Young Turks Show that Welfare Does Not Make People Lazy

Okay, this is another video from The Young Turks news programme. I thought this one was well worth posting up, as it tackles and disproves the right-wing, Conservative assertion that welfare payments make people lazy. Presented by John Iadarola, the show presents the findings by Harvard and MIT of a study of the effect of cash transfer programmes in seven countries. This shows that by and large such payments do not affect how hard people work.

In fact, they may even encourage people to work harder. Two of the studies were of programmes in African countries, in which the recipients were paid while learning new employment skills. In both of these programmes, the recipients worked even harder than before. This included a programme in Uganda, in which women were taught basic business skills. This resulted in the women working 61 per cent harder.

The programme also mentions the effect of a welfare programme in Canada, in which a whole town was guaranteed a basic income through ‘negative income tax’. Despite having a fixed income, everyone continued to work as hard as before. The only exceptions were new mothers, who chose to spend more time with their newborns, and teenagers. Iadarola points out that both of these are probably beneficial. Certainly for the babies, and also for teenagers, who could use that time to study for college. Here’s the programme.

Now I realise that this applies only to welfare payments made to people, who are already working. But nevertheless, this is a powerful blow against the Tory and Republican ideology that claims that welfare makes people lazy. The whole of New Labour/ Conservative welfare policy is based on this idea. After all, the Tories introduced their harsh requirements for the unemployed to spend all their time looking for work on the grounds that if they didn’t, those poor, hard-working people on whose behalf the Conservatives so despise the unemployed, would be upset by having to see their closed curtains in the morning as they all had a long lie-in.

And then there’s IDS’ plan to cut benefits made to people in poorly-paid jobs, and give them a ‘job coach’ to encourage them to go for better paid work. That’s scuppered by this finding as well.

And you can imagine heads at the Daily Heil exploding over the news about the Canadian town, whose new mothers were able to spend more time with their babies due to the government granting them a fixed income. Since forever and a day it seems the Mail and other right-wing rags have been criticising women for daring to go to work, rather than staying at home to look after their children. This is part of the paper’s general anti-feminist bias. Now they should be delighted that, if women are given a guaranteed income, more of them will take time off to care for their children. But as it involves people being given money by the state – ordinary people, that is, not hard-working multi-millionaires like Viscount Rothermere – you can feel their hackles rising from here. The paper and its proprietor clearly believe that only the rich should be allowed to avoid paying tax. It’s why Lord Rothermere is another one whose non-dom, despite having lived all his life in the UK. And as for women taking time off work, rather than leaving work altogether, they really resent that, as it means that firms have to pay them for not working, as well as keep their jobs open and find someone else to do the job while they’re off lazing about, not having sleepless nights feeding their baby, changing nappies and cleaning infantile vomit off of everything.

I was told by a friend of mine with a background in economics and finance that a number of European parties, like the German Social Democrats, have advocated policy of a national wage – a payment everyone gets in order for them to live, and live decently. The experiment by the Canadians seems to show that it’s a good idea.

Which means that this is one finding you definitely won’t see published in the press.

And the study as a whole definitively shows that when IDS, Osbo and the rest of the carrion-eaters over at Tory HQ start going on about how lazy the unemployed or low paid are, they really don’t know what they’re talking about.

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6 Responses to “Young Turks Show that Welfare Does Not Make People Lazy”

  1. The Porcelain Doll Says:

    Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.

  2. Young Turks Show that Welfare Does Not Make People Lazy | Beastrabban’s Weblog | sdbast Says:

    […]… […]

  3. stilloaks Says:

    Reblogged this on DWPExamination..

  4. joanna may Says:

    Whenever I have brought up the subject, I have been asked where would the money come from? This the same person who knows that I have had a childhood from hell including nearly being starved to death twice, once when I was 4 yrs and by the thatcher government when I was 16 even though I was on YTS, anyway she suggested that I get life insurance because she doesn’t want her taxes paying for my funeral, no insurance company would take me anyway because I have attempted suicide when I was 15. What is negative taxes?

    • beastrabban Says:

      That’s a really shocking comment for that person to say, Joanna! As for that person saying that you should get life insurance, because she didn’t want her taxes paying for your funeral – well, she doesn’t really get a choice in it. People who really can’t pay for a funeral, or who don’t have anybody to arrange it for them, have one done at the expense of the state. I think its actually performed by the department of health. One of my cousins used to work as an undertaker. He told me that such funerals were exactly like ordinary funerals for those, who could afford them. They were just performed in the early morning.

      Also, when I used to work for the Benefits Agency twenty years ago, I used to work on the funeral payments. The state would pay for the funerals of those, who could not afford to pay for them. What used to happen is that the relatives or friends of the deceased would go to the undertakers and arrange the funeral as normal, and the Agency would go through the funeral expenses noting what they would pay for. At the time, the state would pay for the hearse and one following limousine, the death certificate, an inexpensive casket – not the cheapest – and the wreath. I think they also paid for the burial fees and the plot. I don’t know what the system is like now. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bliar, Broon, Cameron and Osbo had swept all this away on the grounds that feckless, improvident proles shouldn’t have the money spent on them. But that’s how it was.

      So, the woman, who said all this to you can’t stop you getting your funeral paid for by the state, if you can’t afford it. Not that I hope you ever will. I’m sure you’ve got a long and good life ahead of you, despite what anyone else says 🙂

      As for trying to commit suicide when you were fifteen, that’s terrible. But I know several people, who did try, and mercifully failed, to take their lives when they about that age. I don’t know about their financial affairs, but thinking back I don’t think they would have been unduly affected.

      And unfortunately, there are a growing number of teenagers like you. I heard a report the other night on the news about the massive growth in depression amongst schoolchildren, including thoughts of suicide.

      Absolutely horrific! You can’t put it all down to the government, but a fair chunk of it is their fault. Successive governments have piled pressure after pressure on schoolchildren to achieve, until many are at breaking point.

      And it’s not just schoolchildren. A few years ago when I was at Uni I did a short course to train to be a lecturer. We were taught on the course that the incidence of depression in undergraduates is at 25 per cent. One quarter of all undergraduates at Uni therefore are going to suffer from it and need treatment. And that was under Bliar and Broon. I think it’s probably gone up since then.

      It’s appalling how this country is treating its schoolchildren and university students. Except for the favoured few like Cameron and Boris, who can afford to have a whiz time at Uni, getting drunk and smashing up restaurants. This is, I gather, one of the whizzo wheezes of the Bullingdon Club. Quite apart from that story about Cameron inserting himself in the porker. It seems to have been pretty good for them. For the rest, it’s hard slog with no guarantee of a job at the end, and a pile of student debt.

      To go on to your question, I’ve no idea what ‘negative income tax’ is. Presumably it’s like ordinary income tax, just reverse. The state looks at how much you’re earning, and instead of deducting tax, starts giving money to you instead. I don’t know how it’s calculated, or how the system worked, so that’s the best answer I can give you.

  5. joanna may Says:

    Thank you, I can unfortunately put a lot onto at least local authority, when I was 10 yrs, because I was in care (always children’s homes) I was taken away from all my friends and put into a special school, I had the reading age of a 13yr old, I was there for 3 years before being moved back to a mainstream school where I once again made some good friends. At the “nut” place I dissociated from everyone, I felt like I was constantly being punished for something I didn’t do. I had lost 3 years of important education, I didn’t even know what the word Physics meant and I thought that the menopause was part of the birthing process. That aside the reason I tried to kill myself when I was 15 is because of a hugely traumatic event at the hands of my mother’s husband on Xmas day when I was 14
    I left care at 16 without any criminal record, and I still don’t, even whilst I was starving for 2yrs it never once occurred to me to steal, and I didn’t know if there was ever any food banks. I also never had any drug or alcohol problems as I didn’t touch them. A lifetime walking on eggshells is very exhausting!! But bright I am starting a new voluntary job on Tuesday with Dove House Hospice, I picked them because they don’t workfare which I completely disagree with!!!

    If the government want people to experience getting a wage, why don’t they put people on placements doing something they can do and paying them a full wage for between 1-6 months and if someone doesn’t turn up for work then they can be docked wages. They also need to look at the terminology they use, such as sanctions, which is really punishment! It is completely appalling that a criminal can get food heating and all basic amenities of life yet if you are a law abiding citizen then you can be subject to torture (being hungry is the worst pain ever and it is torture)!! and an unofficial death penalty or at least a degradation that should not exist in the 21st century!!

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