Sunday, 28 October 2012

Iain's Big Brother

Yesterday I was listening to Any Answers and of all the subjects on Any Questions, the possibility of cutting benefits caused the most replies. The subject came up because Iain Duncan Smith announced on Thursday that child-related benefits for families may be capped at two children. He did this because he feels that benefits meant that some families no longer thought about whether they could afford to have children. According to Iain families had to cut their cloth according to their capabilities and the money available.

The welfare state looks after the poor and needy and if you have children then it's much easier to fall into that safety net. The trouble is that it isn't a very good net. If you want an idea on the strength of that net the you could do worse than watch the programme on TV yesterday evening -  What Sitcoms Say About America Now. The comedy in The Middle summed up the devastating impact of a parent losing a job, and it doesn't agree with Iain's view. This family are panicking and it isn't related to a few pounds of benefit related to a third child. 

What if the parents have jobs and then lose them when they already have children? Iain's answer is quite simplistic and he is a person who is often praised for his concern for the poor. Families do not tend to be rich. Iain believes that benefits are too generous and working parents have to think twice about the cost of having children. I wonder what he thinks about the Chinese one-child policy. George Orwell's Big Brother would have been in favour.

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