May 19, 2015

Welfare Word of The Week: Double-Dipping

Word origin

In a Seinfeld episode George Costanza stands in front of a buffet table at a social gathering, snacking on chips and dip. An onlooker spies him dipping a chip, taking a small bite, and then diving in for more dip. 

Tim: "Did you just double-dip that chip?"
George: "Excuse me?"
Tim: "You double-dipped the chip!"
George: "Double-dipped? What are you talking about?"
Tim: "You dipped the chip, you took a bite, and you dipped again."
George: "So?"
Tim: "That's like putting your whole mouth right in the dip. Look, from now on when you take a chip, just take one dip and end it."
George: "Well, I'm sorry Timmy, but I don't dip that way."
Tim: "Oh, you don't, huh?"
George: "No. You dip the way you want to dip, I'll dip the way I want to dip." 

And so Urban Dictionary confirms that the essence of double dipping, is to dip a piece of something - maybe a shrimp, into a tangy communal cocktail sauce - bite it and then dip the bitten part back into the sauce. Ok to do, if you're a cute, free-range toddler - on a mission. But not if you're 45. That's when double dippers are considered to be plain unhygienic mongrels. Alas, it's recommended you only double-dip, with the curtains closed, and when you're home alone with Fido.

Other accepted common usage

Free Dictionary says double dipping is also the practice of receiving compensation, benefits, etc. from two or more sources in a way regarded as unethical, as from a military pension and a government job. Or receiving two incomes from the same source - as by holding a government job and receiving a government pension. Gosh WHO would do that . . .? 

The Guardian reports Australian treasurer Joe Hockey saying, that the wives of government ministers Josh Frydenberg and Mathias Cormann, might have “double-dipped” on paid parental leave and not told their partners.

The government wants to stop parents – predominantly mothers – from accessing both their employers’ and the federal PPL scheme. It has been criticised for accusing parents who “double-dip” of engaging in rorts. 

Shortly after the budget was announced last week, finance minister Mathias Cormann and assistant treasurer Josh Frydenberg admitted that they had benefited from accessing two forms of entitlements

Hockey would not be drawn on whether Cormann and Frydenberg had alerted their colleagues to the fact that their wives had used both concurrent schemes.

“I can’t recall,” Hockey said.

So is this domestic double-dipping,  astute home economics - or just a clever rort ...?

Next week we explore the word "rort", and (a) when is a rort not a rort? ....but a wild, drunken party (according to, and  (b) does it essentially depend on marriage to an Australian politician? If you ticked both boxes, the law apparently embraces your multi-dipping. So it can't possibly be rorting (...that's something only, riff-raff poor people, and welfare recipients would do!), and you're clearly, justifiably entitled to continue double-dipping that crunchy chip - just like George Costanza! - with bells on ....going forward.

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