‘Welfare Fraud’ – So What?

Reposting from one of my facebook arguments:

Nathan, you have mentioned a great deal that is problematic – time is limited, so I will just focus on the point regarding welfare fraud. Outside of the fact that your neighbours’ financial status is really none of your business, this is really an issue of framing and by removing the context, its quite easy to paint a picture for the purpose of reinforcing problematic discourses. So, let’s bring back the context … rates of fraud in the welfare system is 20x less than the rate of fraud in the income tax system. The emphasis in public discourse and in your discussions on welfare fraud is but an example of poor bashing, a non-issue made into an issue. 

But, really, if we take another step back, even this fact is besides the point. If there was really widespread welfare fraud … so what? Why is it that when the rich earn billions through gaming the system, by gambling on food prices or accessing tax loop holes, they are heralded as savvy and entrepreneurial, while when a family with two children decides that living on welfare at rates $20,000 below the poverty line is better than working deadend jobs (if they are lucky enough to find one) that pay the same amount/or less? It’s a complete double standard here. Full employment is a myth in capitalism, and besides, there’s no glory in making widgets for some rich white guy, so why not go on welfare, hardly the life of luxury, if this is the way the game is set up. 

The fact of the matter is that people try to survive one way or the other, and if there is a genuine concern regarding so-called ‘apathy’, let’s instead envision and draw on alternatives to what we have today. Let’s talk about having societies built on community participation and ownership of means of production. Let’s talk about having societies built on the principle of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. Let’s draw on the Spanish Revolution, Black Panther Party organizing, or the Zapatistas of Chiapas, where mutual aid and community decision-making were/are emphasized. Fuck these crocodile tears about the apparently great injustice of some family that decided to receive some meagre sum from the welfare system.