I've been sitting on my hands trying not to write this post. 'Who cares?' I thought. Weeks later I have determined that I care and that is reason enough to write it. I have found my thoughts to be the thoughts of many although these thoughts aren't as widely published as those on the opposing side of the argument. I'm talking about benefits. The big bad welfare state that all of our country's problems are currently being pinned on. A generation of work shy scroungers whose entitlement baffles belief vs the hard working tax payers of this country.
I am on benefits. Chances are if you have children, you are too. The majority of people with a family who claim benefits are working. Tax credits, child benefit - they are all benefits and they all contribute to this 'welfare state' that has got the country into so much trouble, as do pensions. Yet all you hear about are the claims of families with four or more children living in luxury, taking holidays and never giving anything back. You hear sensationalised stories of the minority because if we were to paint the picture of a family where every penny is accounted for, taking out high interest loans just to make ends meet rather than to live beyond their means and making the choice between food or electric there just wouldn't be so much support for this regime. We are turning on each other in a time where we should be looking at a Government who used the deaths of six innocent children to gain political points. We are turning on the scroungers, the immigrants, the single mothers, the teen mothers who seem to be getting everything for nothing while people work full time plus overtime to make their ends meet - we are a nation born of envy.
So, for starters, who should be bashed? People seem to agree that child tax credits, working tax credits, child benefit, pensions and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are 'good benefits'. The benefits that are awarded to those who work as well despite the fact that they make up the vast majority of the figures making up the welfare state. So that leaves Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for those who have an illness, long term or short term that keep them out of work. This one is a bit mixed as if you see a person claiming ESA walking down the street they must be fraudulent as they definitely don't have a disability. Because you can tell by looking. What about those who are truly ill but have been demoted to Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) due to the rigorous tests they put you through? Do they deserve to be bashed under the JSA free for all? Do we feel sorry for the single mother who was left with nothing but her three children who live well but count every penny or does she not deserve to be felt for because she could get a job and put her children into childcare that would eat up almost the entirety of her wage? Should she give them up to foster care because of the 'Don't have children if you can't afford them' mentality?
The truth is that nobody deserves to be bashed. Yes there are lifestyle claimants who have no intention of ever working but they are in the minority. What people are doing is not having a reasoned discussion about what to do with the welfare state, they are attacking people. There can be no rational discussion about policy when there is so much anger toward these so called 'scroungers'. There can be no rational discussion when people say if you were a Muslim you'd get everything paid for you and a job to boot on the grounds that you are an immigrant.
Our Government may not be the best and they may not be making the correct decisions to benefit the welfare of all but turning on each other and believing everything we read in the local daily rag is not what we should be doing. I understand the hatred toward claimants when the headlines read that 'x' amount of families are living in top notch London homes and receiving the average yearly wage in benefits but these are the minority.
Let's thank the carers who get paid minimal benefits to care for their elderly family members day in, day out or our care homes would be more overrun than they are. Let's thank the single mother for doing her best by her children when some days it would be financially easier to give them over to the care system. Let's thank the disabled people who work but still claim DLA, the elderly who receive state pension but have worked all their lives and the families who work but still claim in tax credits. These are the majority of people working - the majority of claimants. Very few statistically are 'lifers' and most JSA claimants are so for a finite period of time. That being said because wages are so low they may always be benefit claimants in some form.
When there are enough jobs and wages are high enough to be able to cover general expenses without luxuries for all, then we can weed out and 'bash' those lifers because they will be the ones claiming. Until then, feel for others rather than hurt them. You could be one redundancy away from this life and I'd bet you'd be glad for this support system that some countries don't have if you ever did find yourself among us.