While there is an appealing and simplistic truth to Scott Morrison's mantra "the best form of welfare is a job", we need to accept not everybody will find employment regardless of how strong the economy is.
This was highlighted by Anglicare Australia's Jobs Availability Report this week which said there were five "low skilled applicants" for every entry level job.
With the odds already running at one in five against them, it is fair to say those at the lower end of the competence or educational scale, or suffering from a perceived handicap such as age or ethnicity, are on a hiding to nothing.
Why then is this government so hell bent on punishing the most disadvantaged members of our community by refusing to lift Newstart to a liveable level?
The Coalition's intransigence is hard to fathom when you consider former Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, definitely gets it.
His "weatherboard and iron" constituency includes many for whom Newstart is the only lifeline available and whose job opportunities, along with access to support services, are very limited.
Mental health is also a significant, and often overlooked, factor.
Anglicare said some of the main barriers to finding work, in the regions and elsewhere, included disability, dropping out of school early, losing your job after the age of 50 or being a refugee or an indigenous Australian.
Mental health is also a significant factor.
Anglicare found that as of May this year nearly 100,000 of the 704,700 people registered as unemployed had "significant barriers to finding a job". This was the group that was competing for just 18,200 entry level or unskilled jobs.
It is obvious at least two things have to be done almost immediately.
The first and the simplest is to increase Newstart by at least $30 to $40 a week to give recipients breathing space pending a comprehensive investigation into what a fair and equitable, and livable, allowance would be.
The second is to get cracking on eliminating the barriers to employment, which often have their roots in employers' prejudices and ignorance of people's potential, holding so many of us back.
A single person on Newstart receives $180 a week less than an aged pensioner the Senate inquiry into Newstart was told last week. This doesn't mean the pension is generous; it reflects the fact Newstart is way too low. Under the current settings being forced onto Newstart through the loss of your job is tantamount to being condemned to live in poverty.
The problem has been compounded by the success of campaigns by a succession of governments dating back to the turn of the century and before to restrict access to welfare.
It is only a few short days ago that Families and Social Services Minister, Anne Rushton, was celebrating the reduction in projected future welfare spending in the forward estimates from $6.4 trillion in 2014 to $5.7 trillion in 2018.
Her opposition counterpart, Linda Burney, noted that despite this the number of people over 55 on Newstart had jumped by almost half since the Abbott government was elected almost seven years ago.
The disability pension, once a meaningful safety net for those with physical and mental health issues which limited their employability, has become progressively harder to get with the number of recipients falling by 10.2 per cent between 2014 and 2018.
The Morrison government has repeatedly said it wants to cut taxes to put more money into people's pockets to deliver an economic stimulus. Increasing Newstart would have the same effect while changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for the better.