Our topsy turvy, upside-down middle-class welfare

Read this piece and cry.


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Ken Parish
13 years ago

Except that they’d end up being replaced by another mob who would also promise the magic pudding because such a large proportion of the voting public can’t resist believing in it and voting for people who promise it.

It’s not unlike the global warming issue, which everyone is now deeply concerned about while simultaneously being equally deeply concerned about high petrol prices. Politicians and political aspirants are utility maximisers who are in most cases entirely happy to satisfy the market demand for irrationally irreconcilable policies, and then try to square the circle with bullshit rhetoric.

derrida derider
derrida derider
13 years ago

I wouldn’t attempt to defend a lot of the muddle, especially the blatant bribes to early retirees. If you must bribe the better-off old you’d do it a lot more efficiently and cheaply with a universal age pension instead of these byzantine superannuation lurks. The case against FTB Part B is a bit more problematic, but I won’t go into that here.

But you can’t fix things uness you understand what’s driving them. These complexities ultimately derive from the fact that that economists think transparency and simplicity are virtues, but politicians think them vices. How can you cut deals when people can see what you’re doing? How can you get people to be grateful for the little gifts you give them if they can just see its their own money?

Maybe this is just an inevitable downside of democracy, the sort of thing ancient greek opponents of the concept like Plato used to point out. Except of course Churchill had it right – other forms of government are even worse.

Peter Whiteford
Peter Whiteford
13 years ago

On a pedantic note, contrary to the article, Australia doesn’t have among the highest EMTRs in the world for low income earners. In fact, it has among the lowest for people moving from welfare to part-time work. The only places with lower EMTRs are countries where there is very little social assistance (Greece, Italy) or where assistance is a lot lower than in Australia (the US). This is because most other countries have 100% withdrawal rates on incom-tested benefits.

See the country files at http://www.oecd.org/document/0/0,3343,en_2649_34819_34053248_1_1_1_1,00.html

However, Australia does have higher than average EMTRs for people moving from part-time to full-time work and it does tend to have higher disincentives for second earner due to family income-testing.

Brendan Halfweeg
13 years ago

Howard bribed the battlers. Now it’s Rudd’s turn to bribe working families. This is the problem with the welfare state. Fiddling at the edges with super and family benefits reform is not the answer, reforming the tax/welfare system from the ground up is requried. Simpler tax, simple welfare, minimum opportunities for pork.