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The Easy Life





paul_indo
News.com.au
28 Dec 2009

Quote:
A MOTHER and father with an incredible 14 kids who prove Britain's benefits system has gone bonkers, showering them with a whopping tax-free £36,847 (US$58,815) a year in handouts.

Pregnant Dawn and Sean Cain's huge family, aged 21 years to 19 months, have just enjoyed a very merry Christmas, with every mouthful of their turkey dinner, and every present stuffed under their tree, paid for by taxpayers.

To match their breathtaking haul from the public purse Sean would have to clinch a job paying a gross salary of £51,500 ($82,200). Britain's average salary is just £21,320 ($34,000).

And although he is able, he's definitely not willing.

He and wife Dawn admit their New Year's resolution is never to find work, because no job they'd get in Britain's recession-hit economy will come close to paying the same.

Sean hasn't lifted a finger since 2003 when he took time off to help Dawn handle a problem with the kids. He soon realised he was better off on benefits and has stayed home ever since.

"With the social giving us £700 (US$1,100) a week why should I work for anything less? There's no point me even trying to look for a job. I've got a family of 15 to support," he said.

"People could call us scroungers, but what would they do in the same situation?"

And unlike most of Britain's workforce they're in for a payrise, as Dawn expects child number 15 in April.

The 20-a-day smoker, who has never worked since she became a mother at the age of 18, said, "People expect us to be scruffy and dirty because we're such a big family, but we're not.

"I look after my kids well and make sure we get by. And every Christmas I make sure they get everything they want."

This year, those taxpayer-funded gifts totalled £2,000 ($3,200) and included mobile phones, bikes, scooters, a camcorder, hair straighteners and a Wii games console.


Isn't this insane?

I just can't believe governments can be so stupid and people so lazy and greedy.
deanhills
paul_indo wrote:
News.com.au
28 Dec 2009

Quote:
A MOTHER and father with an incredible 14 kids who prove Britain's benefits system has gone bonkers, showering them with a whopping tax-free £36,847 (US$58,815) a year in handouts.

Pregnant Dawn and Sean Cain's huge family, aged 21 years to 19 months, have just enjoyed a very merry Christmas, with every mouthful of their turkey dinner, and every present stuffed under their tree, paid for by taxpayers.

To match their breathtaking haul from the public purse Sean would have to clinch a job paying a gross salary of £51,500 ($82,200). Britain's average salary is just £21,320 ($34,000).

And although he is able, he's definitely not willing.

He and wife Dawn admit their New Year's resolution is never to find work, because no job they'd get in Britain's recession-hit economy will come close to paying the same.

Sean hasn't lifted a finger since 2003 when he took time off to help Dawn handle a problem with the kids. He soon realised he was better off on benefits and has stayed home ever since.

"With the social giving us £700 (US$1,100) a week why should I work for anything less? There's no point me even trying to look for a job. I've got a family of 15 to support," he said.

"People could call us scroungers, but what would they do in the same situation?"

And unlike most of Britain's workforce they're in for a payrise, as Dawn expects child number 15 in April.

The 20-a-day smoker, who has never worked since she became a mother at the age of 18, said, "People expect us to be scruffy and dirty because we're such a big family, but we're not.

"I look after my kids well and make sure we get by. And every Christmas I make sure they get everything they want."

This year, those taxpayer-funded gifts totalled £2,000 ($3,200) and included mobile phones, bikes, scooters, a camcorder, hair straighteners and a Wii games console.


Isn't this insane?

I just can't believe governments can be so stupid and people so lazy and greedy.
I would love to know how they work their budget, as how does one get to feed 16 people on an income of 58,000 US$? This mother must be really good at stretching the income and being almost permanently pregnant all the time. Amazing how the National Healthcare System must be carrying the cost of all the pregnancies as well? The story sounds almost too good to be true.
AftershockVibe
The reason why this is (barely) tolerated is because these people are the exception. Obviously, the system would fall apart if everyone did this. Nobody is going to argue that these people are greedy, lazy and gaming the system.

They are also treading a very dangerous line. All it takes is one politician to take up a case against them and its all over. The first rule of being a greedy cheat is to not brag about it.

Relatedly:
The reason why small time benefit fraud exists in general in the UK is because it would cost more to "police" it than it would just to let it happen. While this may not be empirically fair, it makes sense. This case is slightly different though because of the scale and pride taken by the family.

Also, while it doesn't make a difference to the greed itself, I strongly suspect the article is making up figures for greater impact. For example, it is not stated whether any of their children have jobs. Anyone over 16 and not in full time education would be expected to.

If they do have jobs then it isn't true that every present under the tree is paid for by the tax payer. If they don't then this would of course cut massively into the single hypothetical £51K "job". 4 people's benefits (mother, father + 2 children) = 4 "jobs" at £13K each which is roughly minimum wage. Still too much, but not quite as shocking though is it?
deanhills
AftershockVibe wrote:
They are also treading a very dangerous line. All it takes is one politician to take up a case against them and its all over. The first rule of being a greedy cheat is to not brag about it.
I'm almost certain that the Government must have wizened up to them by now. Probably not a good idea to publicize their "good fortune" to the extent that they did. Next time when they complete a form, or submit their claim, there may be very specific questions asked. I wonder whether this good luck will last especially when they are spouting their mouths off the way they have been doing!
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I wonder whether this good luck will last especially when they are spouting their mouths off the way they have been doing!

That's entitlement for you.

They probably have a good sense of how much they deserve it, and the government owes it to them. To be denied would be an outrage.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
That's entitlement for you.

They probably have a good sense of how much they deserve it, and the government owes it to them. To be denied would be an outrage.
I guess this is a direct product of sheer idiocy, but also socialism. Would be horrible if that should manifest itself in the US. Perhaps that would be a good measure of the US not being socialist ...... "yet". Shocked
AftershockVibe
deanhills wrote:
I guess this is a direct product of sheer idiocy, but also socialism. Would be horrible if that should manifest itself in the US. Perhaps that would be a good measure of the US not being socialist ...... "yet". Shocked


As horrible as the denying medical treatment to people because they cannot afford it? I know I'm putting words in your mouth here, that don't accurately represent your views Wink

But to most Europeans it's bizarre the way many Americans are afraid of some sort of socialist boogeyman. As if there is somehow no middle ground between helping those who need it for the overall benefit of society versus anarchistic freeloading. There are 60 million people in the UK, this is one family.
ocalhoun
AftershockVibe wrote:

But to most Europeans it's bizarre the way many Americans are afraid of some sort of socialist boogeyman.

Partly that's a result of the cold war... Decades of propaganda against the 'commies' won't wear off in just a few years.
There is a legitimate danger in socialism though... read Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. And many are (legitimately) concerned about a gradual slide into that type of situation by way of ever-increasing government involvement.
Quote:
As if there is somehow no middle ground between helping those who need it for the overall benefit of society versus anarchistic freeloading. There are 60 million people in the UK, this is one family.

There's nothing anarchistic about it... It's quite the opposite, actually, being very, very populist.

Now, there is middle ground, and many European countries have shown that one can have a partially socialistic system without a (major) slide towards totalitarianism. The book I mentioned mainly warns against the dangers of fully socialist systems, which has been demonstrated well enough.
deanhills
AftershockVibe wrote:
But to most Europeans it's bizarre the way many Americans are afraid of some sort of socialist boogeyman.
Ocalhoun said it very well for me. In addition, I just can't picture Americans being afraid of socialism. Rather than being afraid of it, some Americans may see socialism as a threat and obstacle to creating wealth? Isn't that what everyone is living for in the "American Dream"? Being able to become wealthy? So socialism would then stand in the way of becoming wealthy?

Isn't it why huge numbers of English and Europeans emigrated to the United States? To get away from paying big taxes and being able to accumulate wealth on their own merit with as little Government interference in the process as is possible?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:

Isn't it why huge numbers of English and Europeans emigrated to the United States? To get away from paying big taxes and being able to accumulate wealth on their own merit with as little Government interference in the process as is possible?

One reason out of many... But a semi-socialist, high-benefit, high-tax, highly-involved government may be the last nail in the coffin of 'the land of opportunity'. (Don't get me wrong... there are already several 'nails' in that 'coffin'.)
paul_indo
To me the real problem here is that a couple with no jobs and no money of there own would have the cheek to have so many children and expect the working public to support them. they are selfish, ignorant, spongers in my opinion.
ocalhoun
paul_indo wrote:
they are selfish, ignorant, spongers in my opinion.

Well, they are selfish spongers, but I don't see where you find evidence of their ignorance...
paul_indo
Either ignorant in that they don't realise how destructive their behavior is and how it drains funds for genuine needy people, or just complete a**holes if they do know and don't care.
Take your pick, ignorant or a**holes?
deanhills
paul_indo wrote:
Either ignorant in that they don't realise how destructive their behavior is and how it drains funds for genuine needy people, or just complete a**holes if they do know and don't care.
Take your pick, ignorant or a**holes?
I thought they were quite brilliant in working out how they can live without having to go out and fight for jobs. The part that I thought was not so bright was actually spouting their mouths off about their accomplishments. It may work to the detriment of their funding as they may have identified themselves for investigation by the local authorities.
ocalhoun
paul_indo wrote:

Take your pick, ignorant or a**holes?

Probably the latter, as we've already agreed about selfishness...
tingkagol
Quote:
"I look after my kids well and make sure we get by."

They're probably teaching their kids "the trade", preparing to pass on the tradition to another generation of moochers.

Good for them though. Most of the people who live their lifestyles are reduced to begging in the streets. It's really just a dirty workaround in the system and it sickens me.
jmi256
AftershockVibe wrote:
The reason why this is (barely) tolerated is because these people are the exception. Obviously, the system would fall apart if everyone did this. Nobody is going to argue that these people are greedy, lazy and gaming the system.

How exactly are they “gaming the system”? The system was set up to ‘reward’ this behavior and these people took the opportunity. It’s interesting that you would attack the people who have used the system as it was designed, yet fail to fault the system that makes this possible.

AftershockVibe wrote:
They are also treading a very dangerous line. All it takes is one politician to take up a case against them and its all over. The first rule of being a greedy cheat is to not brag about it.

The only “danger” I see is more people wising up and realizing that the government has created and taxpayers are supporting a system that was set up this way. (I’m being sarcastic of course, and I hope more people do open their eyes at the idiotic systems they have allowed.) How exactly is the family being “greedy?” I didn’t see anything illegal that they did. They seem to have followed the system to a T and are benefiting. I’m not saying that I personally agree with it, in fact I think the system should be changed. But to claim that the family is to fault for following the logical results of yet another poorly conceived, nanny-state program, instead of the program/nanny state that is actually responsible is disingenuous. That’s like blaming an alarm clock for going off at 4 am instead of the person who set the alarm clock. And what politician do you think is going to have the balls to make a stand and fix the system that demands personal responsibility while publically turning a family of 16 out on its ear? Going public is probably the smartest thing this family has done. If not, there was a possibility that someone would quietly make some adjustments. If that would happen now, the person who takes that action will be attacked by liberals and progressives as ‘heartless.’


AftershockVibe wrote:
Relatedly:
The reason why small time benefit fraud exists in general in the UK is because it would cost more to "police" it than it would just to let it happen. While this may not be empirically fair, it makes sense. This case is slightly different though because of the scale and pride taken by the family.

Again, what “fraud” was committed? It sounds like the disgust stems from the fact that the family was honest in their lack of ‘gratitude’. But why should they be grateful if this is a ‘right’? If something is a right there is no reason to feel gratitude toward someone for granting it, and the family (and I suspect many more) have come to believe this portion of liberal/progressive ideology.

AftershockVibe wrote:
Also, while it doesn't make a difference to the greed itself, I strongly suspect the article is making up figures for greater impact. For example, it is not stated whether any of their children have jobs. Anyone over 16 and not in full time education would be expected to.

If they do have jobs then it isn't true that every present under the tree is paid for by the tax payer. If they don't then this would of course cut massively into the single hypothetical £51K "job". 4 people's benefits (mother, father + 2 children) = 4 "jobs" at £13K each which is roughly minimum wage. Still too much, but not quite as shocking though is it?

Perhaps. But unless there is contradictory evidence, I would take the report at face value instead of trying to attack the reporter of “making up numbers.” But once again, I think it’s displaced anger to blame the reporter (or the family) when presented the result of foolish policy instead of the policy itself.
AftershockVibe
jmi256 wrote:
How exactly are they “gaming the system”? The system was set up to ‘reward’ this behavior and these people took the opportunity. It’s interesting that you would attack the people who have used the system as it was designed, yet fail to fault the system that makes this possible.


The system was not set up to reward this behaviour. That they can claim the "opportunity" is a side-effect of the design and against its original intent.

jmi256 wrote:
The only “danger” I see is more people wising up and realizing that the government has created and taxpayers are supporting a system that was set up this way. (I’m being sarcastic of course, and I hope more people do open their eyes at the idiotic systems they have allowed.) How exactly is the family being “greedy?” I didn’t see anything illegal that they did. They seem to have followed the system to a T and are benefiting. I’m not saying that I personally agree with it, in fact I think the system should be changed. But to claim that the family is to fault for following the logical results of yet another poorly conceived, nanny-state program, instead of the program/nanny state that is actually responsible is disingenuous. That’s like blaming an alarm clock for going off at 4 am instead of the person who set the alarm clock. And what politician do you think is going to have the balls to make a stand and fix the system that demands personal responsibility while publically turning a family of 16 out on its ear? Going public is probably the smartest thing this family has done. If not, there was a possibility that someone would quietly make some adjustments. If that would happen now, the person who takes that action will be attacked by liberals and progressives as ‘heartless.’


That danger is exactly why it's not sensible.

However, this is greed regardless of whether the rules allow it. Law does not define morality. An alarm clock is a machine but people have choice. Furthermore, it is not unreasonable to design a system which relies on the general values of society in order to function. The fact that the UK economy hasn't collapsed and not everyone is simply trying this is evidence of that.

jmi256 wrote:
Again, what “fraud” was committed? It sounds like the disgust stems from the fact that the family was honest in their lack of ‘gratitude’. But why should they be grateful if this is a ‘right’? If something is a right there is no reason to feel gratitude toward someone for granting it, and the family (and I suspect many more) have come to believe this portion of liberal/progressive ideology.


Ah, indeed. The "relatedly:" was meant to indicate that this was an aside. This is not fraud, but I was attempting to point out that there is no such thing as a perfect system. Or rather, that the closer to perfect you get, the more it costs. At some point, you have to compromise. These people are an example of imperfection. The benefit system was not designed with people like this in mind.

I see what you mean by pointing out that such people believe that this money may be their "right". However, belief is not fact. If this is perceived as unjust by the general population (and publicity can only help this) then if a policitician believes it is practicable to do so, the rules change and the money is restricted.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe this family is ever going to be begging on the street. It's just not a very sensible thing to brag about it. Even if, and that's a big if, you think you're invincible, why make yourself a target?

jmi256 wrote:
Perhaps. But unless there is contradictory evidence, I would take the report at face value instead of trying to attack the reporter of “making up numbers.” But once again, I think it’s displaced anger to blame the reporter (or the family) when presented the result of foolish policy instead of the policy itself.


The reporter must, by necessity "make up numbers" since the job in question is hypothetical. That was not a slight on the reporter, it was a comment on how journalism works. Reporters sell stories. Bigger headline: better, more emotive story. His numbers were no more incorrect than mine and yet they provoke a stronger reaction.

I am not saying that the system can't be improved and I'm not saying that I don't want the system improved, if it is sensible to do so. I am saying that the solution to an exploitable system is not no system.
ocalhoun
AftershockVibe wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
How exactly are they “gaming the system”? The system was set up to ‘reward’ this behavior and these people took the opportunity. It’s interesting that you would attack the people who have used the system as it was designed, yet fail to fault the system that makes this possible.


The system was not set up to reward this behaviour. That they can claim the "opportunity" is a side-effect of the design and against its original intent.

Yes, the intent was not for this sort of thing... But the design to make good on that intention is flawed, so the design of the system provides opportunity for this to happen.

If a private institution was giving them money, the institution would probably take it away or reduce the amount when this abuse of it came to light. But, since they're getting the money from the government, it is a 'right', and cannot be taken away.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
If a private institution was giving them money, the institution would probably take it away or reduce the amount when this abuse of it came to light. But, since they're getting the money from the government, it is a 'right', and cannot be taken away.
Perhaps Government needs to amend its legislation so that those who get past No. X pregnancy, after X number of years of support by Government, would agree to sterilization to avoid further pregnancies? It sounds pretty lethal, but would only apply to long-term beneficiaries.
AftershockVibe
Quote:
Perhaps Government needs to amend its legislation so that those who get past No. X pregnancy, after X number of years of support by Government, would agree to sterilization to avoid further pregnancies? It sounds pretty lethal, but would only apply to long-term beneficiaries.


Ha! That is an even worse design than the one currently. Spend an extra £51K per year or give the government power to arbitrarily decide who can breed?!! I know which system I prefer!
deanhills
AftershockVibe wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps Government needs to amend its legislation so that those who get past No. X pregnancy, after X number of years of support by Government, would agree to sterilization to avoid further pregnancies? It sounds pretty lethal, but would only apply to long-term beneficiaries.


Ha! That is an even worse design than the one currently. Spend an extra £51K per year or give the government power to arbitrarily decide who can breed?!! I know which system I prefer!
I don't think it would be unrealistic to make a ruling that if the recipients are on welfare, and they have 4 children, any excess in children would not receive more support, in other words, the parents would either have to make do with the support they have for the four children and stretch it to cover additional children, or stop having children. The system as it has been shown to be in the example, encourages parents to have more children.
paul_indo
Quote:
I don't think it would be unrealistic to make a ruling that if the recipients are on welfare, and they have 4 children, any excess in children would not receive more support


That=s exactly the sort of thing that governments should do but I guess that would bee discrimination or something these days.
ocalhoun
paul_indo wrote:
Quote:
I don't think it would be unrealistic to make a ruling that if the recipients are on welfare, and they have 4 children, any excess in children would not receive more support


That=s exactly the sort of thing that governments should do but I guess that would bee discrimination or something these days.

They should do it, but no politician will take the heat for being the one who's 'starving that 5th child'.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
They should do it, but no politician will take the heat for being the one who's 'starving that 5th child'.
Realistically though if allowances have been received along the lines described for four children, perhaps they will be able to scrape by with four allowances for five children? The allowances would then start to work to their advantage on a diminishing scale, and they may be discouraged to have more children?
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