Addressing hardship better than measuring manufactured poverty

May 28, 2015

A few years ago a newspaper asked Oamaru clergy to comment on poverty.

One vicar said that he came from South Africa where hundreds of people shared a single cold water tap which made it difficult for him to comment on a town where people drove to the food bank.

The dictionary defines poverty as the state of being extremely poor.

The measuring class—people with tertiary education who spend all their time telling us how much misery there is in our community  have manufactured a new definition – 60% of the median income.

By that measure poverty could only be solved by taking everyone’s money and redistributing it equally and ensuring it stayed redistributed equally for ever.

While gross inequality can be a problem, making the rich poorer will not address the causes of, nor provide a longterm solution to, the problems of the very poor.

This is why Finance Minister Bill English took a swing at critics of the government on ‘poverty’:

“The term ‘poverty’ has been captured by a particular idea of how you measure poverty and a particular solution to it. That is, you measure it relative to incomes, and the solution is mass redistribution.”

Those who use the term “poverty” and “child poverty” in this way have been “admirably open” about their objectives, Mr English told the meeting but it is not a view the government shares.

“We are not addressing that phenomenon. What we are addressing is absolute levels of hardship. That is someone not having enough to live, and we don’t think that is worse just because someone else has a bit more.”

Incomes are only one part of what keeps people at the bottom of the social heap, he says, and other factors matter more.

“What we are addressing is what I think is the kind of communal or moral dimension and the worst examples of it are not purely about poverty. They are about ways of behaving, and I don’t think poverty is an excuse for serial criminality or beating up your kids. But those are parts of the ways of behaving of parts of our community, in my view sometimes made worse by the way the government deals with some of these problems.” . . .

It is not often a politician talks about the moral dimension and that should not be taken to mean that moral problems are the preserve of the poor.

But when Northland GP Lance O’Sullivan says children will be better off away from their homes and the social dysfunction in them, the problem of hardship is not just a financial one.

When National came to government it took an actuarial look at welfare and uncovered the longterm costs of it.

Those costs were both financial and social which is why reducing dependency and addressing real hardship are so important.

It doesn’t matter what you call it, the problem is whether or not people have enough which in turn begs the question how much is enough?

Regardless of the answer, the solution lies in addressing real hardship, as this government is doing, not by manufacturing poverty by redefining it in a misguided attempt to solve it through redistribution.


Whole World

May 10, 2015

Searching for mother at Story People gave me so many wonderful words, I couldn’t choose just one so here’s a bonus:

whole world StoryPeople print by Brian Andreas

 

Moms come in all shapes & sizes, but they’re pretty easy to recognize because they’re the ones who teach you stuff all the time about how to be in the world & sometimes that sounds a lot like: chew with your mouth closed, sit still. stand up straight, be polite, Look them in the eye. & sometimes it seems like that sort of thing doesn’t add up to a whole lot. Until the day you feel the soft ache of love in your heart that makes you take care with a friend who hurts or when you look in a stranger’s tired eyes & you stop & smile. Or when you listen to the ABC song for the thousandth time & you laugh & say ‘again’ & suddenly you understand that is the real thing moms do & it adds up to the whole world.

Whole World  ©2014 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this at Story People.


$ value of stay at home mother

May 10, 2015

Hat tip: Utopia  from Salary.Com


Sunday Soapbox

May 10, 2015

Sunday’s  soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.
Image result for quotes mother

A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary – Dorothy C. Fisher.


Saturday’s smiles

May 9, 2015

A young girl was wathing her mother work when she noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair in stark contrast to her dark brown hair.

The little girl asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?”

“Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me sador upset, one of my hairs turns white,” her mother replied.

The little girl thought about her mother’s words for a few moments and then said, “Mummy, how come all of grandma’s hairs are white?”


Critical Mass

April 21, 2015

Discussion on Critical Mass with Noelle McCarthy today was sparked by:

* Owner’s Manual for a Child by Donna Bryant Goertz (hat tip to Not PC).

* Finding Your Voice at the Kitchensgarden (hat tip to Valerie Davies).

and

* 25 live changing style charts every guy needs in his life by Julie Gerstein.


Quote of the day

March 31, 2015

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. – Billy Graham

This choice was inspired by:

Brendan Malone’s  Son, your character is more important than legal action:

. . . I love my son more than life itself, but, if years from now, when he is in high school, he should ring me one day and tell me that he is being sent home from a very important school sports trip because he has made a bad decision and broken the law, I will not take legal action to help him avoid the consequences of what he has done.

I will undoubtedly feel greatly disappointed for him, and probably very angry about any personal time or financial investment that is about to be lost by my wife and I as a result of him being sent home from the competition.

But I would also be keenly aware that there is something far more important than just money, time or sporting accolades at stake here, and that I, as his father, need to help him to understand that honour matters, and that sacrificing your integrity to compete in a sporting competition (even if you win) does not make you a winner – it makes you a man without character. . .

And:

Jonny Gilling’s Open letter to the Black Caps: I can point to you and say to my sons, ‘live like that’ :

. . The simple reality is that fame is a cheating lover. Give it a generation or two and very few people will recall your names or your achievements.

Perhaps the cricket die-hards will, there will no doubt be a plaque or two somewhere acknowledging what you have achieved. But the world is too small a place to remember the sporting deeds of many and each generation moves on to its own heroes.

What will live on is character passed from parent to child, honour imparted and stewarded into maturity by a community to a young one. What will live on are the qualities that can exist in a human heart that steward the very life of humanity.

And so I say thank you.

Thank you for taking your global stage and as a unified team, displaying something more valuable than holding aloft a trophy.

To New Zealand cricket, keep walking the path that you have started on. While you did not win the game, where honour and integrity are evident, you can never fail. I believe if you continue on in this manner, the trophies will come.

I know that given the hopes you had as a team, a letter from an unknown nobody will probably mean very little right now. However, life has a funny way of taking what we once thought was an incredible achievement, and with expanded and matured sight, life proves what we thought to be incredible is actually fairly insignificant.

It is for that reason that I hope each of you go forward to live the kind of lives where one day, perhaps months, years or decades from now, you read this letter again and recognise how invaluable it is to display honour, humility, character and compassion for the world to see.

As a father seeking to reveal to them the beauty of his sons, thank you.

And:


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