Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Mike Hosking: It is a crime to pay someone to do nothing


If you subscribe to the “numbers don’t lie” scenario, then we have to do something about those who don’t have work.

The stats last week were shocking: 115,000 on the dole for longer than 12 months. That doesn’t count the many tens of thousands more on the dole at all.

Fortunately, many move in and out of welfare and for them the system works largely as planned.

But all over the world we are seeing an increasing gap between the number of jobs that are available and the number of people who can’t seem to find one.

I gave you the numbers yesterday: 188,000 vacancies in hospo alone in Britain, 289,000 in Australia. According to Seek, we have more job ads here than we ever had.

Stateside, the hiring game has become a nightmare all over the economy. In every sector, shortages reign supreme.

They’re offering hundreds of thousands of dollars by way of a salary for truck drivers.  36 states so far have cancelled boosted federal welfare because last time the stats came out they had 8 million jobs, but only filled 366 000 of them.

Part of the issue is location - are the jobs where the people are – but also skills and, of course, attitude.

What is also being done increasingly stateside is the insistence that if you want welfare, you have to prove you’re working hard to find a job.

We should go further here. We either accept that there are tens of thousands of hopeless cases and let them rot and fill the gaps with migration settings, or we actually do something about it: it is a crime to pay someone to do nothing.

The cold hard truth is you shouldn’t be allowed to live somewhere with no work. You shouldn’t be allowed to be on welfare with no skills, or skills where there is no longer work available.

The same way kids can’t leave school and get welfare for nothing, why does the same rule not apply to everyone?

You’re either being educated, or trained, or both. You’re either in a job scheme or an apprenticeship.

Isn’t it a social contract with those of us who work to pay these bills? You need help? No problem: what are you doing to help yourself.

Clearly given the international story, we aren’t alone, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept it and pretend that doing nothing other than forking out free money is some sort of way forward.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.

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