“Nyet” To NEETs: A New Approach To Welfare-Bludging Scum

THE LEFT’S insistence — with its vested political interest in addicting lazy people to welfare — that all claimants of unemployment benefits are legitimate, or that it’s “disrespectful” to question them, has been torpedoed by an explosive feature in Murdoch titles; they insist it’s too expensive to prosecute rorts, or that enforcement costs would outweigh monies paid. Here’s a radical idea: let bludgers who won’t work claim welfare. But there’s a catch.

Some will argue that picking on two silly, young, and indisputably bone-lazy girls is mean, cruel, or — God forbid — unfair.

But like snakes, rodents or other vermin, where there are some, there are usually more.

Before I raced out the door this morning, I caught an article in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph (and republished across the metropolitan Murdoch mastheads) that has had me simmering with anger for most of the day; returning to my desk tonight I see the Tele has also editorialised on the story of two self-entitled examples of an army of lazy, self-indulgent bludgers.

LAZY, USELESS AND CONTEMPTIBLE…Ashleigh Whiting, 21, and Amy Arman, 17, whose attitude toward hard-working taxpayers who fund their dole-bludging existence is tantamount to wiping their backsides on them. (Picture: the Daily Telegraph)

It’s about time Australia confronted reality — and the army of insidious socialist activists who slap down dissidents with abuse and lawsuits — and accepted that a huge problem exists where the so-called “age of entitlement” is concerned; based on a study quoted in the Tele that was compiled from federal government figures, that age seems to fall between 15 and 29, and the number of its cohort appears to be increasing.

So-called NEETs — young people “not in education, employment or training” — are a double-edged sword; it has long been known, and shown, that school leavers and recent graduates are among those who find it hardest to secure work, and the recent OECD Investing in Youth report found 580,000 Australians in the 15 to 29 age bracket are NEETs: an increase of 100,000 in eight years.

It found 41% of those want a job and are actively looking for one, and we have absolutely no quarrel with those people (or their claims upon the welfare budget) whatsoever.

But it also found 40% (or more than 220,000 young Australians) were “inactive and unwilling to work,” and — in what is either a cake-and-eat-it-too formulation or simply something they think will pull the wool over reasonable people’s eyes — another 19% claimed they wanted a job but weren’t looking for one.

At various times over the years, this column has proposed entirely reasonable measures to help unemployed people (and particularly, young Australians starting out) that will, more to the point, do something about the shameful fact that 40% of all government expenditure is allocated to welfare payments and the attendant culture of entitlement that sees too many undeserving people erroneously think that not only does society owe them for their existence, but that taxpayers should be obliged to bankroll their indolence.

The latest idea — or, more particularly, the latest variant of an ongoing idea — that I have been discussing around the traps has been the concept of a two-year period of compulsory national service, an indenture that carries with it the ability to complete a fast-tracked apprenticeship in carpentry, plumbing, electrics, or some other essential trade in which Australia is facing a chronic shortage.

The thinking is that school leavers can go straight to the armed forces or the emergency services and acquire state of the art, on the job training, and emerge not only with a qualification they can use throughout their lives but also with two years of regular employment, the discipline it confers, and the remunerative benefits that accompany it behind them.

Predictably, those of a more conservative bent I have spoken to think the idea is workable, even if it needs tweaking; those of a more leftward inclination think forcing people to work (never mind if they are wilfully unproductive charges upon the state or not) is an unbridled outrage that should be likened to Nazism and Fascism.

Yes, there are those who cannot work — those who, by dint of psychiatric or physical injury are unsuitable for regular employment — and I have never advocated forcing this group off welfare if they don’t work.

But for the hundreds of thousands who simply refuse, it has long been the position of this column that their refusal should be met with the termination of their eligibility for welfare payments altogether: and whilst this may seem harsh, it reciprocates the action of the bludger who refuses to engage with the contract of mutual obligation that exists between the society and the individual.

I have, however, had another idea. More on that shortly.

Those readers who peruse the articles I have linked today from the Tele will learn the incendiary stories of Ashley Whiting and Amy Arman (pictured, above), who make few bones about the fact they are prepared to “work” only if it demands little or nothing from them, and only if they are nevertheless paid.

Statements that they will “never get a job” and the admission they wouldn’t know how hard it is to get a job because they don’t try are not the sentiments of people who are serious about taking responsibility for their lives.

The complaint of a student that she doesn’t get paid for attending classes would be ridiculous were it not so frightening in terms of the mentality it highlights among some sections of Australian youth.

Whilst these girls no doubt indeed enjoy “chilling at Maccas (sic),” bush-bashing in their old Barina or having Centrelink cover their rent for them, the hard reality is that “Centrelink” isn’t paying — every hardworking family and business that pays tax is footing the bill.

As I have repeatedly insisted in this column, there is no such thing as “government money.”

Accordingly, it is simply unacceptable that the rest of us should be expected to support people like this pair who flatly refuse to get off their arses to help themselves: and as I said at the outset, where there are some — just like an infestation of vermin — when it comes to welfare bludgers, there are invariably others.

This latest report suggests upwards of 350,000 people under 30 have deliberately elected to live off the taxpayer; it is a situation that is just wrong, and cannot be tolerated: a point compounded by the fact that some in Australia complain that Indian and Chinese migrants who pack supermarket shelves, staff petrol stations and clean buildings are “taking our jobs” when those jobs are given to foreign workers for the damning reason that Australians turn their noses up at them.

So what do we do?

Orthodox conservative positions have historically centred on making compliance with the requirements to receive unemployment benefits so onerous as to force the bludgers off the dole and into a job to avoid them; certainly, taxpayer-funded training programs and vocational schemes such as Work for the Dole ostensibly have merit. But in reality, none of this has made a shred of difference.

The Left offers no such obstacles, other than the requirement to fill in forms claiming to have applied for jobs and a means test so tight that you have to be just about on Skid Row to qualify. If you have worked for many years and find yourself out of work, Labor’s regime basically requires you to fritter away everything you have ever saved and earned to qualify for the pittance that is the dole. But for those who have never been bothered to work in the first place, such concerns are irrelevant.

And it remains the case that as meagre as the dole is (I believe about $590 per fortnight at present, including the maximum amount of the bits and pieces that can be added to it), three or four recipients can pool their resources to run a modest household in a very modest rental property (replete with a beaten-up Barina if desired) on about $5,000 per month between them.

Maybe the solution isn’t to kick them off the public purse at all — with the feigned outrage of the Left this would entail — but to leave them on it.

Maybe the solution is to give Newstart and Job Search Allowance applicants the option to declare themselves “unwilling to work” — and to create a special category of benefit for them.

Maybe if they’re paid 50% of the rate received by actual job seekers, this would kill off the “grievance” that they’re better off on welfare than in a job, whilst avoiding the predictable ranting from pinkos that evil Tories are booting people off welfare and into poverty.

After all, claimants would declare themselves unwilling to work. Nobody would force them.

And maybe the savings could be reinvested in higher benefits for those who are actually serious about working as soon as they can nail a job of any description: people who work have obligations that continue even after their last job ended. As an emergency measure, today’s dole payment is of next to no use with essential basic expenses, let alone other obligations that may not be easily abandoned or postponed.

Those savings, if even half of the 350,000-ish who clearly can’t be bothered are honest about it, would be in the order of four or five billion dollars each year: nothing to be sniffed at in a budget context, either, at a time Australia is running $50bn annual deficits.

With half their payment disappearing overnight as the price for getting the rest of the world off their backs, lazy vermin like Ashleigh, Amy, and their hundreds of thousands of fellow travellers might actually get the message that if they want more from life, the answer isn’t to bludge off the hard worker — but to get off their own arses and to do something for themselves.

The world doesn’t owe anybody, and it owes less to the able but unwilling than it does to anyone else.

Making them jump through hoops, threatening to cut them off and showering them with more of the same hasn’t worked.

Perhaps the ticket is to halve the amount these leeches are paid — and, quite literally, to starve them onto the job market.

And really, anyone who feels sympathy for these self-inflicted disaster stories is not quite right in the head.



9 thoughts on ““Nyet” To NEETs: A New Approach To Welfare-Bludging Scum

  1. To some my solution to the problem of NEETS may be ludicrous, to others (the minority) it is brilliant. The solution is in two parts.
    Part 1)
    No person may claim any form of welfare until the claimant has paid tax for a minimum of two years, verified by the ATO.
    Part 2)
    (1) After ATO verification a NewStart claimant may be entitled to receive FULL NewStart payments for a maximum of 90 calendar days.
    (2) After 90 days on full payments the payment reduces to HALF for 90 calendar days.
    (3) After 90 days on half the payment reduces to QUARTER for 90 calendar days.
    (4) After the 270 (3×90) calendar day period NO payments are made for rest of the year (95 days).

    The only people who will complain, and bitterly, are the bludgers, the Labor Party, the Greens and unions.

  2. When National Service schemes have been proposed previously, as a means to get the young & others reprogrammed/educated to work, the Government of the day has stated that the financial cost to the public purse would be in the extreme range and the return on that investment, after known costs were subtracted, would be negligible. Whether that was a genuine reason or not will never be known by us people in the street. Despite the best assurance by government, people will be extremely sceptical as to the true reason behind implementing such a scheme, especially when previous “conscription” was only introduced in times of conflict. The Labor Party & the anti everything party – The Greens would be the loudest voices against the proposal!

    Our friend “Muphin’s ” scheme is nothing new, the Yanks have had a similar scheme running for years. I believe that when people in America fall off the timetable their only recourse is to live on the streets, squat in vacant buildings, tunnels and whatever weather proof structures that they can find. Of course they also have to find ways to keep themselves fed & clothed, not to mention health issues!

    I agree with you Yale, your scheme does have merit but will need a lot of tweaking to gain acceptance by enough politicians, in both houses, to have the Bill passed & of course acceptance by the public. You still have to convince the government of the day to take it on board. 350000 plus persons under 30 years of age is a reasonable chunk of voters who could influence electoral outcomes !!!!!!!

    Drug testing of welfare recipients would be a good move – test positive – no welfare.

  3. The usual vitriolic diatribe with the usual solutions – make them join the army, cut their welfare, if they won’t work they get nothing. A society is judged on how it treats its most disadvantaged, what if the appropriate rate of tax wss paid by companies and the wealthy rather than bashing the underprivileged – too hot to handle for the current apology for a government of course.

    • Oh? This isn’t a case of “the disadvantaged” but the entitled, the bone lazy, and those hellbent on taking the piss at the expense of someone else.

      The article makes the explicit point that those genuinely unable to work should not be punished but as usual, you have elected to ignore these details.

      It is muich easier to engage in a socialist rant against invented dreadful people who simply believe (with considerable community agreement) that this culture of indolence and apathy must be stamped out.

      Maybe if you think the Ashleighs and Amys of this world deserve to refuse to get off their backsides, despite no valid reason for doing so and without any legitimising reason to be treated differently, you should cover the cost of their payments yourself. You’d change your tune very bloody quickly, methinks.

    • John, to me, there are two issues here — and thank you for the link. Unless it is blatant pro-Left politicking (which this, of course, is not) I am always happy for other sides of an issue to be canvassed.

      One the one hand is the issue of Amy and her father’s defence of her: there is no refutation of the quotes the Tele published from her, including her indication she had applied for the dole, and particularly the point that she gets “paid nothing, so why would she rock up?” Had this been erroneous, legal proceedings would likely have been initiated and had they been, the Guardian would have broadcast that fact with glee. It didn’t.

      Further, the father acknowledges his daughter is “not totally innocent,” and the approach that “she made the whole thing up” for five minutes of fame — if correct — should teach young Amy a very valuable lesson: bullshitting will backfire on you sooner or later (and probably sooner rather than later) and if that particular story is correct, then it has backfired on her. I’m prepared to take an open-minded view as far as Amy is concerned, although the defence offered by both herself and her father has a tangibly implausible odour about it. Let’s see what — if anything — develops on that front.

      But on the other hand, the wider issue remains: why should hundreds of thousands of kids be permitted to refuse to look for work if they are receiving benefits? It should be pointed out that this column has never advocated removing or reducing benefits for the genuinely sick, needy or disabled, and suggestions by other commenters that my views are somehow motivated by ambit nastiness are shameful. But I do not regard it as being in any way inappropriate or unreasonable to expect that if you are able to take welfare money and there is nothing wrong with you then you can find a job and take it if you find one and in this sense, I stand by my comments completely.

      In fact, the suggestion that those who simply want to bludge off society — and there will always be some, no matter how much “seeing the good in people” or rose-coloured naivety is involved — might be given the opportunity to simply say so in return for a reduced welfare payment would prevent them being kicked off altogether, as well as saving a truckload in costs relating to investigation and enforcement that are usually held up by the Left as reasons to let them carry on however they like.

      Perhaps I am old-fashioned; perhaps it’s the Scottish Presbyterian in me, but in my view welfare is a) a last, last, last resort, b) a privilege, c) something that isn’t a substitute for work, d) two-tenths of diddlysquat as a means of individual sustenance, but a multi-billion dollar overall expenditure item that is expensive enough without freeloaders making it cost more than it should, and e) something that should (the reduced payments idea I have floated notwithstanding) be withdrawn from those who refuse to help themselves if they are able to do so.

      I would also add that I personally find the concept of welfare to be anathema insofar as being on it at all is a rank embarrassment — and I simply don’t comprehend why other functional people of any age would view it differently.

      Everyone knows the job market is tight and everyone knows it’s especially hard for younger people to find work. Those facts are no excuse for failing to do so — and they most certainly aren’t a licence to subsist at the expense of the taxpayer with nothing offered or given, in the form of taking some personal responsibility, in return.

        • People really do need to stop thinking in absolutes. It’s not a case of “Everyone’s a dole bludger” V “Dole bludgers are a myth”, frankly both arguments are stupid.

          Yes, there are dole bludgers, we have families who haven’t held a job in generations, we have rorters caught for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and yes, there are those who have no intention of working. On the other hand there are huge numbers who desperately want to work and the jobs simply are not there.

          The Newscorp article (and BTW news dot com is the left wing of the Murdoch stable. The relative success of the Murdoch group is because they publish many sides of an argument and not just one like Fairfax) claims that “Half of all unemployed people find a job within 10 weeks.” yet provides no source for the figure. I’m willing to call “highly doubtful” on it simply because of the numbers.

          Some 90% of jobs filled each month are by people changing jobs and therefore has zero effect on the “unemployed” figure. So if a month has 50,000 vacancies advertised then some 45,000 will be filled by people already in a job and 5,000 from the unemployed pool. This is just the way it is and has been so for decades. On that basis it’s very hard to see how 400,000 turn over every 10 weeks in the unemployed sector.

          The simple fact is this. We can retrain all we want, we can introduce National Service, we can do anything we bloody well want BUT, unless we create 800,000 jobs it will make zero difference at the other end. If we took ALL unemployed and put them through National Service, fantastic, zero unemployed what a winner. Of course, in two years time they all come out and we have 800,000 unemployed again. Without massive job creation all any of these plans do is move the problem a few years down the track, they don’t solve the problem at all.

          And if we do create the 800,000 jobs then the problems solve themselves. No longer are we paying the huge welfare bill (a double win, we aren’t paying the welfare and those who were on welfare are now paying tax) AND the “dole bludgers are easy to spot because there is no crowd for them to hide in. 😉

          Many of the problems, from national finances to individual depression will disappear.

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