Am I better off on the dole?
The Irish media has been flooded with chatter over a certain report that claims thousands of families would be better off on the dole. What’s going on?
What’s the story with people being better off on the dole?
Well a bloke called Professor Richard Tol was putting a report together for the ERSI called, ‘The Costs of Working in Ireland’. According to Prof Tol, he used two separate sets of CSO data for the report in question and his conclusion was that some families would be better off on the dole. However, Tol recently took up a job over in the UK at Sussex University, so the report was left to be cleaned up by someone else. Someone who obviously didn’t check what was in it.
Who’s this Tol guy?
Richard S.J. Tol was born in Holland in 1969 (explains the hair-do). He’s currently a professor of economics at the University of Sussex, but before this he was an economist working with the ERSI. He has a fairly strong view on climate change and once stated that “the impact of climate change is relatively small”. So he’s certainly not afraid to speak his mind.
Interesting bloke, so what exactly did his report find?
Well, according to the Irish Independent, the report found that 44 per cent of families with children would be better off not working, which is a fair chunk of society just sitting on their asses.
The report also states that working people incur five times the expense of those out of a job. This is sure to have an effect on the 430,000 people who are currently on the Live Register. No doubt some of them would be discouraged from getting a job once they hear what this report has to say.
Really? Well, what do the ERSI have to say about the report?
They’re saying that the public could be misled by the findings and that 44 per cent of families wouldn’t necessarily be better off on the dole. However, they’ve come under some scrutiny today after they pulled the report late last night saying that the paper had been issued as a “work in progress”.
So how did it get out?
Well the report was released on the ERSI website. They’re claiming, however, that no senior member of the ESRI had seen the report beforehand so they pulled it after they realised what was in it.
And what’s being done now?
Well, the ESRI director Frances Ruane said last night the institute was disassociating itself from the paper, even though one of their experts at the time (Prof Tol) made the findings. According to them, the working paper was issued as a work-in-progress document on May 22 and should not be regarded as an ESRI report.
Sounds like someone really messed up?
Well you wouldn’t be the only person who thought that. Fianna Fail’s Michael McGrath said the ESRI should be brought before an Oireachtas committee and he called the whole fiasco a “cock-up”. We think most people will agree with him.