Neoliberal restructuring of the civil state, wasted taxpayers money, and what about the jobs.

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shartal@rogers.com
Neoliberal restructuring of the civil state, wasted taxpayers money, and what about the jobs.

One of the neolibs central objectives is the retrenchment of the welfare state social programs.However many, particularly those tied to health and age, are politically popular. They are also expensive. Cutting welfare by 23 percent cannot permanently lower welfare cost if the number of people in need continues to grow. Thus neolibs from Reagan's and Thatcher's time entrenched additional bureacratic barriers to access through complicating application and documentation requirements for most public social welfare,pension and health programs. It becomes "denial by process"; in legal writings it is described as "bureaucratic disentitlement." This program redesign was undertaken in relation to many provincial and federal program. This resulted in many programs; including CPP, CPPD, GAINS, EI, ODSP, Trillium drug program etc, adopting more complicated application and documentation requirements. This has led to lower " uptake"; the number of people who actually sucessfully apply for the program.

As a result people who should be on these programs,program that have significant popular support as they support people who are often medically very unwell or over 65 years old, often either never get benefits or receive benefits years after they should have started them. However this also leads to an increase in the public employment related to these programs as more staff was needed to evaluate the increased paperwork. Concurrently more individuals in need ended up dependent upon the municipal shelter systems. It is estimated that the City of Toronto could "save" at least $100 million it the 1,500 (estimated) individuals who live with severe mental health and addiction disabilities who live as long term residents in Toronto's shelters were helped to establish ODSP benefits. In principle this would also lead to a redistribution of public employment from municiple shelters to community support programs and the provincil ODSP. These program conflicts and increased poverty through denial by process brought about by neoliberal restructuring to undercut social programs is a major element in the intensification of poverty in Canada. But it is not part of our public political discourse. For example to the best of my knowledge none of our leadership candidates have ever mentioned the massive failure of access to the social safety net programs. D

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