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.

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Hockey and the unsophisticated argument

Joe Hockey, as I heard on the radio recently, is claiming that his recent ‘horror’ budget is fair because each Australian works one month a year to pay for welfare. Interestingly, he is not revealing how many weeks a person works to cover generous far-reaching tax concessions which significantly benefit the wealthy. Greg Jericho of The Guardian recently wrote that ‘billions of dollars in revenue … is forgone each year due to exemptions within the taxation system’.  He also relays that a recent IMF assessment of the failing Italian economy led to the IMF’s concern of the misuse by government of tax concessions that 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’. [1]

tax expenditure

Consequently, Hockey’s media grab reveals explicitly that his approach is a one-dimensional simplistic assessment, emotive and seeking to blame disadvantaged people for their situation. Like one friend recently made note, ‘rich people tell the middle class to blame the poor’.

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More anxiety ridden scaremongering from Hockey

Hockey is a dramatic actor and will expressively play his political machinations through distinct repertoire of body language.  We had a ‘jolly Joe’ before Christmas and now there is the ‘furrowing his brow, bowing and shaking his jowls’ with the foreboding bad news of the budget.

As Treasurer, and without an economics degree, ‘Hockey comes across as full of bluster and bombast.’  Today he states ‘I’m dealing with the reality here.’ This is an interesting comment given this government does it’s best to ignore reality. The scientific data of climate change and ecological devastation, the denial of statistics that underpin equal opportunity to health and education to strengthen economic prosperity with positive social outcomes rather than at the cost of social outcomes that only ever touch the vulnerable.

 

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Economics impoverish the vulnerable in society

In Australia, economic impoverishment is what single parents, unemployed, carers of the elderly and disabled experience usually through no fault of their own. Support of family and friends often fall away when circumstances hit. So, without the support of a caring extended family, and the attitude conveyed in the meager support payments, there is the reinforcing of the demoralised valueless position that is a stigma for those who are already the most vulnerable in our society.

Surely, this is akin to the scourge of ostracism of the Middle Ages where the unlovely dwell impoverished on the outskirts of society. A society cannot consider itself sophisticated while this occurs especially in the midst of an increasingly rich country where it is only the rich who are getting richer.

 

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Unfounded Anxiety in the Coalition Government

More than any other quality, the Coalition is marked by a false anxiety. Hockey’s statement that we are at the end of the age of entitlement is a confusing one, particularly when this government is obviously acting contrary to this strategy. The only exception is when it is actually those in need of support who, in the eyes of Abbott, Hockey and their colleagues, must be fully to blame for their own misfortune. This is the same government who took away low and middle income superannuation initiatives to give even more to the superannuation support of the high income earners. This is the same government who wants to provide a not only a new welfare regime in the form of parental payment leave  (which is a good idea) but wants to make a gold plated version of it.

This is at a time once again when the overlooked are, you guessed, overlooked. The older workers who have worked all their lives and are now unable to acquire work mostly because they are over 45 years old, along with carers who have had to sacrifice their livelihoods, and often at the prime income generating portion of their lives, to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. This is at a time when single parents and their children are living below the poverty line.

 

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Coalition bucks wisdom and blames less fortunate

The current Coalition government wants to plan for a sustainable financial future. Sure welfare is part of the mix to consider change and especially the well fare that goes to the well off and the very, very well off, not the less fortunate. The middle class welfare and high end welfare is not sustainable.

The reality is that the current government has not geared the economy to provide sufficient jobs, and demoralising the unemployed will only push them to being beggars not employed. Many unemployed cannot find work because they are 50 or over and subsist on newstart after a life of hard work and a great desire to be in the workforce.

The Coalition needs to seek counsel from Plato. In Plato’s Republic the ideal city is founded on wisdom, courage, moderation and justice.These are not the elements guiding the current Australian government. This Coalition government is again in the spot light for taking from the poor and giving to the rich. This government’s seeks to introduce a limosine parental payment scheme, subsides high income superannuation, removes the mining tax, while it removes the low income superannuation subsidy and is now on target to undermine those with disabilities and punish the unemployed where government has not managed the economy to create training and jobs.

Mr Shorten said if the government wanted to save money, it should scrap its “gold-plated’ paid-parental leave scheme and look at superannuation rules that favoured high income earners.”

This is also happening while TAFE colleges are having funding removed so limits training and job ready programs for these unemployed.

Many long-term unemployed would prefer to be working full-time hours. In July 2010, three-quarters (75%) of long-term unemployed men and half (50%) of long-term unemployed women stated they would have preferred to have been working full-time hours (35 hours or more per week).

Eva Cox wrote “Other hidden unemployed older workers are not on any benefits because they have a working spouse and are therefore ineligible. While not in such dire financial need, they are often suffering from loss of self-esteem from futile job hunting efforts and may also have health problems because they feel excluded and rejected. The social costs of unemployment do not get the same level of attention as the economic costs, despite plenty of evidence of the damage.”

The main flaw in the government’s approach to unemployment is that it sees the problem as being the unemployed person rather than employers’ prejudices.

The unemployed do not want to be unemployed generally. They haven’t had the support and advantages available to most people. Enable and encourage them, direct and facilitate, but don’t demoralise and punish, which is the direction that this Coalition is on a mission to pull off.

 


References

http://faculty.cua.edu/hoffmann/courses/201_1068/Plato-5%20Republic.4.pdf

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-02/older-people-struggle-to-reenter-workforce/5065854

http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/04/19/senior-job-seekers-in-australia/?wpmp_switcher=mobile

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Sep+2011#2

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Sep+2011#5

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/age-pension-quarantined-from-welfare-review-kevin-andrews/story-fn59niix-1226806633530

http://www.smartcompany.com.au/growth/economy/35246-world-s-richest-85-people-are-as-wealthy-as-half-the-world-s-population-combined-the-gap-grows-in-australia.html?utm_source=SmartCompany&utm_campaign=b7fad1a81a-Tuesday_21_January_201421_01_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_234118efee-b7fad1a81a-93943241

 

 

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The poor are undeserving

This is the rationale of those who want to protect their own imagined sense of merit. There exist among the more fortunate members of the world that they have achieved their good fortune by their own worthiness, and they believe this despite the harsh reality that they are so thoroughly self-seeking and self-satisfied and do not have the common good anywhere in their scheme.

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Prosperity needs a lot more innovative thought than Hockey could imagine

Ross Gittins wrote, “What made the recurrence of my fiscal nightmare so scary was Hockey’s fatuous statement that ”no country has ever taxed its way to prosperity”, which signalled his resolve to get the deficit down purely by cuts in government spending. Seriously? That’s a sign he still doesn’t understand the nature and severity of his problem. No treasurer has ever purely cut his way to budget balance. Not an encouraging sign.”

We need to look to generating prosperity in ways that are positive and create momentum for the creation of the society of the future. Impoverishing the vulnerable within a

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LNP: GIve to the rich, take from the poor

The Coalition want to scrap supporting superannuation for low income earners while bolstering the superannuation of high income earners. Yes. More of the same from the Coalition with Abbott and Hockey. The family values here are that you are only ever eligible, now and in the future, if you already have everything you need and everything you want. Otherwise it is not our problem according to the policy of the Coalition.

This direction of policy tells me there is no no consideration of just or fair. This direction tells me we are dealing with a medieval mindset to enslave the less fortunate now and well Continue reading

The only family values they hold are for their own vested interests

More of the same is the general moral abyss of the LNP where the NDIS is the first port of call for financial cuts where as the Gold plated parental leave scheme remains a shrine. No doubt this is to show respect to women but just not in the parliamentary cabinet, thank you.

Mark Latham wrote “In practice, these hard-right activists are value-free. Compared to their true political obsession (objecting to all things left-of-centre), their commitment to free speech and family values is vacuous. In the worst sense of the term, they are political Continue reading