provides it for low income while middle class and above have to pay high premiums and some are barely covered. It has also been moved in block grants to different states for the states to govern how and who gets it. Welfare is like that too. They choose from the block grant what is used for "medicaid" or Tenncare in the case here and what is used for roads and schools. Our census provides the government with how many people per state but the problem with that is it does not reflect in an entirety the people actually in the state. There are immigrants that don't file. That wouldn't be a huge problem except for the fact that they are in our school systems and getting benefits from the block grants. Oh it's a tangled web. Anyway..I am rambling..sorry...lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Sep 11
i dont think there should be any social security or such that is just another of the governments ways of getting into our personal life and controling us i would rather everyone just live relying on themselves not the government for social security to help them live it would be a much cheaper way to live peoples life if you could think back with me to how it used to be back 40 and 50 years ago when they didnt have social security and the government was no so involved with peoples lives those people got along just fine people now a days are going downhill i think we should all just go back to how things were back then
• Australia
18 Sep 11
40 - 50 years ago there was full employment and job security, and business owners tended to care about their staff. 40 - 50 years ago there was still some degree of extended family, which took the place of much of today's help. Not so now, and only someone completely out of touch with modern realities could possibly take a stance like yours. The clock never rewinds. Lash
1 person likes this
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
18 Sep 11
We did have social security 40 or 50 years ago. What you are suggesting is that people have the right to starve and be homeless if they cannot find enough work to feed and house themselves and that people who are ill and can no longer take care of themselves should just be abandoned because they are no longer able to work. In Australia we have a disability pension for people like this. It is not much but it is enough to give them some dignity and support. I could never support abandoning them to their fate. The only people who can survive in this situation are the rich, everyone else needs help.
• Australia
25 Sep 11
It's surprising how often since I came up with this exception as rule theory it's poked its ugly little head into other discussions, particulalrly in politics and religion. I might be onto something here, maybe write a paper on it lol. Lash