Monday, August 15, 2011

No food stamps for old people?

Bernard Hickey has picked up yesterday's post and run with it in an unexpected direction. It seems he's a fan of food stamps, a program that is working so well in America, one in 8 people are now using them. Whatever the hazards of the system, it works well as a poverty indicator.

In fact, the scheme should be introduced to pensioners too, to protect the Old Ones from the TAB, pokies and the RSA, sez Bernard.

True, my Old Mum does like a flutter on the races, and her favourite free to air channel on the old tube is Trackside. But it gives her solitude something to look forward to, because frankly there's not much else in the day. Similarly, I have no problem with Old Ones getting pissed in the middle of the day. I just wish they wouldn't drive as well. Personally, I'm an after 6pm drinker myself, but each to their own.

I'm closer to Bernard's mindset on the pokies thing, though. Horses and booze are as harmless as phone-up psychics and homeopathic anti-wrinkle creams to the Shopping Network Oldsters, but pokies is different. These things are designed to rob people blind. In spite of the facade of charity grants, pokies are run by a hive of scum and villainy preying on the desperately vulnerable.

Big Ups to Bernard Hickey for pulling the relevant stats on benefit numbers:
Pensioners are New Zealand's biggest beneficiaries. There are over 580,000 people aged over 65 who received over NZ$8.8 billion worth benefits in the financial year just completed. See more here at Jonathan Barron's detailing of the Social Welfare budget here.
 Needless to say, John Key was lying by a large quantum yesterday when he said:
"Currently, 328,000 people are receiving a benefit – more than 10 per cent of the entire working age population."
 If he wasn't lying, Key's speech would have read:
"Currently, 908,000 people are receiving a benefit – more than 20 per cent of the entire population."

If John Key was as honest as he was smiley, he would have gone on to say:
"The 580,000 beneficiaries, who cannot be named and will not be harmed, enjoy more Health dollars per capita and more free public transport per capita than any other sector of society. My National government has backed your vested interests by changing the rules and allowing the 580,000 beneficiaries to travel or even live overseas without losing a cent of entitlement."
  There's one hell of a fiscal creep.