The dole is too high? It must be pre-budget season

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Pre-budget season is well on truly upon us with the Indo wringing its hands about how the ‘welfare trap’ is preventing people from taking up jobs. We are told that people are not taking up jobs or extra hours as it will mean they would loose valuable welfare health and housing benefits and small top ups to their wages. Of course an entirely different  way of looking at or framing this story is that poverty wages, high rents and expensive health care are preventing people from taking up jobs; but that’s crazy pinko talk isn’t it? Rather what is called for is ‘job activation measures’, which is media-speak for the disciplining  and punishing of an ungrateful labour force.

The Independent doesn’t lower itself to actually speaking to an unemployed person or representative but rather directly quotes the ubiquitous ‘Mr Burns’ character Mark Fielding of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise association, who maintains that the ISME ‘helpline’ is bouncing off the hook with petite bourgeois complaints about people refusing to work for less than the dole. The entire 1,000 word front page article manages (with great skill) not to mention the current crisis of mass unemployment, emigration, the collapsed economy, the austerity measures of the last number of years, the debt crisis or even the international economic situation. No we have unemployment because the dole is too high. indomortgagecrisis

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2 thoughts on “The dole is too high? It must be pre-budget season

  1. “This is my advice to you: When you get there, figure it out who’s who. Find the man nobody’s protecting. A man without friends. And beat him until his eyes bleed. Let them think you are little bit crazy, but respectful, too. Respectful of the right men.” -The 25th Hour

    Completely correct analysis, I’d add to “Of course an entirely different way of looking at or framing this story is that poverty wages, high rents and expensive health care are preventing people from taking up jobs;” the adjoiner that when I speak to business people who make this complaint, the information they give up is that often the people who refuse these jobs are parents, for whom the extortionate cost of childcare in this country must be added to welfare payments in order to make any wage packet a fiscally viable alternative.

    ISME are demented and useless (literally useless, tried getting their assistance with a start up project last November when I was part of a team on a business in the NDRC’s sweaquity programe, specifically with a survey looking into online credit card fraud, no response to either emails or phone calls), an organisation that has mindlessly signed a suicide pact with neo-liberalist ideology. Research by Moody Analytics showed that in the US social welfare spending is recycled in the economy at a fast rate, leading to $1.61 dollars of spending for every $1 spent. Any money spent on social welfare is pretty much 100% guaranteed to end up in private sector hands sooner rather than later. So what the hell are ISME thinking when they promote this kind of rhetoric? They’re shooting small business (especially those in areas which have perilously low employment rates already) in the foot. Sure short term perhaps you MIGHT get cheaper wages, but you’re shooting your demand in the foot, and besides we have jobsbridge to take care of that little ditty. What does our phone line is “bouncing off the hook” mean, that the ISME office has a particularly volumous ringing bell? Do they not have figures for this? If it’s such an important issue they could surely produce some facts to make their case, but no, they don’t have to the hostile attitude toward the unemployed fanned by the Irish media is plain as can be, you don’t need facts to back up the “scrounger, work shy, lay about” image most people have. With Tesco recently claiming that food costs are likely to increase by some 40% over the next few years, a doomed, economically illiterate (if that’s not an oxymoron) austerity agenda, where’s the contingency, where’s the vision, are they trying to get riots in the streets, have ISME secretly shorted Irish based insurance companies?

  2. This report although from 2007 shows that Jobseekers payment in Ireland is the third lowest in the EU 15 http://www.eapn.ie/documents/1_Social%20Welfare%20How%20Ireland%20Compares%20in%20Europe.pdf See page 5. Current annual payment is 9024 euros. As a person who is unemployed it makes me furious when shit like this is in the media. The sheer ignorant hate filled rantings of ‘journalists’ paid many multiples of what Jobseekers get is blood boiling.

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