What are the ethics of welfare reform?Comment is Free published two responses, one by Amelia Shellan and the other by Nick Spencer. Considering the importance of this subject right now, even though the question is general rather than specific to current welfare reforms going through Parliament, I thought I should make a response in the comment section. I re-post it here because I'm a view-seeking whore.
It should first be said there is no 'holy grail' of welfare reform, there can be no welfare system on which an overwhelming majority of people can agree is fine. This is because there are two competing worldviews about it and I am going to be blatantly unfair to one of them because I think this perspective deserves it, it has earned it. There are those that believe in social security and those that plain and simply do not. In much of the west, those who are in favour have long won the argument and it's impossible to disagree; so most opponents sugar-coat their ideals by saying they want a welfare system but with exceptions, nuances and often dishonest, inaccurate and unbalanced conditions. If what they wanted were to be implemented, it would be as good as there being no social security at all. Hence when the usual justifications for reforms or opposition to greater social security coverage are trotted out: expense, fraud etc, numbers should always be demanded. In the case of fraud, if they are unable to say what level of fraud is tolerable(not to be confused with 'acceptable') or they say 'zero', then they are either not taking the subject seriously or do not actually believe in any social security system.