Sampling Dutch poverty: to the food bank by car

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(Going to the foodbank by car: English subtitles)

I hesitated posting this when I first saw it, but since it’s somewhat shocking, it’s time to share. You’ll probably be left with more questions than answers after this video. The ones I had as a foreigner looking in were:

1. Why doesn’t this woman work? Don’t answer because she has children, I’ll scream.
2. Where’s the father and/or his alimony? Deadbeat dad? There’s an obvious cultural issue here.
3. A car? What about agoraphobia therapy?
4. Do the Dutch give money to the poor for nothing so they don’t have to look at it?
5. Is that really a good thing? Is it a Judeo-Christian guilt thing?

I’ve seen teenagers for years in Montreal, Canada sleeping on the street outside at -20 degrees in sleeping bags. The ones sleeping outside in +30 degrees in the summer are purely decorative.

The person at Radio Netherlands who did the interview mentioned on their site that they found it difficult to find someone willing to go on camera. Hmm, people are willing to have sex on camera for free these days, so I’m really not convinced. The film is very good though, no question.

Again, some people really think that this is being poor in the Netherlands. I am happy the children are well cared for, that’s true. Some are proud to show that the poor don’t look poor. Her lack of gratitude is the clincher, making this film very interesting. Others have said that junks on the street are dirt poor, a film about them would have shown real poverty.

My suggestion would be to go to the Salvation Army (Leger des Heils) in downtown Amsterdam, as that is where poor people congregate, believe me.

UPDATE
The video was removed by Radio Netherlands.

8 Comments »

  1. This woman is a disgrace for my country. She is symbolic for the “Everything Is Regulated For Me”-culture, or better stated: the culture of people who think: “I expect everything will be regulated for me because I am too Goddamn lazy to do anything myself.”

    Some solutions for this disgraceful Dutch mother: she can do some effort to find a job, she can simply sell her car to buy food, she can get her agoraphobia cured by a doctor and stop whining about it… Get your lazy ass off your free couch and start doing something with your life!

    Comment by Jeroen Mirck — October 22, 2008 @ 10:30 am

  2. whoa.
    i guess there are plenty of ways to fill your house with free stuff and utilize free services, but if it’s not absolutely necessary, why would you want to? where’s your sense of pride in working hard and making a life for yourself?
    i’m especially fond of the part at the end where she says it’s bad to donate money to the poor in africa (and that it’s “too far away” for her to even think of!)… if that’s poverty, i’m sure there are quite a few of those far away africans that would love a piece of that life.

    Comment by sarah — October 22, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  3. It does seem like something is wrong with the picture. It would be good if she could work, even parttime. Her biggest job is to teach her children good values and supporting oneself is an important value.

    If the services were used to help her get back on her feet instead of to sustain them without work income I would not be concerned.

    Comment by Neil — October 22, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  4. *click play* and got the message, Sorry, this video is no longer available.”

    Comment by Jay Vos — October 23, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

  5. Hi Jay, thank for letting us know. Basically:

    The women has a car, a TV, DVD player, has just received a free sofa and a fridge and has been going to the food bank by car every week for the last three years. When she’s asked about people really living in poverty in Africa at the end – the clincher – she actually looks disgusted and says “they have no clue what they are doing there”. Her kids obviously have a non Caucausian deadbeat dad and she claims to have agoraphobia (or ‘street phobia’).

    Comment by Orangemaster — October 23, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  6. All rights, no responsibility… *frowns*

    When a young woman in NL fails in school, comes from a dysfunctional family, and an independent life is unattainable, what should she do? Have_a_baby. Once she has a baby, she is top of the council flat list and moves out. Then her council rent and council tax are paid for, her children get free meals at school, free dentistry, free eye care, etc. No income tax to pay. No complicated forms. No threatening letters from the child tax credit office because she’s earned too much. No means testing of any sort because she’s totally dependent on state benefits. She forms friendships with other women doing the same. They can go to the park, gossip, and care for each other’s children.

    But if she gets a job, she has to leave her friends and pay for her kids to go to day-care (or hire a baby-sitter). She has to work out her income, claim mean tested tax credits which are usually wrong, and she may have to pay back the excess… and all for a job that probably leads no where and may not last.

    If she marries a partner with a job, her benefit mix will also change for the worse whilst her partner will probably get an effective marginal rate of tax (in all its forms) in excess of 100%, even if they’re good, hard-working and don’t waste their money at the pub.

    So what to do? Stay on benefits. Don’t work. Don’t marry. Have more babies. It’s probably all she’s ever done well, and it pays well too.

    It’s a no brainer. And the tax-payers pick up the bill.

    Comment by lola granola — October 23, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  7. Lola, I read this out loud and I loved it.

    Comment by Orangemaster — October 23, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  8. When did socialism become the opiate of the masses? Sick, sad world…

    Comment by Darth Paul — October 24, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

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