Some thoughts on cashless welfare

Jeremy Sammut has a provocative article in [email protected] this week on cashless welfare.

It’s a libertarian fantasy that the problem of welfare dependence can be addressed without using the power of the state to compel responsible personal behaviour.

State compulsion, for example, is essential to enforce mutual obligation requirements and force the unemployed to actively seek a job, instead of continuing to loaf on the dole.

Demonstrating that welfare recipients were better off getting cash than, say, food stamps used to be a stock standard exam question in second year microeconomics. So the notion of cashless welfare does jar at the ideological libertarian level and at the being an economist level.

So while it does make me very uncomfortable – I suspect Jeremy is right, but perhaps for different reasons.

We make two assumptions in the standard analysis that require more thought. We assume that people best understand their own self-interest and that they make good decisions in pursuing their self-interest.  But we also know that many people (not all) on welfare make bad decisions.  That does suggest some role for paternalism, but it isn’t clear to me how much paternalism is justified, and at which margins it should applied. Further to whom should it be applied?

So we should keep an open mind on the cashless welfare card, but more importantly refine our thinking and understanding as to how best it can operate.

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57 Responses to Some thoughts on cashless welfare

  1. RobK

    ” We assume that people best understand their own self-interest and that they make good decisions in pursuing their self-interest. “
    It’s a tricky thing, a .number,(not all) of recipients have issues such as various mental or physical health or other social problems. It’s a question of what is more efficient. Is it cheaper to issue a card? (i expect it is). The recipient will need to make some allowance of privacy and even put up with some scrutiny.

  2. I suspect neither Jeremy nor The Doomlord has ever worked in the black economy.
    LOOK, most people cheating on welfare aren’t the ones surfing all day at Byron Bay. Most welfare cheats are people who also earn an income in the black economy and most of these people are from the immigrant community.
    An immigrant shopkeeper or tradesman employs another compatriot for cash payments. That compatriot claims disability pension from Centrelink. That’s how it works.
    The immigrant employer is confidant that his cash receiving employee isn’t going to turn on him at a later date because….well because they are compatriots who both arrived in this country for that very purpose…..to live off of the weak, stupid, idiotic, moronic, gullible, fuckwit local Australians.

  3. C.L.

    The more complex and entrenched this problem, the more I wonder if the very notion of an economy without substantial unemployment (and therefore welfare) is a fantastic idyll. In the late nineteenth century, almost all adult male workers were employed in manufacturing or rural labour of various kinds. Technology and the ever-whitening of collars (office work, government employment and service sector jobs) means that a sizable proportion of adults – lacking education and saleable white collar polish – can no longer find and sustain career employment of any substantive kind. We should also remember that a huge proportion of people in employment in Australia are not unlike welfare recipients inasmuch as they draw the entirety of their lifetime’s salaries from the state doing jobs of questionable use or productivity. Maybe we should pay public servants with food stamps.

  4. Sinclair Davidson

    Maybe we should pay public servants with food stamps.

    That’s isn’t as outlandish as many might think.

    It is easy to imagine a future world where very Orwellian outcomes are possible and the government restricts access to “sin” goods.

  5. JC

    Sinclair

    I don’t believe one should craft the paternalism argument in the way you have done with this issue…. that is it’s considered paternalism to restrict the use of welfare payments.

    The state or anyone else for that matter has a right to decide how dolled out money is going to be spent. If you don’t like it, then try harder at getting a job – any job.

  6. Empire

    Maybe we should pay public servants with food stamps.

    That’s isn’t as outlandish as many might think.

    It is easy to imagine a future world where very Orwellian outcomes are possible and the government restricts access to “sin” goods.

    🙂

  7. JC

    The more complex and entrenched this problem, the more I wonder if the very notion of an economy without substantial unemployment (and therefore welfare) is a fantastic idyll.

    Can you elaborate on this?

  8. RobK

    A dedicated card would keep scrutiny confined to the public support money. If it’s directed into the recipients bank account there can be no scrutiny or its a larger impost on their privacy.

  9. JC

    I don’t think Jeremy is explaining or understanding the issue in reference to where cash or cashless welfare lies on the politics spectrum.

    I think one could strongly argue that a cashless welfare system is much closer to libertarian ideals than the alternative without it even breaching the paternalistic argument.

    ” Here, you’re out of work, this is what you get to keep you alive in order to buy you food and clothing”.

    No paternalistic argument there.

    This fits in very well with libertarian ideals.

  10. Empire

    The state or anyone else for that matter has a right to decide how dolled out money is going to be spent. If you don’t like it, then try harder at getting a job – any job.

    Agreed, but:

    The national minimum wage is currently $18.29 per hour or $694.90 per 38 hour week (before tax).

    Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 25% casual loading.

    For award and agreement-free junior employees, the percentage scale in the Miscellaneous Award 2010 is applied to the national minimum wage.

    Denying a man the lawful right to bid his labour, at a price of his own choosing, is a crime against humanity.

  11. JC

    Denying a man the lawful right to bid his labour, at a price of his own choosing, is a crime against humanity.

    Sure it is.

  12. RobK

    A little stigma (if that’s how it’s perceived with a gov card) is overall probably a desirable thing to advertise where the support is comming from.

  13. Rabz

    Bluddee hell – not many commenters on this thread identifying the reasons this “measure” has had to be introduced.

    If you’re too lazy and/or stupid to work, the state has an obligation to placate the wage slaves being plundered to support your indolence.

    If you receive an “income” via the state, such as it is, because you’re supposedly poor, then you don’t go and spend it all on alcohol, drugs and gambling – and them come back for more (within the same fortnight), via in kind essentials doled out by charities.

    I’m sick to bloody death of the corrosive effects welfare has had on western societies post WW2.

    In any sane society, being dependent on the state should be a mark of shame.

    Individual agency, you z-grade scum. If you don’t want to be judged, then don’t give people reasons to judge you. Actions, or in these cases, inactions, have consequences.

    Having said all that, it does appear that the state has apparently obvious reasons for ensuring that a welfare dependent underclass exists. No blue collar jobs, barriers to labour market entry through absurdly high minimum wages and crazed credentialism, compounded by an education system that doesn’t educate, small business taxed and regulated up the wazoo, crackdowns on cash transactions and an ever decreasing class of “party members” taxed up the arse to fund it all – when our beloved governments aren’t borrowing trillions and embuggering us even more.

    What cannot persist will not. A reckoning is coming and hopefully it will be sooner than we think.

    Quite frankly, I’m beginning to think we deserve it.

  14. sdfc

    CL

    Technology and the ever-whitening of collars (office work, government employment and service sector jobs) means that a sizable proportion of adults – lacking education and saleable white collar polish – can no longer find and sustain career employment of any substantive kind.

    The Australian market is too small and real wages are too high to support a large manufacturing sector.

  15. It’s a libertarian fantasy that the problem of welfare dependence can be addressed without using the power of the state to compel responsible personal behaviour.

    What? I don’t know where to start unpicking this knot of assumptions and contradictions. Too hard and ultimately pointless.

    Anyway evidence on the ground is way ahead of theory in the tower. Grocery vouchers provide food for kids and adults, cash provides money for taxis and pubs.

  16. Rabz

    Apologies – that comment was actually aimed at a certain perfesser as opposed to the commenters here, who do appear to have correctly identified the reasons.

  17. Confused Old Misfit

    Jannie
    #2492520, posted on September 8, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    …this knot of assumptions and contradictions.

    The worst of which may be that the satae has any power to compel

    responsible personal behaviour.

    One wants to scream.

  18. Rabz

    sdfc, as I would have expected, you’ve ignored extortionate power/fuel prices and excessive regulation, for starters, not to mention inflexible industrial relations practices that protect indolent and incompetent employees, while hamstringing employers and placing them under constant threat of unjustified penalties.

    You truly are a dishonest, sanctimonious troll.

  19. Jimf

    No probs with the argument that welfare is meant to support basics and every disincentive to stay on it should be enacted. The poor mugs taxed to the eyeballs are owed these measures. There’s always going to be the unemployable of course, but one of the real problems is the obscene costs of employing people facing small business owners. I employ 9 people , 6 of them casual. On Sundays I pay $45 per hour under award to people serving in a retail outlet ! Yes that’s right, $45 fucking dollars per hour . This is offset somewhat by a 16 yo who gets about $16 p/hr. Little wonder no one wants to take on more staff. As long as we gold plate menial work there will be a large, and growing number of people locked out of employment .

  20. Mr Black

    Welfare should come with a mandatory work requirement. 40 hours a week, same as everyone else. If you don’t show, you don’t get paid. Useful projects can always be found and when you’re paying welfare rates for labour, it becomes very attractive. Once people realise that there is no free ride and that they have to work one way or another, things will sort themselves out very quickly.

  21. Snoopy

    The immigrant employer is confidant that his cash receiving employee isn’t going to turn on him at a later date because….well because they are compatriots who both arrived in this country for that very purpose…..to live off of the weak, stupid, idiotic, moronic, gullible, fuckwit local Australians.

    Until they are seduced by the promise of a huge payout courtesy of a class action instigated by Slugs Blackheart.

  22. sdfc

    Rabz

    sdfc, as I would have expected, you’ve ignored extortionate power/fuel prices and excessive regulation, for starters, not to mention inflexible industrial relations practices that protect indolent and incompetent employees

    All problems but they affect mainly domestic trade. Australia is a high income economy, we simply can’t compete on labour costs at current exchange rates poohead. Just what labour intensive manufacturing industry did you have in mind?

  23. PhillipW

    Surely the classic libertarian position is that there should be no welfare payments at all. There is no entitlement to welfare – it is a gift from us taxpayers and we are perfectly entitled to put whatever constraints on the payments we deem appropriate.

  24. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
    #2492469, posted on September 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Scene, my local bottle shop, not so long ago

    Characters – one screeching swampette, one middle aged self funded retiree.

    Said swampette, complaining loudly about the possible introduction of random drug testing for the unemployed.

    Self funded retiree suggested, ever so politely, that, if she didn’t like the idea, she could try working for a living and “Allow me to point out that you are, in fact, standing next to a sign that says “Staff Wanted.”

    Correction! “I wouldn’t work in a demeaning job like this, the social wage is my right, and how I spend my money is my business!”

    Posted earlier on the open thread. PhiilipW, I may suggest your solution, in future. I’ve enough money to raise bail

  25. Rabz

    None if they can’t compete, you monumental imbecile.

    I’m a believer in the concept of comparative advantage. However, free up some of the impediments I’ve mentioned above and local entrepreneurs and employers might be keen to create or expand businesses.

    The input costs in this country are obscene and the direct result of stupid government intervention. You’re a so called champion of the working class, but you support inexcusable collectivist idiocy (BIRM) that locks them out of jobs and condemns them to welfare dependency.

  26. John Constantine

    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

  27. OldOzzie

    Rabz
    #2492515, posted on September 8, 2017 at 9:39 pm
    Bluddee hell – not many commenters on this thread identifying the reasons this “measure” has had to be introduced.

    If you’re too lazy and/or stupid to work, the state has an obligation to placate the wage slaves being plundered to support your indolence.

    +1 x Millions

  28. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  29. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  30. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  31. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  32. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  33. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  34. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  35. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  36. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Indigenous people cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived the night before after 9pm and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  37. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    Everybody is on the cashless welfare card.

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services

    Because Aboriginals cannot control their drinking problems, the whole of society has to suffer.

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday, 10am to 9pm.

    When you arrived in Alice Springs the night before after 9pm, and wanted to restock before next leg of 4WD trip, had to wait till 2pm then set off into the setting sun heading down the Colson Track to the start of the Madigan – Dumb

  38. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Once they do away with cash, and electronic wallets can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services, for certain people, then….

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services,

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday,

    Because of a particular groups problem, everyone is affected.

    Arriving in Alice Springs after 9pm at night, aiming to restock for next leg of 4WD journey, we had to wait till after 2pm to get some alcohol for the next leg, meaning we set off towards setting sun to the Colson Track for the start of the Madigan Line across the Simpson – Dumb

  39. OldOzzie

    John Constantine
    #2492590, posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    can be State regulated to only open in certain shops, at certain times, for certain goods and services,

    Alice Springs. You can only buy takeaway alcohol during the following hours: from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm. on Saturday and public holidays, except Christmas Day and Good Friday,

    Because of a particular groups problem, everyone is affected.

    Arriving in Alice Springs after 9pm at night, aiming to restock for next leg of 4WD journey, we had to wait till after 2pm to get some alcohol for the next leg, meaning we set off towards setting sun to the Colson Track for the start of the Madigan Line across the Simpson – Dumb

  40. ACTOldFart

    I think Kerry Packer’s interpretation of the golden rule applies here: “I hold the gold, I make the rules”

  41. Gavin R Putland

    As long as there are more jobseekers than available jobs, the doctrine of mutual obligation boils down to the doctrine that the unemployed should be forced to try harder to take jobs from you and your kids.

    And if you’re a typical voter, you think that’s a great idea. Winston Churchill said something about that.

  42. flyingduk

    your whole piece is built on the straw man of what is in the recipients best interests. Given that public money is being used to fund welfare, the true measure is what is in the publics’ best interest.

  43. Botswana O'Hooligan

    A couple of things to think about. The government considers one to be fully employed if he/she works for an hour each week when a different branch of the same government demands that a person on the pensioner bonus scheme works at least 18-19 hours a week to be eligible. The welfare card when presented to the right person behind the counter can buy anything the heart desires, simple as that for a carton of grog or cigarettes can be sold under groceries or whatever unless each and every outlet has a government employee standing behind the till to ensure compliance. Abo communities are an excellent example.

  44. John Constantine

    Once breeding more welfare cash magnets is a lucrative proposition, and having a herd of breeders pumping out swarms of welfare cash drones makes you a Big Man, it is time to review the system.

    Big Men walking around with a fist full of welfare dockets taken from their multudinous menagerie are not as impressive as Big Men walking around with a fist full of fifties stolen from their children’s welfare dole.

  45. Jessie

    Good to read CIS referencing common-sense Gary Johns.

    Baa Humbug @8.55
    I believe Warren Mundine had the term black-cladding.

    FACT- moderate read, comments interesting
    Builders incensed over Indigenous rules for govt. jobs
    Sourced from here: NT indigenous employment program might be fraudulent as well as racist

    9/9/2017 NT News reports Scheme halt led to contract delays: Govt
    Infrastructure Minister Nicole Manison suspended the IEPS scheme after concerns were raised regarding suspected widespread fraud in the millions of dollars last month. ?what only last month?

    Will more cashless carrying welfare cardists spend at the local ‘elder-owned’ stores, enhancing the permanence of ABS populations and supporting ongoing elder control/royalties and which of their family members get employment with the added benefits at local education/child/health/store/Centrelink etc?

    In this logic, will there, with more housing (= more local employment) be less child abuse, neglect and rape? That would be all, very libertarian for the outback. Thank you.

  46. IDefender of the faith

    Compulsion and paternalism are to be resisted at all costs. We have creeping incursions that have been dressed as “consumer driven” policy that are not. Take two: savings policy and tertiary education. The sgl compels people to invest in products most people do not understand. The primary beneficiaries are the overpaid intermediaries and fund managers and the people wealthy enough to have ample savings who get unnecessary tax benefits as incentives (by which I mean it would be better to have lower overall tax rates than narrowly channelled incentives).
    Similarly taxpayers fund tertiary education systems that have zero transparency as to quality or value. Since Dawkins all we’ve had is a massive increase in the pay of university public servants with no indication that the value of their work has increased. Indeed there is little evidence that “research” spending has any value driven discipline and much evidence of nonsense. Plus we do not yet pay on perform ance for teaching outcomes.
    We should be driving consumers toward funding the choices they want from their own pockets and reduce the creep into tax and levy compulsion. A quick look at the drivers of public spending makes it clear that we are promoting ineffective and wasteful outcomes.

  47. notafan

    Isn’t this being targeted at certain Aboriginal communities where the self interest of the primary recipients is being best served but not that of their children?

    Where children are being forced to prostitute themselves for a taste of that welfare money?

    It’s daddy state’s money so let daddy state decide how it should be spent.

    Prohibiting the spending of welfare funds on ‘sin’ purchases has a long history in the US food stamp programme, there are ways around but bulk buying soda from Walmart and selling at a discount to the corner grocery to pay for your drugs, probably won’t be an easy option.

  48. Boambee John

    ID of the Faith

    Indeed, + lots.

  49. greg

    Punishing the majority (of welfare recipients) because of a minority. If it’s needed in aboriginal communities then so be it, but implementing it elsewhere is mainly an attempt to get votes from people angry at those who receive welfare. A cashless welfare card will make it more difficult for people to make their income go as far as possible by buying goods and services from wherever they are cheapest.
    What about people on welfare who have credit card debt? How will they pay that debt, and if they are able to pay that debt then what is to stop them from using that credit card because they don’t have enough cash? Will they have to declare bankruptcy?
    Some people are reliant on medication from overseas. A cashless welfare card could really frack those people up.

  50. stackja

    That does suggest some role for paternalism, but it isn’t clear to me how much paternalism is justified, and at which margins it should applied. Further to whom should it be applied?

    Some have shown an inability to handle the cash properly. Why? Seems to be a cultural problem. How do we change a particular culture that is set in sharing cash for substances and not essentials?

  51. stackja

    greg
    #2493145, posted on September 9, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    People who can’t handle cash should not be getting welfare cash.
    People with special medical needs should get cashless help.

  52. Zatara

    That does suggest some role for paternalism, but it isn’t clear to me how much paternalism is justified, and at which margins it should applied. Further to whom should it be applied?

    Providing someone’s sustenance, supplying their needs, is the primary characteristic of paternalism. If the tax payer, via the State, has taken on that role of provider then regulating conduct in exchange for that provision is the only responsible thing to do.

    We aren’t talking about earned income here. We are talking about tax payer funds provided gratis for a specific humanitarian purpose. If controls aren’t put in place to ensure those funds are spent for the purpose they were provided then by what justification are they given in the first place? To be blunt, it’s not the recipient’s money.

    The phrase “social wage” as the individual in Zulu’s anecdote claimed she was due, is a rediculous concept. A product of out of control govt largess and inadequate education in the realities of life. Money owed her just for existing? Owed by whom? What does she give in exchange for it? Under what economic or social system is that the case? Lenin said that “He who does not work shall not eat” is a necessary principle under socialism. So it’s not socialist, it’s not communist, and it certainly isn’t capitalist. It is a balloon of entitlement fantasy that needs a vigorous and public popping before it gets any farther out of control.

  53. GerardO

    What has not been mentioned is the link between the welfare card provider and the LNP. Seems like a banana republic-style rort.

  54. Oh come on

    In Appalachia, food stamps are used to buy crates of Pepsi from an established network of soda wholesalers which are then sold cheaply to an established network of small-time retailers, diners and restaurants and so on, and the cash is used to purchase meth.

    What’s to stop the same thing happening here with our own version of food stamps?

  55. Oh come on

    Oh, and whoever was suggesting the unemployed all be given 40hr work week government jobs digging ditches or whatnot – yeah that’s been tried before. Roosevelt doled out a colossal amount of busywork through New Deal agencies such as Whistle, Piss and Argue or We Piddle Around or Works Progress Administration (WPA). Managed to stretch out the Great Depression until WW2 kicked off.

    Yes, get the government much more involved in solving the problem. That’s always worked out well.

  56. notafan

    Despite the soda fraud, there must be some evidence that cashless welfare encourages redirected welfare spending


    Food stamp fraud requires a co conspirator

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