February 13, 2014

As benefit creep meets wage shrink, what's the point in anyone working?

Posted in Behavioural Economics · 46 comments ·
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This day last week a letter posted in Connacht came into the Irish Independent addressed to me. Its contents were disturbing. It describes the “new poor”– people with good jobs in our country who can’t make ends meet and who are advised by people working for the State that they’d be better off working part-time and taking benefits. I will transcribe it for you.

 

Dear David,

I think you may be interested in my story. I am a stay-at-home mother with six children and my husband is a PAYE public sector worker earning a salary of €88,000.

Yesterday, after having forked out €100 to the GP to see two of the children on two separate occasions, I went to the Citizens Advice Bureau to enquire about a GP card only to be told that not only are we eligible for one but that we are also entitled to Family Income Support.

The adviser looked at me in the eye and told me directly: “You people are the new poor.”

He told me that it is costing my husband to go to work. To my shock he then asked me whether my husband could go on a three-day-week so that he could claim the other two days and be just as well off and hence get grants for our two children to go to college. He was most helpful and also informed me that if we were ever stuck for a few bob we could always “touch” the SVP (St Vincent de Paul).

I have to say I left the meeting feeling like I wanted to emigrate!

The letter went on to say that her husband was extremely well educated and so was she. She was so shocked because, as she said herself, she thought he had a “good job” and here was someone working for the Department of Social Welfare advising him to skive off in order to be better off.

This is an extraordinary place to arrive at for a country, where the hardworking are told to slacken up and not only would they not suffer, but they’d be actually better off.

This letter could have come from many thousands of people all over the country. Take what appears to be a good wage, indeed a very good wage, then throw in 46pc income tax with all the deductions at source, including things like VHI, then what’s left goes to childcare, commuting, mortgages and the everyday bills that everyone, or at least working people with kids, have to pay. There is very little left at the end of the month.

Now imagine that we have constructed a system whereby the individual worker knows that he or she would be better off working Monday to Wednesday and taking Thursday and Friday off, claiming benefits and giving the welfare cash to their kids.

Yet this is the system we have created. It is not that people are bad or lazy, they are just responding to the incentives they see in front of them. If you give people incentives to behave in a certain way and they do, who is to blame – the people or the architects of the system?

But what if there are no architects? What if bits have been added on to the structure here and there on the whim of some political expedience or other? Think about constructing a building where there was no overall plan, but one piece of contradictory engineering layered over another bit and we went on like that all the time marvelling at how the thing stood up at all, until one day it fell down.

The nexus where the Irish PAYE system meets the Irish welfare system is not too dissimilar. Years of politicians paying off each constituency in the Noughties with the “rented” proceeds of a transient credit boom has left us with a mishmash of good intentions, promises which can’t be rolled back electorally and a country that can’t pay its way as we rob Peter to pay Paul and hope some foreigner will lend us the shortfall.

This leads to a perversion in the way the economy works because every good intention needs to be paid for and this implies raising taxes on someone or something.

This leads to what could be called “benefit creep” as the cut-off point for qualifying for a benefit creeps up to meet the falling disposable income which equally, could be called “wage shrink”, as income taxes rise. In time, these both meet and a woman goes to a Citizens Advice Bureau and finds out, to her shock, that her hard-working husband might be better off on a three-day week.

This kicks off a conversation in the kitchen, when the children are in bed, one of those “what is it all for/who is the bigger fool?” conversations which thousands of ordinary people have every night when they are not anaesthetised by the latest box set, the Champions League, a bottle of Blossom Hill or the weather.

Once these conversations start, it is very hard to stop them – unless of course you suppress them.

Last year, a paper written by the ESRI, the Government-funded think tank, was rapidly withdrawn with Orwellian haste when it claimed that: “The cost of working in Ireland is around €140 per week, or €7,000 annually, for people without children – which increases to €9,000 per year for a family with children.”

The report suggested that around 15pc of people without children and 44pc of people with children would be better off not working given the costs involved with working including transport, childcare costs (which are among the most expensive in Europe) and clothing.

It was withdrawn immediately, God knows why, your guess is a good as mine. Maybe because it dared to say what many other ordinary citizens have the cop-on to know.

At a certain point, the marriage of benefit creep and wage shrink produces an unholy matrimony where people wonder what’s the point of working.

The only solution is divorce. Either benefits go one way and wages the other or the union is doomed to failure. The choice over which way to go is the biggest political choice of the next few years.

 

 

 

David McWilliams writes daily on international economics and finance at www.globalmacro360.com

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  1. markodxb

    A well presented arguement for not working and absolutely correct.

    Leaders need to get tough and honest with themselves and honest with their electorate. Benefits are too high for too many people and this causes a great overhead on the nations funds. The Unemployment benefit in Ireland is much higher than in the N.Ireland, and is there any reason why it is so high in comparison. With higher benefits feeding higher taxes everyone is loosing. Where does it all stop. Who will lead with the honesty? Reforme Alliance??

    • hibernian56

      Do you mean leaders have to make those famous “difficult decisions” Gilmore keeps waffling on about?

      The only decision to be made is by the citizens. Enough of the horse shit.

    • plumber

      David,
      it is great to see you now persuading this obvious line of thinking. I remember your cautionary arguments for caution in the SBP 10-15 years ago which famously of course fell on deaf ears, and my own to some extent included i admit. As a stake holder in the economy i was often perplexed why you felt government needed to keep borrowing and spending , spending yourself out of the recession, when it seamed simple maths that we needed to do exactly what Charles Haughey proscribed for the country in the 80′s which was to tighten our belt. .. IE government tighten its spending machine. You have excellently described how this spending is difficult to reign in in a democracy were vots are essentially “bought”.
      all things considered i believe the best thing to break this nonsense would be if we couldn’t borrow of anybody.
      Its frightening that the state Assets will be sold off at a fraction of “eircoms” price of some 20 years ago to pay for this social welfare imbalance.
      If you apply the principle of “who wins”? & “who loses”? you may benefit with a clearer insight.
      Pumping so much loaned money into the Irish economy essentially shores up the bank guarantees and bond guarantees. Its that simple. Think of it as “Debt Laundering”

    • Grey Fox

      Benefits in Ireland may well be “much higher” in comparision with the UK but cost of living here is considerably higher over the UK, cutting benefits as an incentive to seeking work is not the answer if the jobs are not there, part time, contract work is not long term sustainable jobs so a blanket statement that benefits are too high compared with Northern Ireland/UK indicating that benefits should be slashed does nothing to address the overall issue, in fact it simply permeates the race to the bottom by creating abstract poverty.
      I also have an issue with David’s description ” a hard working public servant” (tongue in cheek), 88k is an impressive wage by any standards, but it is relative.
      The idea that anybody wants to sit at home and enjoy a high quality of life through state benefits is a picture painted by vested interests just the same as “strategic mortgage defaulters” is a catagory created by Banks.
      The overwhelming percentage of people want to be productive and work, is it too much to ask for some job security and a decent wage?
      The overwhelming percentage of Homeowners want to pay their mortgage but for economic reasons (created by banks) they cannot adhere to original terms, that is apparently not acceptable to the Bankers! So the homeowner is judged to be non compliant / strategic defaulter.
      The Spin is approaching CERN proportions.
      That’s my 2 cent’s worth, good article D

  2. Welcome to the nanny state! I had a conversation with a friend of mine whose daughter became pregnant at 18, apart from the concern he had over the young age his daughter was to be come a mother he was positively angry at how her life would not develop. The girl and her 18 your old boyfriend would be entitled to a house, earn a host of social welfare protections and have a household income of nearly 45k a year. I am not sure if the math is correct but his concern was that they would be now trapped by the social welfare system and would never seek to develop themselves as they where now secure. He had worked all his life.

    For me such generous welfare allowances are a form of slavery as they keep large swathes of the population under the thumb of generous politicians.

    One line that stings above is….” This kicks off a conversation in the kitchen, when the children are in bed, one of those “what is it all for/who is the bigger fool?” conversations which thousands of ordinary people have every night when they are not anaesthetised by the latest box set, the Champions League, a bottle of Blossom Hill or the weather.”

    In another case I offered to volunteer at a start you own business course in a poor area of Dublin. The course was cancelled a few weeks before it was due to start. Reason no one registered, all calls asked how much was being paid to attend, when the answer was none, the callers had no interest at all. These people where professional course attenders and did so to get paid.

    So sad.

    Stephen

  3. peterm

    The thing that warps the whole arguement it the rent allowance to people on the dole to private homes, which helps keep rent levels high and thus house prices high. If this was taken away then being on the dole would be a whole less attractive (not that it would make a difference because there are no jobs going anyway and this seems to be skipped over by all the above posters), but on the flip side this would have a knock on with the price of housing.
    Also why do we always compare ireland with the UK?, we should be compared with the EU average as we are in the EU, the UK has a terrible social welfare system so just benchmarking us against it is wrong and once again warps the whole arguement.

  4. jeeaaan

    It is a blatant discrimmination against workers and unequal.Meanwhile surplus amounts of politicians will feather the “so called impoverished in society” nests.Which other country would tolerate penalising workers?for being a worker.Do not think there are many who do.Meanwhile the silent government continue to turn a blind eye at the strugging working classes.Something has to give soon!

  5. ppmoore

    Off topic, I know…
    €50 for a GP appointment says it all. In Belgium, I pay €22 per visit.

  6. LKSteve

    No surprises here, I was back in Ireland between 1998 and 2003. The back to Education Allowance combined with ‘cheques’ from Brussels and the ability to work a few hours a week without effecting my benefits pretty much kept me out of the workforce for the duration of my stay. Simple maths demonstrated the futility of work. I finished my exams for my degree in June 2003 and left the following week. Payack for being screwed to the ground in the eighties when Haughey was saying we should tighten our belts while he was having his Charvet Shirts flown by the airforce from France and enjoying fine wines and dining in Dublin & Kerry’s best restaurants at the expense of the Irish Public Purse. Clearly nothing has changed in Ireland. Only suckers work.

  7. alanfarrell

    There is no factual basis for this article whatsoever. Can anyone write to you with their personal stories, to be used as a basis for an article with absolutely no checking of facts whatsoever? Extremely poor journalism.

    Errors include:

    There is no such thing as the Citizens Advice Bureau, and if there was, its’ employees would not work for the Department of Social Welfare.

    Someone earning that salary (even pro rata for a three day week) will not be allowed to claim for Social Welfare entitlements such as a medical card.

    One cannot simply decide they want to work a three day week, walk into SW and avail of benefits. It has to be shown that their working week has been cut by necessity.

    There are hundreds of thousands of people who would jump through hoops to be able to earn anything close to that figure. Life on SW is not easy, especially with any kind of a family, and anyone who claims it is has never had to live like that.

    This kind of reactionary, fantastical reporting needs to cease immediately; McWilliams, I honestly thought you were better than this.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi,

      re CAB;

      http://www.yelp.ie/biz/cork-citizens-advice-bureau-cork

      Id say if you have six kids and two that need to see the GP it sounds like they have some condition that qualifies them for a medical card since the lady in question was enquireing about a GP card.

      McWillliams didn’t claim life on SW was easier. He said he stats show that you might be better off financially which is different.

      I know some people who care for their own sick relatives and get the carers allowance and its financially more tolerable than working and paying someone else to do it.

      regards,

      Michael.

      • Joe R

        HI THERE MICHAEL,

        Alan Farrell is completely CORRECT.

        “A Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is one of a network of independent charities throughout the UK that give free, confidential information and advice to help people with their money, legal, consumer and other problems.´´

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_Advice_Bureau

        That is the UK, not Ireland and IT IS a CHARITY.

        Your YELP listing is not worth the virtual page it is printed on. No number nor such a place exists.

        McWilliams, however who does exist, picks up a sizeable weekly stipend from a national rag and one from a credible Sunday newspaper, in addition to writing, teaching and his other gigs all to make regular pronouncements on the economic state of things. In this case he was paid, and fairly well probably, to reprint an incredulous, wholly unsupported anecdote and then he went on to comment that….“and here was someone working for the Department of Social Welfare advising him to skive off in order to be better off.´´

        David McWilliams, seriously; is this a days work for you? Heard of the internet? well it is easy to do basic research there. Have you not some little helper thereabouts too?

        McSean has a valid point below, despite any personal element at the end. For me it is; come down from Mount Killiney and comune with the proles before you comment again on “the new poor´´. Who knows it could even prove to be refreshing for you.

        • michaelcoughlan

          “Your YELP listing is not worth the virtual page it is printed on. No number nor such a place exists”

          Must have closed it so. Its not my yelp listing. I don’t think it was an anecdote. He said it was a letter he received in the post.

          Thanks,

          Michael.

          • Joe R

            Michael,

            The bureau never existed except as a YELP listing. The charity is not reported as being in Ireland and would have no connection to any State agency even if it was.

            So McWilliams swallowed a big one. And got paid for repeating it. Great work if you can get it!

            The content of his article ( taken from the letter he received )is anecdotal in nature, whether spoken or written down.
            He has not indicated that the claims were supported in any way.

            If you would like too please have a look at the following link which is well written and explains about anecdotal evidence.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

            A key extract;

            ”In all forms of anecdotal evidence, its reliability by objective independent assessment may be in doubt. This is a consequence of the informal way the information is gathered, documented, presented, or any combination of the three. The term is often used to describe evidence for which there is an absence of documentation, leaving verification dependent on the credibility of the party presenting the evidence.”

            If the party stated that she went to a CAB office and took advice there from somebody who was according to her employed by the State, then her whole story’s credibility is immediately in doubt, aside from anything else.

          • michaelcoughlan

            thanks Joe.

            My card is well stamped.

            regards,

            Michael.

  8. Bamboo

    When I red the article the first thing that came to mind was that it is a fictional letter sent to David and it should be checked for integrity.
    I guess first of all it is the Citizen Information Board and not the Citizens Advice Bureau. OK, that is fine.

    I find it strange that an advisor at the Citizen Information Board brands a family with a Public Sector position and a salary of €88,000 as “the new poor”. The advisor should not be in a position to qualify anyone like that – they should only advise as that is their job.

    If this letter is true then I suggest that the Citizen Information Board should advertise on national radio and TV and it should read something like:

    If you are the main bread-winner, with a permanent position and enjoy a salary of €88,000 and you have six children – then YOU BELONG TO THE NEW POOR.

    Do you want to better yourself and get out of this miserable position – why not talk to us?

    Yes, we are the Citizen Information Board.
    Our team of expert advisers can help you to skive off and sponge of the government.

    I agree with David’s remaining line of reasoning

  9. Adelaide

    You do have to laugh at those ‘hard workers’ who complain about dole spongers not realising they and all of us are being screwed by a fraudulent ponzi monetary model based on theft, it’s like haranguing a goldfish for nibbling a bread crumb while unaware of the school of killer whales chomping on your legs.
    I suppose their ignorance serves a useful purpose for the REAL spongers.

    A friend works in the Social Welfare system and despises the Daily Mail’s etc concocted ‘living it large’ portrayals of life on the dole.
    It’s a fabrication. Those living ‘large’ on the dole you will find are invariably working in the black market. For many black marketeers the dole is mere pocket money, but they need to be signed on for their own official expediency, they would rather not but not doing
    so will cause them problems further down the line. In his experience the vast majority of welfare recipient are in dire straits kept afloat by
    monetary assistance from family members.

    David’s question for the future is “Reduce Dole or Increase Wages?” The answer will be shown to be “Scrap Dole and Decrease Wages!”.

  10. mcsean2163

    This is bizaare, Having just been made redundant in december 2013 and given the statutory redundancy at that, my experience on job seekers allowance has not been the holiday that the Citizen Information Board and David seems to indicate one can enjoy on welfare.

    I have to say, I hate it. I hate getting welfare. I have avoided the dole office, (what does dole even mean?), since 2006, (this is my second redundancy in that period), and for me it is excruciating to be reliant on the state again for money at this stage in my life. I could only dream of a salary of €88k but would gladly take less than half that if I could find a good position in my field.

    From the pool of colleagues that were made redundant, many have now found jobs but some are still unemployed. Not one that I have met since are revelling in the life of unemployment or saw it as an attractive option.

    €188 a week doesn’t go far when you have a car, a mortgage, a property tax, a phone bill, etc.

    I think there should be something that, if you have accumulated years of working and paying tax, you get better welfare for a period as you try to find a new job.

    I would love to see how David would finance his household on €188. It would be great TV, however he would still have his media empire, etc. to return to, so he wouldn’t have to keep applying for jobs, interviewing, studying, etc. Still it would be interesting to see how his life would go if he was living on €188 for two months.

    That is my two cents.

    • McSean

      Sorry to hear about your predicament. All I did the other day was transcribe a letter that I received and extropolate from it. Why do you have to make these things personal?

      If you have a problem, levy it at the thousands of economists in cushy jobs who pontificate about this welfare trap but get a public scetor/IBEC/or university stipend every week rather than probably the one economist in the country who if he doesn’t work tomorrow, doesn’t get paid – and who also knows that there would be loads of people cheering that eventuality because for some reason it might make them feel better.

      David

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi,

        The article is excellent, necessary timely etc. You left out something important which would have made the article complete. COST OF LIVING.

        Whether people are in an 88k job or 40k welfare PA EVERYONE is being screwed by the real inflation rate of 8 to 10 percent plus the runaway money printing.

        Moreover homer Noonan in the last couple of days has said that he believes Ireland has a deal to retrospectively recapitalise the banks because we saved the banks to stop the contagion in Europe. Admitting that the people came second. No one bats an eyelid of course. Now he says Irish banks wont need more capital and will pass the stress test when I can tell you right now gold and silver is going balubas I presume because hyperinflation is confined to the markets with the double whammy that wages except bankers of course are in deflation.

        Adelaide’s comments below are most wise. I am not entitled to fuck all not that I want it because I was self employed and my stamps only work for a certain period. Since I don’t sign on they don’t even count me. I’m an undocumented Irishman living in Ireland.

        It’s like an Orwellian nightmare.

      • Joe R

        88K gross a year is 54K net income or thereabouts.
        I.e. more than a 1000 euros per week. Government benefits for having 6 kids come in at 780 euro per month.

        So net income 5.2 K a month more or less in a country where primary, secondary and third level education and major healthcare are free, and where financial support is available from the State from the cradle to the grave and if you don´t have income for whatever reason and even sometimes if you do too. For all children and old people. Oh, and security is pretty good, too. There is little chance of being killed for no reason as you go home you can walk the streets at night and live.

        If this person does exist, and she might, and she really feels so aggrieved I suggest she and her family emigrates to the promised land, where ever that is.

        I can see here that `an beál bocht a chur ort´ is alive and well in Ireland.

        • joe sod

          the amazing thing is that the troika lent us the money to keep this system in place. They made noises about social welfare reform and public sector reform but yet chose to lend the money anyway and not interfere. The old saying “he who pays the piper calls the tune” yet the piper chose to allow the irish authorities to continue to call the same tune. Why was the government overjoyed at the exit of the troika, is it because they can continue to call the same tune. I hope it doesn’t end up like “nearer my god to thee” like the band on the titanic played as she went down.

      • mcsean2163

        Hi David,

        Thanks for the considered response. I may have went overboard at the end!

        Although I don’t always agree with your commentary, I always find it lively and thought provoking.

        I guess my point is that in my experience, none of the people laid off were looking forward to a life on welfare and I don’t think it is entirely fair to extrapolate a generality based on a single case study. A very unusual case study, I might add.

        Again, in my experience, people want to work. Not just for the money but for dignity, purpose and self respect.

    • jeeaaan

      Okay you are not exploiting the system as you clearly are of a work ethic,but lets face it the welfare spongers are all around ,have defined the system to work for them to maximise benefits and work blackmarket also in many cases.The system supports them and not the worker and that is the point of the letter to David.You perhaps should not compare David to you but people who are exploiting the system now.Dont think you will have to look too far.Where measures to support people to get back on their feet as an interum were put in place and left there ,it was all take from the worker to provide the benefits for the unemployed.This is where the crux of the injustice lies and the very imbalanced system.

  11. Adelaide

    I’m operating on the basis that by ten years time there will be no Social Welfare and State Pension in place. So rather than working every hour humanly possible for no future return I’m doing the complete opposite, working the minimum amount of hours financially practical, and with the remainder I’m enjoying the HERE & NOW.

    To re-quote myself from a previous comment:
    Only Fools And Horses Work In A Kleptocracy

    You may as well enjoy life now in the last few years of normality (if that is within your power) because the not-so-distant future will be one inescapable dystopia.

    • McGoo

      For the last few years I have been taking a couple of weeks of unpaid parental leave each year (yes, I have a child under 8). The really depressing thing is how little it costs me. I’m expecting a big drop in my cheque at the end of the month, but there’s hardly any impact at all. I’d do it every month if my employer would let me. At current tax levels, working full-time doesn’t pay!!

      I was told by a pension adviser when I started working 25 years ago that there would be no state pension by the time I retired. He was probably right.

  12. Bamboo

    Adelaide,

    There are so many who think they can enjoy the Here & Now during the boom years.

    The “buy now and pay later” generation are encouraged by the banks and governments to live in the now and worry later. Who cares … We all tearfully found out what happened.

    Regarding the future – I think you’re absolutely right. No social welfare and state pension and it is for that reason that I think that it is not so wise for me to live in the Here & Now. We all have no alternative than live in the Here & Now. Especialy the HERE is an issue for me and so myself and my wife have moved out of Ireland to find another HERE and better circumstances to prepare for our old age. Especially the young people have to be more aware of their future as they still have the chance to make a better future for themselves. So my advice is to move out as soon as you’re finished studying and before you reached 30.

    How many were offered PHDs and study four years or more only to find out that at the end of the day they can only stay in academia, which offer hardly any money at all. How many of these now with a doctorate in their bags have found out that nobody or only a handful is actually waiting for you to offer you a job. The lucky ones are offered a research project or post docs and are paid pittens.

    How many young graduates have spent so much effort in applying for a position only to receive no reply at all whatsoever? With a bit of luck they are told that your qualifications and experience is worth nothing neither NOW nor HERE.
    How many can actually find a job but simply aren’t in the position to accept the job because of the impossible commuting distances. The few lucky ones are able to find some very temporary accommodation with family and/or friends or pay ludicrous money on rent.

    Re: The choice over which way to go is the biggest political choice of the next few years – I don’t think this will the biggest issue in the next few years. I believe that the country will be so much divided between the “have and have nots”. The “have nots” are the younger generation who don’t care about politics anyway and the “haves” are the real electorate which is the older generation who are sitting high and dry anyway. I do believe the younger generation will cop on and find out the oyster in the world.

  13. No further comment needed from me!!It’s the money system stupid!! :)

    http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/35026/Reality-of-Inflations-Outcome/

    “An unbiased observer watching from a distance would surely conclude two things from the just-announced intentions of US and British central bankers to continue to stimulate aggressively: First, these intentions are as rash as they are deliberate and second, those at the helm obviously want another great bust.

    This is exactly what we’ve been writing, of course. They’re pushing a Wall Street Party as hard as they can. And they know full well the harder they push the worse it will be in the end.

    From a boom to end all booms – with plenty of prosperity for all – to a ruinous bust that is perhaps intended to usher in a good deal more globalization: This would seem to be the plan. These men and women, impeccably groomed and soft-spoken, are surely – in a sense – silk-clad thugs: What they are preparing for the West will likely cause blood to flow in the streets.”

    - See more at: http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/35026/Reality-of-Inflations-Outcome/#sthash.TwIXjoir.dpuf

  14. Degaulle on the advantage of a gold standard is….
    Maybe we would not be in this mess if he had had his way.

    http://www.nysun.com/editorials/yellen-and-degaulle/88584/

  15. redriversix

    Unemployed 2 years

    went through the lows and lows of being unemployed…cant seem to get gainful employment. Applied for 346 jobs…..2 interviews….unsuccessful.

    presently working towards setting up my own business…again.

    Any thing I…you or anyone receives from social welfare we paid for through our pay related social insurance , U.S.C , Taxes etc.

    In the past year we have had Govt attempt to criminalize the Unemployed , the low paid & alleged strategic defaulters..

    In several years..their will be almost zero benefits..even though you paid for them…their is a very high probability I or my wife will not have our state pension even though we have paid for it for almost 30 years.

    In several years their will be almost no public health system…even though your paying for it.

    We will,however pay a levy for Banking indefinitely..like we are paying a temporary levy for bailing out insurance Companies years ago..levy still their today/.

    Hell…if your lucky enough to have savings..the new rate of D,I.R.T Tax includes a percentage of P.R.S.I

    The reserve state pension fund is now gone to some “ponzi investment scheme” to try and make money for the State..”like to see the management charges for that baby”

    Living on benefits ?

    most of us don’t cope mentally..some are stronger than others….some days are better than others & you do what you can to keep your head together….tis a grand article David…appreciate its not “personal”

    But perhaps like economics for me ? Articles on living on benefits aren’t your thing.

    “Hello Mr C..have you considered an internship ? its a excellent way to get back into the workforce…& you get a additional €50.00 a week ! all due respect Sir but go fuck yourself & your internship..have a nice day”

    • michaelcoughlan

      Good to hear from you Barry.

      Remember now the cynicism will only eat you up.

      Get some fresh air and exercise. Its fucking mad I know but you gotta keep the faith. Send me an email mikecoughlan@eircom.net and I’ll see if there is something I can help you with. Remember Barry people are looking for jobs when its an income which is what’s required. I’m not being patronising just trying to get people to shift the mindset.

      bye for now,

      Michael.

      • redriversix

        Thanks Michael. ..

        I am fine..in good form. .family are all well.

        we do the best we can…..never considered myself a cynic..just the way things are these days

        just dispensing with the garbage & sticking with the winners.

        Acceptance is key to progress

        have a great day.

        B.

  16. BoCualain

    I work a 4 day week not because I get benefits (I get none) but because it allows me to do creative work at the weekend. It also preserves my sanity. I know it wouldn’t be possible for every company to do this but if the companies that could do this did so and employed another worker on a PT basis for each 2 or 3 worker on that 4 day week, we would have a lot more at work with the added benefits to the economy, health and personal creativity. The govt could even subsidize this idea with the savings they make on getting people of benefit. I do not subscribe to the idea that we must work our lives away, its a bit like the “were on this earth to suffer” chestnut that the old priests used to trot out for obvious reasons.

    • martino

      I think you’re on to a good thing there. Three to four days work a week is enough for anyone. I was thinking about things the other day and it struck me that all work could be defined as something you do that you wouldn’t by choice do in return for money. Not much of a deal really, when you consider how limited your time is and how limitless printed money is.

  17. Bamboo

    BoCualain,
    Great Ideas. This concept is implemented in Germany, Holland, France, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries during the crisis in the 80′s. It is still in place in fact.

  18. BoCualain

    Someone penned a piece on the back of the IT health supplement a couple of months back to the same effect but it was never picked up on unfortunately. My neighbor who owns and runs his own business does not like the idea one bit. Mainly from an administrative pov but also because he thinks that it would cost him more but that is where the government must lend a hand.

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