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FFS get off my planet, Paula Bennett. - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 28th, 2012

12:11 pm - FFS get off my planet, Paula Bennett.

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Y'know, it's a funny old world where it's more beneficial to be an addict than it is to be a recreational user, even if the only impact your recreational use has is that someone else thinks it's a reason not to employ you.

I note that alcohol doesn't get a mention.

Yes, US folks, NZ is now introducing drug testing of beneficiaries.

*goes off to throw up somewhere*

Comments:

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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:August 28th, 2012 07:50 am (UTC)
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I know your approach to drugs is different, but under current law I can see their reasoning. The chain of argument "I can't take this job because I do something that I know is illegal so you have to provide me with money until I find a job that doesn't care if I do something illegal" is illogical in the eyes of governments and lawyers.

I agree it's schizophrenic to test drugs (as far as 30 days back?!?) and not test alcohol that may even be in the system at that moment. After all the reason they want jobbers drug free is probably that they need to drive or operate machinery or handle people...
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
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I think this, like so many questions of policy, comes down to your basic worldview of whether we are all in this together and should help each other, or whether it's a competition and devil take the hindmost.

You see, I have no objection to workplace drug testing if there's a good reason for it. But pre-employment drug testing appears to serve no purpose save screening out a significant group of people. Taking X substance on Friday night is no more likely to affect your work performance on Monday than is going skydiving on Saturday (or drinking alcohol for that matter), so the screening isn't for likelihood of poor work performance, it's for someone's choice of recreation - a moral screening, if you will. It's denying people employment based on choices made outside employment which is, IMO, discrimination with very shaky grounds.

This type of screening seems to me to be more about the neoliberal agenda than about workplace safety. Our government is always on about a flexible workforce - what they mean by that is keeping unemployment high keeps competition for jobs high and wages low, creating an environmnent that is advantageous to business owners who can pick and choose their staff and get away with poorer conditions, because those who want a job are willing to accept lower wages and poorer conditions for the sake of having a job at all.

What better way of creating a workforce that's willing to accept being treated as less than human but by screening out those who refuse invasive pre-employment tests such as drug tests and the totally pointless credit checks (that our country seems to be hell bent on these days)? People who *might* just insist that being casualised and working split-shifts and taking pay cuts are also beyond the pale?

And what better way to apply pressure to people to allow this kind of screening than to threaten to cut the safety net out from under anyone who objects?

I thought benefits were there to make sure everyone in our country experiences a certain minimum standard of living, universally. I'm an 'all in this together' kind of person. Our government, on the other hand, seems to think that benefits are only for 'the deserving poor' - our social support system is only available to those who make choices that are acceptable to the government's agenda.

And I wonder, what will happen to those people who lose their last support based on this?

Edited at 2012-08-28 08:20 pm (UTC)
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:August 29th, 2012 08:24 am (UTC)
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I totally see your point concerning the screening. I've done some googling and tried to remember but the only drug screening they do over here is for sports events and doping. "Data security" and data ownership are pretty big in this country (although sadly they are invading our privacy more and more) and a standard screening would just not get through. The big companies have unions and... something like a company internal union that sees to it that such things don't happen. So unless you stink of alcohol in the morning or act funny at the wheel you won't be asked to make a test. If you show up smelling of pot to an interview (or alcohol for that matter) the personal nose screening will keep you from getting a job nonetheless.

The "in it together" question is something where I am not sure myself how far it goes or should go. Most of the people the system supports are poor suckers who had a few strokes of bad luck and not enough education to get their feet back under them. And then there are those few who found out that being a poor sucker doesn't mean you're out of your luck, because hey, the stupid rest of the crowd works their assess off to pay for them. Granted, that's a minority, but I get it when people think: Half of my paycheck is going into taxes and social security and the lazy bums get it all and on top of it live on booze and pot all day? Why?!

It's a matter of balance, really. Over here, we say our government is broke. They live on borrowed money, and they already borrow it from future generations. That worked as long as there WAS a future generation, but due to demographic developments there will not be much of that.
So they deduce 50% of our pay checks every month - I am not exaggerating - for taxes, health insurance, old age insurance, social security, unemployment insurance, etc. etc. And then they send us those calculations that if we keep paying like this, we'll have a retirement fund that is frankly ridiculous and below social security allowance. And then they tell us everyone needs to take care of themselves and build up a fund for old age.
Can you understand that people who have built up that fund for themselves, and who have not bought the latest iPhone or flat screen TV have no stomach for those who live on social security and who do have a flat screeen and an iPhone and couldn't care less what happens in old age because surely someone else will provide for them?

As I said it's a minority, and as long as people only pay a small amount for the social net, they won't complain, but the scales have tipped over a while ago and the more they do, the more people who are told to "fend for themselves" ask why they should when others don't. There are already a lot of jobs that pay less than social welfare. Why would anyone work there?

I don't know about your place. Over here, you may loose the unemployment allowance when you prove unable to hold a job due to alcohol problems or such. The minimum social security allowance cannot be taken away for any reason at all - and no matter how many lazy bums sleep on that cushion and how much it costs, I'm ok with not letting anyone become homeless or sick or hungry in this country. I'd rather err on the social side. I don't think any country should allow that. I hope your's won't either...

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From:tatjna
Date:August 29th, 2012 09:28 am (UTC)
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And that's the problem. The benefit that Bennett is talking about cutting off is the minimum social security allowance and they are coming up with more and more reasons to take it away.

As another member of the generation that's both paying for the baby boomers to have retirement security and having to save for my own, I sympathise with the problems of transferring from a Keynesian welfare state to a neoliberal one. My entire adult life has been like that. But IME (and backed by statistics) the amount this country spends on 'lazy bums' who choose to live on a benefit rather than work is miniscule compared with the number who use it for its intended purpose - it's like, less than 1% and the average time on a benefit is 4 months.

So I have no beef with that small amount of my tax going to those people. I'm ok with knowing there are a few bludgers out there, as long as I also know that the benefit is available to everyone regardless of their moral standing. Because like you, I don't want to live in a country where people are allowed to starve for any reason.
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:August 29th, 2012 10:40 am (UTC)
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I checked and in Germany round about 10% of the people are one welfare. I also learned that there are reasons to take away part or all of their welfare. They get fined for not showing up to appointments with the job center or welfare personnel and in cases where they are caught working without telling anyone they actually earn money, they can be out of welfare altogether.

I didn't find any numbers of how long the average welfare time is. I'm guessing much longer than 4 months. Reason being: We get 12 months unemployment money. Those who end up on welfare weren't able to secure a job in that first year and likely that won't get any better when on welfare. So those 10% of Germans are likely be long-term welfare candidates. The statistics on cheating are sketchy at best but I'm also guessing it's a small number.
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:August 28th, 2012 10:03 am (UTC)
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While I am not in favour of the legalisation of drugs, and can understand employers not wanting to employ a chronic drug user, I really think it's not an employer's business if someone they employ takes recreational drugs once in a while, being careful not to do so just before going to work. If someone gets high on a Friday night but is fit for work on Monday morning, well, that's their business. Employees should be judged on their performance, not what's in their bloodstream, in my opinion.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 29th, 2012 09:29 am (UTC)
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Exactly. This isn't about drugs as such, it's about the power of employers to poke around in employees' lives, and the power of the government to coerce people into allowing it.

Makes me wild.
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From:bekitty
Date:August 28th, 2012 10:16 am (UTC)
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It's bloody dehumanising, is what it is. I'm fed up with this government. Can't we vote them out now? Please?

Edited at 2012-08-28 10:16 am (UTC)
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