Rainer the Cabbie is all for an equitable society, but when long-term welfare users turn into, well, fare dodgers, it’s time to fix the system.
It’s a dog of an afternoon, one not expected on a Friday.
I find myself cruising endlessly through my inner city haunts looking for a fare that doesn’t exist. All I see are vacant cabs doing what I’m doing, with the same frustrating result.
Finally, after one hour, I get a fare in The X. The two fellows hailing me almost look surprised, having been passed up by many cabbies, most likely due to their fluoro vests and work paraphernalia. Not me though, knowing from experience that Sydney’s building sites are stacked with Irish lads, ruff on the outside but fair-minded and hardworking individuals.
“Maroubra, mate”, they inform me, not in the Irish accents for which I might have hoped, to a street inside a large housing commission district. It only takes sixty seconds to realise I’ve made a big mistake picking up these two punters, the one next to me taking control of the radio to tune it to some doof doof station, the backseat punter hanging out the window shouting obscenities at girls. They don’t seem too drunk, but my senses tune into their ice-induced euphoria.
This is going to be tricky, but I have my much-needed $35 in mind.
I learn a lot on the journey that follows. How “Mr Back Seat” made four hundred bucks in hand today for a job they completed in five hours, an evaluation by “Mr Front Seat” on every female driver around us into a “fuckable” or “not” category, which driver in front is a dickhead and how all the boys will meet at a certain pub tonight.
I make a mental note to avoid that place at all costs, should my night take me anywhere near it.
As we arrive in the aforementioned housing commission district, they get out, show me the finger and walk away.
As does my $35, for which I was desperate.
So what am I to do, chase them? Go to the local police station to report a runner that disappeared inside a multi-dwelling complex? Go to the taxi base and download images of the offenders?
All of the above are far too costly in time, so I get out to clean up the sand and cement left in the front and back seat. I have been in this circumstance far too often – scammed, abused and ripped off mostly by the same type of person. I have come to write this off as a loss, just like a retailer treats shoplifting. Shit happens, nothing to get too upset over.
Dealing with this type of situation has shaken my belief in our welfare system and how it is exploited by those who make their living, or pocket money, from it.
Personally, being a socially-minded person, I am deeply disappointed at the extent to which this misuse is perpetrated and the endless cycle it has produced. I still believe that the duty of a civilised society is to provide a safety net for the population as well as free health care and education – all of the stuff under threat from the ideological bulldozer approach practiced by our current government.
I have no evidence that the fellows who fleeced me were welfare recipients, although their place of abode points towards it, as does the cash-in-hand work they boasted about. Having dealt with certain housing commission types over the years, these blokes displayed the tell-tale signs of belonging to a type of generational welfare dependency group I have come to know. Their MO is usually displayed by having no respect for anyone or anything, scamming their way through life, taking advantage of every loophole available and having drug and/or alcohol dependencies. They also have the ability of cashing in on any sympathy extended by members of society who operate under the usual moral code to which most of us abide. This group make up something like 30 percent of every housing estate, at least by my own personal estimate and the sad fact is that they also bring children into the world, offspring they often seem unable to care for in a responsible or appropriate manner.
Which brings me to this article by the blogger/author John Birmingham in which he criticises former Labor politician Gary Johns for an article he wrote in the Australian. In his piece Mr. Johns links welfare payments being paid to the recipient vowing to use contraception. Oh dear, what a radical thought and civil rights breach that would be.
John Birmingham asks, “Why not just eat the poor?”
I don’t know, Birmingham does comment on a lot of social issues, but judging by my experience I reckon he got it wrong in this article. My understanding of what Gary Johns was aiming at was to find a solution to break the dysfunctional welfare cycle. His idea of “dole for condoms” is impractical, that is obvious. However, the concept might be a step in the right direction since the educating of truly dysfunctional people has shown very poor results, as the home lives to which they are subjected undo every attempt by educators to set them on a life path that will work.
Having racked my brain as how to stop the cycle of dysfunction, my solution is to give long-term welfare recipients a bonus cash payment of, let’s say fifty dollars a week, if they remain child free. Knowing some of their habits, it will work out far cheaper in the medium term with a big net saving in the long term.
One thing is for sure and has always been true, the top of society and the bottom will scam. What we shall do to stop the top is my next project, one that involves having politicians and legislators with guts.
It is clear that the rich and their scams will cost all of us a fortune. In comparison, the cost of welfare is a pittance. How to stop the rich scamming is a difficult undertaking, one that certainly can’t be achieved with contraception. Separating politicians from business power brokers might be a good start.
Let’s call it “lobbyist-contraceptives” for politicians.
Anyone willing to pen an article to The Australian on that cause?