It has never been clearer how terrible Australia's welfare system is, than when at the moment more people needed it than ever, government fixed it.
As the nation descended into COVID-19 lockdown; as most work ceased, government departments were toiling feverishly to change the very foundations of Centrelink.
In rapid succession all three pillars of a system of deliberate exploitation tumbled.
First they doubled the dole, finally paying people enough to live.
Then they temporarily ended what are called "mutual obligations", a system of forcing unemployed people to undertake pointless tasks at the whim of a private firm for profit.
Then government decided, though this took longer, to stop illegally sending Australia's most vulnerable fraudulent letters demanding repayment of money it wasn't owed. The Robodebt system, Australia's largest ever fraud, was finally dead.
Together the triple-reform was an admission of what everyone knew all along, that Centrelink wasn't working, but didn't mind when only poor people had to endure the brutality of a broken system.
As I said at the time, these were all positive decisions forced on government by circumstance. But by hook or crook we now have a more-or-less functional income support system.
It now guarantees income certainty for people who, often by government decree, can't do that for themselves. That's the standard it should be measured by and it's an objective this country, one of the world's richest, can afford to meet.
But reportedly government is considering reversing some of these fixes, including dropping the basic rate for income support potentially as low as $40 a day.
Government and the Reserve Bank literally have an unemployment target - bullseye is about 700,000 jobless. One job too many and they raise taxes and interest rates until they hit the mark.
But today, the unemployment rate is in the millions thanks to the virus.
Slashing their wage from $1100 a fortnight would force literally thousands of families to skip meals and abandon education for their children. It would leave Australia dumber, poorer and more frightened, to no benefit.
But adding to the pointless personal pain would be a broader economic crisis of catastrophic proportion, again for no reason. If you slash so many people's only source of income by a half, that's a lot less dynamism in an already slow-moving economy.
We even have form for this. Australia's Great Depression became truly disastrous when governments decided to prioritise government budgets over people's lives, at the expense of both. Why wouldn't that happen this time?
But there's another consideration to this as well.
It was clearly not a source of electoral worry to subject 700,000 poor, young, disproportionately rural and non-white people to a predatory system of exploitation.
But today 1.6 million people rely on JobKeeper, people of all walks of life. Government instinctively knew at the start of this crisis that these new better-heeled class of jobless wouldn't wear old-fashioned Centrelink and had enough political power to matter. Nothing has changed.