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 Post subject: The Basics Card
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2013, 07:57 
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The Australian government is introducing a new form of welfare payment - the Basics Card. Right now it's mostly a voluntary program, with a few high-risk people being shifted to the program on a compulsory basis. The idea is that with the Basics Card, you can only use your payment for bills, food, transport and other essentials to eliminate the squandering of government money on cigarettes, alcohol and gambling.

It's a very heated topic right now, and I was wondering if you guys had any thoughts. Personally, I like the idea as I'm awful with my money, but being unable to purchase research material (read: games) would be a big problem for me. I also think the idea that people on welfare 'deserve' to spend their money however they will is wrong, but I can't really articulate why. Like, it's pretty much a gift, right? The rest of society is giving you a hand. It's pretty messed up to turn your nose up and proclaim that this wasn't the gift you wanted.



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 Post subject: Re: The Basics Card
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2013, 12:39 
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In theory, I like the idea. Does it cover medical costs or childrearing costs (e.g. diapers)?

I also have to wonder: how big of a deal is welfare fraud in Australia? Is it adding any extra costs? In America, despite anecdotal evidence some people (at least claim to) have, it's not as big of a deal as people make it out to be, though to say it never happens would be equally dishonest.



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 Post subject: Re: The Basics Card
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2013, 13:04 
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Sounds like a pretty good idea, assuming nothing goes wrong. Like Crystal pointed out, it kind of depends on what exactly they're counting as "essentials".


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 Post subject: Re: The Basics Card
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2013, 13:27 
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Myke wrote:
The Australian government is introducing a new form of welfare payment - the Basics Card. Right now it's mostly a voluntary program, with a few high-risk people being shifted to the program on a compulsory basis. The idea is that with the Basics Card, you can only use your payment for bills, food, transport and other essentials to eliminate the squandering of government money on cigarettes, alcohol and gambling.

This sounds like a theoretically good Idea — it could well help prevent abuses of the Welfare System without having to implement costly Screening Programmes or tighten Requirements; were it to work like an ordinary Debit or Credit Card, it likely would not prevent shopping at whatever Establishments one prefers, though it might be best if certain higher-end Supermarkets not accept it, but to say which is difficult.

In Addition to Food, I would say it ought to cover the already-mentioned Transport and household Bills, and also Clothing and Over-the-Counter Medicines (like Headache Pills, Cold Relief, and suchlike), because it can be difficult to live and find work when one is badly-dressed, or unwell. It might also have a certain rolling monthly allowance for personal Interest (since boredom is psychologically unhealthful), however the Amount ought to be small (perhaps little more than enough to afford a Month of Netflix, or something comparable); in Lieu of that, however, it might also be helpful to promote Reading and the Use of Public Libraries.

Myke wrote:
I also think the idea that people on welfare 'deserve' to spend their money however they will is wrong, but I can't really articulate why. Like, it's pretty much a gift, right? The rest of society is giving you a hand. It's pretty messed up to turn your nose up and proclaim that this wasn't the gift you wanted.

It is very easy to feel this Way because saying People on Welfare are somehow entitled to Money despite having done no Work for it very easily sows Resentment in those who strive to be productive; and to misuse it also seems like complaining that somebody who has just stopped you falling off a Cliff has dirty Hands — it shows a Degree of Small-Mindness and Incomprehension which is very difficult to pardon (if it is at all pardonable). Not having Access to Things one likes very much can be unpleasant, but there will generally be more than one (legal) Way to get at them.

I'm not entirely certain what could go wrong with this; large-scale Protests would be baffling beyond belief, but People can do some astonishingly bizarre Things.



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 Post subject: Re: The Basics Card
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2013, 00:04 
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RE: health stuff - we have free medicare, and as far as I know it covers anything you can get from a supermarket: which here includes non-prescription meds and baby stuff. DVDs, books and magazines, too, but very little in the way of clothing. Whether that's enough to support a comfortable lifestyle is debateable, but I forgot to mention that only the majority of your payment (~80%?) would be on the card, so it's not like you'd be completely without leisure money.
For people with expensive prescriptions I figure they'd have to have some kind of system. It would be completely inhumane otherwise x:

RE: fraud - it's an issue, to be sure, but it's unclear whether it's a really big thing or if they just make a point of giving what few cases there are heaps of coverage (which sounds like exactly what Crystal was describing lol).



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