Friday, 9 April 2010

Why work?

James Bartholomew has highlighted a Telegraph article by Fraser Nelson:
If an unemployed Pole gets a job as a barista in Starbucks, even for 15 hours a week, his situation improves dramatically. A young man in Britain would be just £10 a week better off than if he stayed at home on benefits. Why break your back for an extra tenner?
Why indeed?

I'd be interested to know how long immigrants must reside in the UK before they qualify for benefits. I had assumed that EU migrants, at least, were immediately eligible.

Good figures are hard to come by, but my own experience echoes Nelson's: waiters and bartenders in Oxford are disproportionately Eastern European. If these migrants are eligible for benefits, why do they choose to work instead? Probably because they have a certain amount of pride, don't feel the same sense of entitlement as native Britons, and have not yet been caught in the welfare trap.

As Nelson notes,
The situation is even more pernicious for young women who leave school with low qualifications, because the alternative to low-paid work is pregnancy. A woman with one child and on benefits has, on average, more disposable income than a hairdresser or teaching assistant. With two children, it's more than a receptionist or library assistant. With three, it's a lab technician, typist or bookkeeper. So there should be no mystery about why Britain came to have so many children in workless households (one in five, the highest in Europe). The young mothers, and the young men on benefits, are walking down a road to dependency paved for them by the state.

This is a peculiar definition of compassion. What Beveridge denounced as the "giant evil" of idleness is now being incubated on a mass scale by the very welfare state designed to eradicate it.
Procreation has always been a choice, but this is more true today than ever. Abstinence is no longer required. Contraceptives are widely available, and even subsidised. Abortions are legal, and likewise subsidised. Parenthood should not be undertaken lightly, and it should never make you better off.

You don't have to be a eugenicist to see that our government is encouraging exactly the wrong sort of person to breed. Their progeny benefit from neither nature nor nurture, and we all suffer for it — directly, in spiralling welfare payments, and indirectly through ever-increasing crime and classroom disruption. Of course, nobody suffers more under this system than the welfare children themselves. It is a peculiar kind of compassion indeed.

Let us hope that if the Conservatives win power, they will rediscover a bit of their "nastiness". Sometimes, as good parents know, you have to be cruel to be kind.

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