We are all beneficiaries of the welfare state

I have a column in the Dominion Post today.

We are all beneficiaries of the welfare state

It’s easy to criticise the welfare system. Beneficiaries get too much money, too many of them cheat, and it all costs too much. But the unrecognised reality is that our comprehensive health and welfare systems create freedom and security for us all.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to pay taxes have a straightforward reason to support the welfare state: it’s simple prudence. One day, it may be our turn to depend on the state.

Our health and welfare systems are based on need, not some notion of worthiness. If we are in need, we are entitled to assistance, and that means that we may live as free citizens. It means that we are secure from economic fear, secure from absolute want, and secure from the interference of our neighbours. That freedom and security makes all of us beneficiaries of the welfare system.

This time, I’ve outed myself as a lecturer in Taxation, and a newly joined member of the Labour Party. I’m not sure how long I’ll be welcome in the party, of course…

As ever, the subbing is by the newspaper, not by me.

You should also read Giovanni’s excellent post on this topic: The Man on the Roof


One comment on “We are all beneficiaries of the welfare state

  1. homepaddock says:

    Some people are in permanent need of a benefit, some people’s need is temporary. I don’t mind paying tax to help them. The problem is people whose need was temporary but whose dependence becomes permanent. I’d rather my tax went to helping them become independent than trapping them in dependency.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s