By: Mike Hosking | Wednesday, May 09, 2012
What’s to be outraged about? That was the headline, “outrage" over the Government’s contraception plan.
We dealt with this yesterday but there is apparently outrage over the free contraception for those on welfare. “It’s the state going too far” is the argument. How can the state go too far when the whole thing is voluntary? The state is offering help. The state is giving some people something for nothing. The Government for every person who became pregnant when they didn't want to because they weren’t on some sort of birth control is solving a problem. Since when did free help become an outrage?
I wonder if those who get so agitated in this area are pre-programmed to react this way, that all common sense goes out the door and they just fly off the handle. Because if it’s got to do with beneficiaries then it must be bad, so we need to be outraged.
Sue Bradford talked yesterday on the show of raising our kids. Well surely if you’re young, jobless and get caught pregnant when you weren’t expecting to be, then raising that child becomes increasingly difficult.
There is no automatic stigma in raising kids as a welfare recipient but simple facts and common maths might well lead you to the conclusion that you’d start a bit behind the eight ball - certainly financially, maybe socially. And if things are stacked against you then it doesn’t take a lot for things to come of the rails.
Then you get to the relationship between the state and the recipient. If the taxpayer funds your income, then the state as the administrator of the taxpayers’ funds has certain rights about how much is handed out and what it’s spent on and how long it continues.
This is where the whole welfare debate gets emotive. Some countries impose time limits on welfare, some hand out stamps to make sure the money is spent on food and not booze. So there is always a tension between how much is too much or how much isn’t enough. There would be few who could argue that the welfare state in this country hasn’t been historically more than generous. As a result we have built a culture of welfare reliance that at last is being addressed, but it’s nothing earth shattering.
Expecting jobless, out of school 16-year-olds to actually work or study instead of getting money for nothing isn’t radical. Expecting solo parents to look for work when their child isn’t even home but at school isn’t radical. And offering free healthcare to prevent a life changing and potentially shattering event like an unwanted or unexpected pregnancy isn’t only not radical, it’s a good idea.
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