Reduced welfare integrity

A recent survey by The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) has revealed a decrease in welfare dependency by working age people. The annually survey of 17,000 people has recorded a decrease in weekly welfare payments from 23% in 2001 to a current 18.6%. [1]

This is more information that supports what many including the IMF have stated, that equal access to health and education enables populations to not only move off welfare but to contribute to a more stable society and increase economic prosperity.[2]

The bottom line is that people will do well if they can and this is proved time and again. A society can be a prison where it continually disables its population and then blames them for it, or it can be a liberation where each individual can achieve self-determination and escape welfare and poverty and the handing down of poverty to their own children.

Yet there is still more to accomplish for a better society for everybody not just some.  Michelle Grattan of The Conversation recently wrote:

“The wealthiest 20% of households now account for 61% of total household net worth. The poorest 20% account for only 1%.

“In recent decades the income share of the top 1% has doubled, and the wealth share of the top 0.001% has more than tripled. At the same time, poverty is increasing and many of those dependent upon government benefits, including the unemployment benefit, have fallen well below the poverty line.” [3] [my emphasis]

Why is it that it is mostly the really rich who get to improve their prospects so dramatically compared to the middle and low income people? Should people on welfare have to live below the poverty line instead of at least on the poverty line?

The finger seems to be pointing at ‘corruption and vested interests’[4]. These are insidious as there occurence has been kept away from scrutiny so we hardly know they exist and yet they are a deep sore in the social and economic landscape for the majority of people. This lack of accountability of the top-end of town enable the truism that ‘rich people tell the middle class to blame the poor’.

This reality seems to be clear in the release of a recent IMF assessment. In an analysis of the failing Italian economy, the IMF identified the misuse by government of tax concessions and that these were vulnerable to lobbying. Jericho wrote that ‘the IMF working paper displayed that Australia actually has a greater amount of tax expenditures per GDP than Italy or many other advanced economies’. [5]

tax expenditure

This highlights the need for a taxation reform so to enable a more realistic and equitable access to improving life for the greater majority rather than filling the coffers of a select few.

We know longer live in the middle ages of reckless and greedy aristocracy. It is about time that the sophistication of our technological age morphed into a moral sophistication and petty predatory behaviour was marginalised rather than the norm. It is time western countries decided to grow up and leave the school yard power plays behind and work for a society that everyone can be proud of.

 


References

[1] ABC News (2014) ‘HILDA survey shows Australians less reliant on welfare, number of people on benefits down since 2001, Retrieved in June 2014 from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-16/fewer-australians-on-welfare-than-decade-ago-hilda-survey/5525606

[2] Kwek, Glenda (2014) IMF chief urges spending on health, education, Sydney Morning Hearald, Retrieved in June 2014 from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/imf-chief-urges-spending-on-health-education-20140220-3348y.html

[3] Grattan, Michelle (2014) Increasing inequality brings high social cost: report, The Conversation, Retrieved in June 2014 from http://theconversation.com/increasing-inequality-brings-high-social-cost-report-27867

[4] The Economist (2013) Retrieved in June 2014 from http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21571136-politicians-both-right-and-left-could-learn-nordic-countries-next-supermodel

[5] Jericho, Greg (2014) Billions lost in tax concessions exposes Australia’s hypocrisy over federal aid, The Guardian, Retrieved in June 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2014/feb/03/billions-lost-tax-concessions-hypocrisy-aid

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