Hadia Tajik tries to rethink child benefit – Dagsavisen

The Labor Party is scrambling to get up on its knees, and precisely the party that brought forward the welfare state must come up with solutions against neo-poverty and expensive times. That Ap is also behind in the area of ​​poverty speaks volumes about the party’s crisis. Jonas Gahr Støre’s team struggled to communicate clearly about the electricity crisis, at least enough to reassure the business community and parts of LO. Now Støres Ap is struggling to secure people sitting at the bottom of the table; those who for various reasons are dependent on NAV support and see that their private finances are becoming unmanageable.

Child benefit is a well-documented equalizer of inequality, and new this year is that several parties will increase child benefit from NOK 1,676 a month for children under six, and NOK 1,054 a month for children over six. Child benefit stood still from 1996 to 2020 before KrF got approval for an increase. Now the board of Rogaland Ap proposes a new increase. The county team refers to calculations from the Ministry of Finance, which state that the ordinary child benefit can be increased from NOK 12,648 a year to NOK 20,157 without the state’s tax and levy income changing. An increase must be supported, but the “new thinking” Hadia Tajik refers to in VG is so out of step with social democracy that not even the Conservative Party has come up with the same proposal. The Rogaland representative wants Ap to consider taxing child benefit through income tax. Here, Tajik and several other Ap politicians are on wild paths away from the principle of universal welfare schemes.

Child benefit is the same for everyone, regardless of whether you are poor or rich. School and higher education are just as free for children of millionaire parents as children of workers. The principle of equal welfare for all was the mainstay of APS’ construction of a welfare state after the war. Einar Gerhardsen’s belief was that no one should stand with their hat in hand to get help. That poor people should not have their lives turned upside down by welfare inspectors like Sara Berge – the great horror of the interwar period in Stavanger – was a lesson that the doctor and social minister Sven Oftedal took with him into Gerhardsen’s first governments.

Universal welfare or means-tested schemes are contradictions that separate the left and the right. The idea is that the redistribution should take place through the tax bill or through salary settlements. By moving away from the universal principle, it opens the door to the dangerous process of means-testing deductibles in the healthcare system. And why should the rich’s children get free schooling? In a comment in Trønderdebatt, editor and former SV politician Snorre Valen points to how Frode Jacobsen – leader of Oslo Ap and fiscal policymaker in the Storting – has come up with a similar plan as Tajik. Another point is that equal arrangements for everyone contribute to legitimacy.

The question Labor should ask itself is whether it is wise to scrap some of the party’s most important principles in the search for solutions that may not be so new after all.

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