Here in Ireland we have a rather generous social welfare system, and many people depend on it for several reasons. For example; single parents depend on it for additional family support, keeping their children in education and keeping clothes on their backs. There are thousands of reasons why an individual would need social assistance and it is the states responsibility to assist whenever assistance is needed.
In 2010, the government spent almost €15.5 billion on social protection.In my own experience, those on social welfare are neither proud nor ashamed. In general there is no shame in losing one’s job, getting older, or sustaining an injury. As the population gets older more people will be availing of state benefits due to old age. This figure will rise considerably in the next 20-30 years as Ireland’s population becomes elderly.
According to Budget 2011, expenditure on social protection is set to increase. Now, this is not surprising given the number of people who are unemployed due to the current state of the country. According to my research, the Government has allocated 16.5 billion euro to social protection in 2011, compared to about 15.5 billion euro in 2010. This increase is a reflection of the unemployment crisis, but the sheer value is extremely high for a nation the size of Ireland, accounting for 39% of the total budget in 2011.
If we assume that the increase is due to increasing unemployment, then we must also assume that the previous value was lower because unemployment was lower: this is correct. However, if we go all the way back to 2006 when unemployment was low, we see that the total welfare budget for 2006 was at the same levels. In retrospect this was due to Irelands extremely generous social welfare payments; that actually encouraged people not to work.
The people that are complaining about social welfare cuts as they are occurring right now are the same people who benefited from the huge benefit increases during the good years. I am talking about a good proportion of welfare recipients here, not the minority by any means.
With sociologist reporting that half of all people on social welfare are those from disadvantaged backgrounds and at least half of these likely to spend their entire lives on benefits, due to downward social pressure from their peers (also on social welfare). It is not surprising then, that at least one quarter of all the money received by recipients of social welfare payments, is used to pay for legal and illegal drugs.
In General, the Social Welfare system is partially responsible for poor work ethic in Ireland. It remains, even now in these economic times, one of the most generous welfare systems in the world. It encourages lazy people to remain lazy, with so-called welfare lifers sponging off of the nation for their entire lives.
It is for this reason that Social Welfare is crippling the nation. If we let these parasites continue to sponge off of the state, we will literally guarantee social and economic collapse. We have to get these lazy freeloaders and social welfare lifers out of the system and into the workforce. Then we can start to invest in education and innovation; where the money should be going.