Page 2, 29th April 1949

29th April 1949
Page 2
Page 2, 29th April 1949 — THE WELFARE STATE

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People: Brogan, Sullivan, Bevan
Locations: Rome


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A Real Insurance ?

SIR,--I am afraid that Mr. Brogan has added himself to those charged by Mr. Sullivan with mis representation and has substantiated the charge in respect of himself. In reply to my criticism

of his fetter of March 25, Mr. Brogan writes on April 8, paragraph 3: " I said that the tacit assumption

behind our inflated Social Security is the belief that the ordinary man and woman particularly in the

working class, Cm not to be trusted to spend their money wisely." (My italics.) Compare what he did say on March 25, para. 7. "Smut Security no longer means taking money from the rich and spending it on the poor. It means taking money from the poor and spending it for them on the assumption that they are not to be trusted to spend their own earnings in a common sense and responsible way." Quite

bluntly, this is misrepresentation unless Mr. Editor or his printer has

erred. Quite clearly he forgot or never knew that all classes of the adult population were contributors with the main exception of married women, if they so chose. I corrected him in pare, 2 of my letter of April 1. But why did he not acknowledge the error and correction instead of insinuating the words italicised

above and claiming, perhaps in good faith but nevertheless mcorrectly that he used them on March 25 ?

Would he please furnish references to Chesterton. I cannot think that Chesterton called social security

slavery. Five acres and a cow were

dear to him. The filching of the

Englishman's cow, fields. woods and

commons were the beginnings of the individualistic hand-out and extinc

tion of a security which, alas, can now be made good substantially only by the State.

Now for an examination of his objection to my point that reason able people in the past have

entrusted part of their earnings, in the form of insurance premiums, to be spent for them. He says " C. S.

defends Social Security by likening it to insurance but it is not insurance.

A man who insures has free choice."

The writer or writers of the following excerpt contradict Mr. Brogan.

"Compulsory social insurance began

nearly 60 years ago in Germany" and "Social insurance has made the principal contribution to social se

curity (pages ii and 22 Approaches to Social Security, Series M. No. 18.

International Labour Office, 1942).

The ordinary man has no need to be reminded of this for he pays for his social security, of which two of the Acts are entitled " National Insur ance Act," Mr. Brogan. however.

claims that he is echoing Lord Beveridge in saying that Social Security is not insurance. Very curious. For Lord Beveridge says in his famous Report 1942, page 9:

" The main feature of the Plan for Social Security is a scheme of social insurance against interruption and

destruction of earning power." I should be grateful for Mr. Brogan's

reference showing Lord Beveridge contradicting himself. Otherwise. with pain. I must assume Mr. Brogan to have misrepresented him.

Again I must ask for references for Mr. Bevan's statement that the

Health Act is not contributory. The facts are that every man, woman and child in the ceuntry (and, delight fully, foreign visitors too t) may use

the Health Service irrespective of contribution qualification, but it is financed (1) from local rates, (2) from the Exchequer, (3) from the Insurance Fund. I am reasonably sure that Mr. Bevan is aware of this third item.

Mr. Brogan asks "Can C. S. see any connection between the wage

freeze and the Health Act? " 'Yes, I can, and also between the wage freeze and every other item of governmental expenditure, but it does not weigh against the Health Act till proved to be a preponder ating cause of the wage freeze by comparison with other expenditure items, and the onus of the proof is on Mr. Brogan. Note that the

Health Act comes into force three months after the wage freeze of

February 1948. To help the Martian visitor who has seen social security condemned from the Health Act, I mention the other components, viz, the Family Allowances Act, the National Insurance (Industrial In juries) Act, the National Insurance Act, and the Act dealing with Public Assistance. The 60000 empty hos pital beds are, I believe, due to lack of staff. Nurses working conditions could have been improved years be

fore the Health Ace I leave your nursing readers to debate whether or not the shortage of nurses is due to bad conditions and wages.

But let us turn to the interpreters of doctrine appointed by Rome who gave a grand Amen to Social Security four years before our unified system became law. "A social system that tolerates insecurity for its people and allows any of them to suffer want through no fault of their own is not only economically unsound, but, what is much worse. is a moral disgrace. Human welfare ought to rank higher than economic power." (Page 4, Joint Letter of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, June

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