I thought a thread on welfare might be interesting, given the diverse views on the hijacked different travel costs thread.
Jono, e.g., feels people on any form of welfare are on the whole undeserving and should be able to provide for themselves. (Jono, obviously you will correct me if I've misinterpreted your comments.)
Is this at least partly true? Do we make it just too easy for people not to take responsibility for their own outcomes?
Personally, I don't really think so, as payment levels of welfare are poverty level incomes. I have no idea, for example, how an adult on unemployment benefit of about $220 p.w. manages, given it would be difficult to find rental accommodation for that, before you pay for all other expenses.
On the other hand, I've seen plenty of single parents with multiple children whose weekly income is considerably more than some working people who are paying the taxes that support these welfare recipients. That, plus the baby bonus, would seem to encourage some young women to keep on procreating. I can remember speaking with one woman who had six children.
The eldest was about to turn 16, at which stage she would no longer receive a benefit for that child. She found that unacceptable so happily announced she would get pregnant again to keep the budget in the black. I'm not suggesting such an attitude is by any means common.
Then there is subsidised child care. One view of this is that if we expect mothers to work, then we need to provide the environment for them to access cheap child care.
A different view would be that if you are going to have children, then it should be up to you to provide for them.
Then I gather we are about to have several months of maternity leave (or paternity leave if that's what you want), taxpayer funded. Is this justified?
The age pension: should we expect this to continue? Should compulsory contributions percentage be increased to the level where this can be phased out, except for those who have never been able to work?
Some of you will have other situations that I haven't described.