Sunday, May 10, 2015

Productive citizens

"Increased child-care benefits for working parents." Great news on the face of it, but behind it sits the notion that Australian parents should be economic units contributing to the greater financial well-being of Australia. The child-care package announced today (on Mother's Day!) by Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison is designed to help trim the Budget, for example tighter benefit caps, while also encouraging parents (mainly, but not always mums) to re-enter the workforce. Amy and I are happy to receive welfare if we qualify, but the underlying assumption is that it's better for Amy to be in the workforce. With steep house prices, Amy may end up doing that and extra childcare benefits could be very helpful.
"[However] the extra spending of $3.5 billion over four years is contingent on the Senate passing cuts in last year's budget to Family Tax Benefits, including stopping payments entirely to single-income families when children turn six."
If governments have a role in protecting and encouraging human flourishing then why must it be measured financially? Why is it that single income families can't flourish? This is because financial prosperity is the matrix of progress in much of the secular world. One of the challenges of Christianity to help challenge this status quo and carve out cultural territory that is not measured financially. Books read, songs sung and people loved.