Saturday, July 17, 2010
The diseased British welfare system
'£500-a-week? I can earn more on benefits!', unemployed driver tells stunned haulage boss
A haulage boss was left stunned after an unemployed driver rejected the offer of a job paying more than £500 a week so he could remain on benefits.
Graham Poole, the managing director of a 23-wagon fleet in Rochdale, offered the job to the man who had been out of work for 18 months only to be told told it was not enough to have him come off government handouts. The man turned the job down claiming he could get more money on benefits by 'sitting around at home'.
Furious Mr Poole said: 'What is wrong with this country. I was offering him more than £500 a week before tax. 'It is no wonder that so many people are out of work when others are allowed to blatantly refuse to work because their benefits are higher
'When he came along for the interview, he seemed like the right person for the job, and that is why he was offered it. 'But what annoyed me most was the way in which he rejected it by saying he could get more on benefits by sitting at home.'
Mr Poole's job offer to the man as a haulage driver included a basic weekly amount of £427.50 weekly plus up to £81 in tax free expenses. He said: 'I am sure people in Rochdale would love to know that a person is still able to go along to the local job centre, look for a job, find a job, then go for an interview for the job with all the relevant qualifications, then turn down the position saying "it would not be financially viable".
'This is not the first time this has happened. 'I believe that someone who refuses a job should have their benefits stopped automatically and they should be made to take whatever jobs are available irrespective of what the wages are.'
A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses said: 'With unemployment so high and full-time jobs so hard to come by, there is clearly too much dependency on the benefits system if people can turn down well paid, full-time work. 'The FSB welcomes coalition government proposals to extend the time that benefits can be cut for people who turn down a full-time position from six months to three years. 'We believe that through this, people will be able to get back into the workplace and that it will get Britain working again.'
Emma Boon, campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'This case shows how desperately the welfare system in this country needs to be reformed as there are currently people trapped on benefits. 'Taxpayers will be angry that they are going out to work, while others are getting just as much money without taking a job.
'The government needs to make it pay for people to go out and work. 'People should be better off if they have a job than if they stay at home on benefits.
'In addition it is simply unsustainable to have a situation where those on jobseekers' allowance are allowed to turn down suitable employment.'
Obama, Not the 'Post-' but the 'Most' Racial President
While President Obama has touted himself as a post-racial president, he has built a record demonstrating precisely the opposite. Is it Obama's bitterness, or is the incessant playing of the race card by him and many of his supporters merely calculated political exploitation -- or both? Let's look at a non-exhaustive list of examples since Obama took office.
--Feb. 18, 2009: Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, accused the nation of being a nation of cowards on race.
--April 2009: NewsBusters reported that at the behest of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Democratic Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein demanded a government inquiry into how the electronic Portable People Meter (used to measure radio ratings and which experts believe to be a far more reliable measure than the previous system) collects data. Obama's FCC indeed ordered an inquiry in the name of "diversity" because under the modern system, hip-hop ratings had declined and conservative talk ratings had increased.
--May 2009: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs warned critics of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to measure their words carefully, implying they were race-based.
--May 2009: The Obama-Holder Justice Department dismissed a case against New Black Panther Party members for voter intimidation, even though it had already won the case. Former Justice lawyer J. Christian Adams said that the NAACP lobbied Obama to have the case dismissed and that the case was dismissed based on the Justice Department's outrageous policy of not prosecuting such cases against blacks when they involve white victims.
--July 2009: Not having heard all the facts, Obama accused Cambridge, Mass., police of "acting stupidly" in arresting a friend of his, Harvard professor Henry Gates, for disorderly conduct, dangling race as a motive for the arrest.
--August 2009: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights raised constitutional questions about the Obama administration's giving preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships and favoring medical schools that have records of sending graduates to areas with inadequate health care services.
--September 2009: A video surfaced of Obama's "green jobs czar," Van Jones, saying, "You've never seen a Columbine done by a black child." It's "suburbanite white kids" who do it.
--September 2009: Obama's FCC "diversity czar," Mark Lloyd, was seen on video saying, "There are few things, I think, more frightening in the American mind than dark-skinned black men." He also said, by the way, that the Fairness Doctrine wasn't enough to restore fairness to broadcasting. In 2005, Lloyd had complained that white Americans owned and controlled 98 percent of all federal broadcast licenses. Lloyd suggested at one point that white media executives should "step down" in favor of minorities.
--September 2009: Politico reported that in a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, Obama "opened with a fiery civil rights talk, ticking off racial disparities, calling for greater enforcement of civil rights laws and saying that the new White House Office of Urban Affairs is working to address inequality." He also compared Obamacare to the civil rights struggle.
--October 2009: The Obama-Holder Justice Department overruled a decision by the city of Kinston, N.C., to do away with party affiliation of candidates in local elections, saying that equal rights for black voters cannot be achieved without the Democratic Party.
--February 2010: After Obama had twice insulted Las Vegas and discouraged tourism there, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman strongly criticized him, which led Obama supporters to accuse Goodman of racism.
--March 2010: The Obama administration filed a brief supporting racial preferences in university admissions.
--March 2010: Rep. John Lewis alleged that tea party protesters hurled racial slurs, but videos of the alleged incident did not corroborate it, making many believe the charges were fabricated.
--March 2010 -- The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said tea party opposition to Obamacare was based on hatred for "people of color." New York Times columnist Frank Rich made similar allegations.
--April 2010: WorldNetDaily reported that Gerry Hudson, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, said white American workers are "so f---ing rabidly racist" their sentiments can be used to scare blacks into supporting comprehensive immigration reform.
--April 2010: The Washington Examiner reported that a reporter asked a black protester whether he was "uncomfortable" as part of the tea party.
--Then there's the administration's playing the race card against Arizona's non-racial-profiling law, Obama's suggesting al-Qaida is racist, Obama's saying Israel is suspicious of him because of his middle name -- as opposed to his horrendous policies toward it -- and the NAACP's calling the tea party racist and then denying it.
It turns out that others are noticing this above-described phenomenon, as well, as a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll revealed that fewer and fewer people believe Obama's presidency has advanced racial relations -- 4 in 10, compared with 6 in 10 when he was inaugurated. This is a very sad turn of events in this nation.
Setting a good example in today's coddled world
“Emma” is a 70-year old British widow who originally hails from Bath. Perhaps it’s true what they say about Bath’s mineral-rich waters, because Emma looks absolutely spectacular for her age, and her energy level would make a 40-year old envious.
For the last several decades, though, Emma has been living an expat lifestyle all over the world– in Dubai, Scotland, Switzerland, and now finally in Malta.
Here’s what’s most intriguing about her, though… she’s always worked. Even as a 70-year old widow in Malta, she still has a job. In her own words Emma says, “I’m a war baby. My generation doesn’t think that anyone owes us anything, doesn’t think that it’s other people’s responsibility to take care of us.”
I recognize that a lot of people are scared to expatriate simply out of financial anxiety; they don’t know how they could find a job, make money, and pay the bills. Even with three children to take care of, though, Emma never let that uncertainty stop her.
You see, Emma always had supreme confidence in her own abilities to add value everywhere she went; she’s hard working, intelligent, and resourceful, and she knew that she would always be able to put those qualities to work for someone everywhere she went.
She was right. Even in male-dominant cultures like Dubai in the 1970s and 1980s, Emma was able to find work and thrive. Moreover, she religiously saved her wages, believing in the old adage “waste not, want not.”
For this reason, she says, she has been able to accumulate substantial retirement savings, even though she never held an extremely high paying job.
She also made the decision to denominate her savings in the Swiss franc many years ago; she set up a bank account in Switzerland when she was living there in the 1970s, and this is still the bank that she uses today. Even back then, she felt that the franc would be a better store of value than the dollar or pound.
Today, she enjoys a bountiful life on Malta’s pristine coast. Between the beautiful weather, the friendly people, the reasonable cost of living, and the work opportunities, she’s extremely happy there and is able to live well on her retirement savings and part time wage income.
Overall, I think Emma has a really interesting story of someone who has planted multiple flags (banking, employment, residence) and sought out unique opportunities around the world.
Mostly, though, I really like her strong, positive attitude. Many people in her position would probably wilt at the challenges and adversity of being a widowed mother of three. Emma has thrived. And the main reason is because she had the self-confidence to overcome excuses and limitations, and the courage to not be afraid of living free.
The obsolescence of federal censorship
Do Americans really need protection from an onslaught of indecent broadcasting?
When former NFL player Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, Americans were more moved by it than by any other soldier's death in that war. There was intense interest, particularly in Phoenix, where he had played. But local TV stations dropped coverage of his memorial service as it was going on.
Why? Because some of the speakers used bad words. His brother Richard, for example, said, "He's not with God. He's f---ing dead."
It was an honest statement at a public event. But airing it could have cost a TV station a large fine from the Federal Communications Commission—or even its license to broadcast.
The FCC has a policy against vulgar language, even in brief, unscripted outbursts. So broadcasters who know what's good for them do their best to avoid it, no matter how newsworthy, appropriate or even revealing it may be.
The Fox TV people need no reminder. In 2002, the network carried the Billboard Music Awards, where singer Cher used the F-word in reference to her detractors. The FCC moved to impose penalties on the network. But this week, a federal appeals court ruled the agency's ban on "fleeting expletives" unconstitutional.
Americans generally take a wary view of government interference and control in their lives. But for decades, federal regulators, acting at the behest of Congress and the president, have presumed to tell TV and radio stations what they can and cannot broadcast, which also means telling audiences what they may and may not hear.
Never mind that the First Amendment says Congress "shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." Elsewhere, that means what it says. The government may not ban profanity in movies, CDs, e-mails, magazines, newspapers, websites, leaflets, T-shirts, or bumper stickers. Only broadcasters are subject to these paternalistic dictates.
The reason offered by the Supreme Court in days of yore is that broadcasting is "uniquely pervasive" in American life. But today, it's barely more pervasive than other media, like cable TV and the Internet, that are immune from censorship.
This selective treatment is beginning to look like Tyrannosaurus Rex: fierce and terrifying but unsuited for the 21st century. The rules for over-the-air media no longer make any sense, and the Supreme Court may no longer be able to avoid acknowledging that reality.
The FCC has excelled in proving that federal officials cannot be trusted to make sensible or even intelligible decisions about what should be allowed. They barred a common reference to bovine excrement, but allowed the insulting use of an equally coarse term for male genitalia.
They allowed very bad words in the TV airing of Saving Private Ryan but not in a documentary about blues musicians. They forbade the use of one barnyard expletive because it came during an interview on a morning news show—then allowed it because, well, it came during an interview on a morning news show.
That leaves station owners gambling with their most valuable asset. As the appeals court noted Tuesday, when an FCC lawyer was asked "if a program about the dangers of pre-marital sex designed for teenagers would be permitted," the attorney replied gingerly, "I suspect it would."
Would I survive a single game of Russian roulette? I suspect I would.
The FCC and its supporters seem to think Americans desperately need government assistance to protect themselves and their children against an onslaught of filth. But why? Since broadcasters have an interest in not alienating their audiences, they are bound to exercise discretion.
Even Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, which caters to a mature cable audience that is not easily offended, bleeps obscenities (which are frequent). Nickelodeon has a constitutional right to feature full-frontal nudity, but it doesn't.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.