Not a line you hear very often. Usually, ‘scroungers’ is tied to benefits without a real definition of what benefits are in a general sense. Everyone receives benefits, but the benefits pathologised are those received by the most in need. Those who are at the very top of society (in wealth I mean – which is the capitalist benchmark for ‘success’) are also in recite of benefits, however. What else could you call those expensive tax lope holes that the government go day on day ignoring?
Consider the news that the government is going to start means testing so-called ‘middle class’ benefits such as winter fuel allowance. The problem with means testing these sorts of benefits is that those who need them the most are actually affected the most by the change, as it becomes more complicated to claim for them. Also, setting specific claiming requirements can result in stigmas, people may become too proud to claim them, for example. There are many studies to support this. Furthermore, there is a high level of unclaimed benefits, something that is forgotten about, as the government proceeds with its ideological crusade of blaming the poor for everything. To see a good article about the need for universal benefits, click here.
I don’t like the word scroungers, and i hope you have realised that its usage was merely a pun at the conventional ‘welfare scroungers’ (remember, a very restricted definition of welfare and benefits). For example, consider Ann Widdecombe’s article “Let’s stop benefit scroungers with something that works” – you don’t really need to read the article to know what she has said. The opening paragraph says it all:
THERE is much agonising about the number of people ripping off the rest of us by claiming benefits when they are able to work.
Again, there is a total disregard for the many people who rip off everyone, more frequently and at a much greater rate by their tax avoidance and frauding of the tax system. Referring back to the old deserving and undeserving rhetoric of Spencer, she calls for Workfare – something Charles Murray has championed. Again, this is riddled with problems – a major one is that it will create a two tier work force, where people are working for less than others doing the same job. Also, it will be most likely illegal as they will be working under minimum wage, if the government is set on cutting down benefits.
The current attack on benefits is unfair and illogical. Most people on benefits are in poverty as it is, they can barely survive on the current rate. Furthermore, the government needs to construct a proper growth strategy – it is unfair to complain that they are on benefits if you are not actually improving the supply side. Also, there needs to be higher wages so that people don’t get stuck in the poverty trap – a living wage is therefore essential.
Its obvious the government have to find someone to blame for their ideologically driven cuts. But there is also a real desire amongst them (not all, to be fair) to focus on welfare benefits, on those that are received by the most in need – and to distract any attention from those who are costing the economy more. The one’s who aren’t driven by necessity but instead are driven by want.