Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

My comment at "Oh what now!"

Excellent post by the Filthy Engineer here:

My comment reproduced below.

I always like a rant about the non-workers and your is a good one.

However, I like to dig a bit deeper into the causes and the Chawners are not the cause of their lifestyle. Ranting at them is missing your target - the system.

Deming taught us that environment drives behaviour and it is the management who set the environment. In this case for management read government, and I don't just mean this one; Maggie and Major were at it too.

There is now a welfare state that pays people not to work. If they are of low skill, their earning ability is low - picking corn as you say. Benefits are set at a level such that the low paid can make almost the same not working as working, and if you include costs of working, such as travel, not working may pay more. 

You can moan about the Chawners' lack of morals or criminal laziness, but how little would you get out of bed for? 50p an hour, 25p an hour? That is what we are asking the Chawners to do. For that is the difference in take home pay that minimum wage work can be worth, thanks to the design of the benefit system. Add in the fact that low paid work is often seasonal, part-time, short-term or of unpredictable availability, which the benefit system handles poorly, it is no wonder millions chose life on the dole. Once there, of course, we pay them extra to have more children, like Karen Matthews. And to top that, to massage the figures many are moved to incapacity so they aren't "unemployed" and they get more money! 

If they want to raise their std of living; a little participation in the black economy goes much farther than being a good, legal worker.

Its all here: in the DWP Tax and benefit tables. 

Yup, a govt publication which outlines the take home worth of working. 85% withdrawal rate is common (you keep 15% of what you earn) sometimes it is in excess of 100%, especially when you add in other benefits like free school meals, free prescriptions etc.

You aren't going to get the Chawners off their sofa by pointing out the moral status of their lifestyle. Let them keep more of their income and they might think it is worth it.

Oh and immigrants - simple. They can't sign on, so their withdrawal rate is zero. They keep all the money they earn, so they are motivated to work for it.

MY answer to this is a citizen's income, set at a rate that is too low to live on comfortably, but enough to ensure a basic std of living. Anybody could then improve their lot by doing a little work, for a little pay, which they would get to keep.

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