I heard an interesting interview on the radio this morning.
Apparently, the ACT party have a policy (that may or may not be accepted) which will target welfare spending, by forcing beneficiaries to use a card system, where payments can only buy necessities and not some other things like alcohol (and possibly tobacco).
A welfare advocate gave three really good objections to this plan:
- This isn’t teaching people how to be responsible with their money;
- (I can’t quite remember his second point but I think it could be that) People will resent their loss of freedom; and
- There is a perception that all beneficiaries spend all their money on drink and this isn’t so.
(BTW, that last bullet point is called a Straw Man Argument. This is where you put up a weak point, in order to knock it down.)
For all the merit that those arguments have, I say:
- Let them learn to be responsible, with their own money;
- When it’s my money (my taxes), then target their spending.