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Tax and welfare

Policy areas

Keynes warned that government spending should not exceed 25% of GDP. In Britain today, it is almost twice that due to the extraordinary expansion of the welfare state. Welfare spending weighs down on productive workers through ever-higher taxation, and the more we become used to the idea that the state will support us, the less responsibility we take for ourselves. Governments try to cap welfare spending, but vested interests are too strong.

At least half the money spent on the welfare state goes back to the same people who paid for it with their own taxes. This 'churning' of tax and welfare makes people dependent on government who need not be. If we were allowed to keep more of our own money, we could provide more for ourselves and our dependents. Politicians would then find it more difficult to bribe us with our own money.




'Beyond Beveridge' (Civitas Report published November 2013)

'Remoralising the welfare state' CIS Occasional Paper no 131, March 2013
Download paper

'No rights without responsibility: Rebalancing the welfare state' (co-authored with Matt Oakley)
Policy Exchange Research Note, May 2011.
Download article

'Reforming the UK family tax and benefits system' Policy Exchange report, London, 2009

'The growth of conditional welfare in Australia' In Frank Field and Oliver Hartwich (ed), When hassle means help (London, Policy Exchange, 2008)

'The experience of contracting out employment services in Australia' In Peter Lilley and Oliver Hartwich (eds), Paying for Success (London, Policy Exchange, 2008)

'Declaring dependence, declaring independence' Centre for Independent Studies Occasional Paper No.111, 2008

'What are low ability workers to do when unskilled jobs disappear?' Part I (Issue Analysis No.91, 2007) and Part II (Issue Analysis No.93, 2008), Centre for Independent Studies.
Download: Part I Part II

The Government Giveth, and the Government Taketh Away (Centre for Independent Studies 2007). Government 'churns' money by taking it from us in tax, only to give it back as welfare and family payments
Buy from CIS

'A welfare state for those who want one, opt outs for those who don't'
Issue Analysis No.79, 2007, Centre for Independent Studies

Taxploitation: The case for income tax reform (Centre for Independent Studies 2006). Edited collection of essays on how to reform the Australian tax system
Buy from CIS

Australia's Welfare Habit - and how to kick it (Duffy & Snellgrove/Centre for Independent Studies, 2004). "The best guide we can have" (The West Australian)
Buy from CIS

Reforming the Australian Welfare State Edited collection of essays published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2000.
Out of print

'Popular attitudes to state welfare services'
Social Affairs Unit Research Report no.11, 1989 (with Colin Harris)

Simple lessons on offer in plugging the welfare drain
Weekend Australian, 7 June 2014
Read (paywall) or here

Faculti online interview based on my report Beyond Beveridge
Published on YouTube 13 December 2013

Replacing National Insurance with personal welfare accounts
LBC News, 25 November 2013

Intergenerational transmission of joblessness
BBC Radio Gloucestershire, 22 August 2013

The need to discriminate when offering welfare support
Radio 2GB, 16 January 2013

Drawing the distinction between deserving and undeserving poor
ABC-TV 'The Drum' 22 August 2012

The three key rules for a fair welfare system
The Weekend Australian, 18 August 2012

Those who can work must not be paid to sit at home
The Australian, 1 July 2011

Britons brace for age of austerity
The Australian, 8 October 2010

Welfare reform requires sticks as well as carrots
'Jeff Randall Live', Sky News, 14 September 2010

Tax and welfare reform in Australia (the Henry proposals)
ABC National, Australia Talks, 21 June 2010

Price of money for nothing
The Australian 13 December 2008

Back to work in Brown's Britain
The Australian, 26 July 2008

Would you be happy asking friends for $512.66 every week?
The Australian 19 March 2008

Saving the long-term jobless
Weekend Australian, 16 February 2008

More education and training is not the answer
Life Matters, 6 December 2007

Conditional welfare makes sense
The Australian, 3 July 2007

Stop the churning to extend benefits
The Australian, 30 January 2007

Pollies teach us to pick our own pockets
Melbourne Age, 2 June 2006

Pokie principle a winner
The Australian, 9 May 2006

Future funds for everyone
The Australian, 2 January 2006

Learning lessons from the Cinderella Man
The Melbourne Age, 2 November, 2005

Learning lessons from US welfare reform
(debate with Lawrence Mead and Eva Cox)
ABC, 2 August 2004

Many people claiming disability payments could work
Channel 9
Today, 7 April 2004

After 6 months, unemployment benefits should be linked to work activity
Channel 7
Breakfast 11 September 2003

Launch of Tom Palmer's 'After the welfare state' (with me as discussant), Sydney 8 April 2013
View video and Q&A

CIS Big Ideas Forum 'Welfare without the state' Sydney, 27 August 2012
view presentation
view Q&A session

Presentation to New Zealand Welfare Reform Working Group, June 2010
Watch video
Read submission

'Globalisation, wages and welfare reform' Keynote presentation to Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Executive Retreat, Melbourne, August 2007
View slides

'Tax-welfare churning' Australian Institute of Family Studies seminar, Melbourne, July 2007
View slides

'A welfare state for the 21st century' Paper to Australian National University Demography seminar, Canberra, March 2006
View slides

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