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The Forum > Article Comments > One last plea for justice and compassion > Comments

One last plea for justice and compassion : Comments

By Tristan Ewins, published 8/5/2009

There is a strong case for a significant increase in the base rate for all pensioners, carers, sole parents and the unemployed.

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At last someone has done the maths and it is affordable.
I'm caught in the middle with Superannuation. By the time I reach retirement I won't have anywhere enough to live on and this was before the GFC. What am I supposed to do, work til I drop or starve in old age?
Again, thanks to the GFC I'm unemployed. (And no, there are no jobs out there) For a family of 4 unemployment benefits go no where. It JUST allows you to live. I can't make my car payments with only 5 to go out of 60. If it wasn't for my daughter's school reducing the fees I would have to pull her out in year 11 leaving all her friends and a school system that has educated her perfectly.

Someone once said "That with taxes you buy civilisation"

Couldn't be more true.
Posted by Marisan, Friday, 8 May 2009 11:36:13 AM
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I don't disagree with much of the article but I have some concerns.
Compassion is one thing but justice is another.
It might be compassionate to lift pensions across the board, pay different categories of pensioners equally and realign payments to 30% MATWE but is it just?
That depends on what the pension means and what it is for.
In discussions with co-workers the age pension is explained as payment or reward for a life of work and sacrifice.
Unemployment benefits are not generally seen in the same way - they instead appear to be something of a safety net... 'we can't let them starve and live on the streets' type of approach. There also appears to be a bit of a growing insurance type approach... 'it could just as easily be you or me'.
Disability payments are characterised as a compassion/cost of civilisation payment. That is, we cannot call ourselves a civilised society unless we care for the most vulnerable.
Each of these different types of approach leads to a different rationale for funding and possibly different payment levels. It also produces the legitimacy of payments.
However, each of these payment categories must have some built-in disincentive.
Obviously government and taxpayers want to encourage pensioners to support themselves to the fullest extent possible. This is not only beneficial from a financial standpoint but a social one - being entirely dependent on hand-outs is demoralising and dehumanising.
This means that pensions of any stripe cannot be set at too high a level.
And before anyone says 'you try living on it', I have. I had two lots of six months on the dole back in the nineties between Uni studies. I'd never had so much money in my life before!
I agree that it is difficult to claim to be a rich and civilised country when our most vulnerable are unable to get the necessities of life but we must also be careful that we do not discourage people from looking after themselves or punish those who do.
Posted by J S Mill, Friday, 8 May 2009 2:23:59 PM
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As a rough approximation, if all the cost of superannuation tax concessions was diverted to old age pensions we could afford to pay everyone over 65 the old age pension without requiring any increase in taxes. If we went one step further and made pensions taxable we could afford to boost pensions to the point where those depending on pensions would be much better off. The downside of course is that simplifying the system is well...

The real winners would be those on part pensions. A friend of mine in this situation is reluctant to work because Centerlink stuffs her around so much if she has the hide to do a bit of casual work and takes most of what she earns away. It gets even worse when she earns money from a very small business with erratic cash flows.

Alternatively, we could be really sinful and convert part or all of pensions into loans to be paid off from estates. I can hear the screams but this is one way of increasing the effective size of pensions without having to increase taxes. Sure, some children would receive less than they expected but I dont really believe we should be scrimping on pensions so that heirs can be a little bit richer.

We need to think about radical alternatives for helping those in need and simplifying the system.
Posted by John D, Friday, 8 May 2009 9:33:54 PM
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I really urge people to read this article again - and email Wayne Swan before it is too late.

We need a pension system that does not relegate the most vulnerable to poverty. The measures promoted in this article are achievable and affordable... I'm surprised GetUp! hasn't addressed these issues...

If anyone from the Greens is reading this - or anyone with influence over the independent Senators - use all the bargaining power you have to win a just result for pensioners... Don't accept less than an extra $35/week for full pensioners - in the context of an automatically adjusting formula...

If any media figures are also read - I urge you too to run with this issue before it is too late...

sincerely,

Tristan
Posted by Tristan Ewins, Saturday, 9 May 2009 11:20:58 AM
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Interesting the paucity of comment on this thread.
First principle at law - put yourself in the other person's shoes.
What happens when a 'professional' is found wanting in performance or in default of perceived duty?
Face it. Most in authority are bloody useless.

What happens when an overpaid mineworker ruptures his gut?
Face it. Such a person has a limited time of engagement before he does meet such detriment.
Face it. Where and how has our failing wealth been earned?

What happens when the economic crisis sends both types into unemployment - or they both spit their respective dummies under the strain??

If they are reasonably young - either they'll both be renting or enduring mortgage.
And face it - if either sort had family money they wouldn't be in either situation.

There is a reason for a social network. There is a reason for social security payments.

There is a reason for comprehensive taxation that involves and draws upon income, luxuries, staples,transactions - ad infinitum.

Then that entrenched system that has historically caused so much detriment to those who don't actually make all that much income needs to be adjusted.
The time is now.
The time is right.
The reason for that is simply because so many of the overpaid bludgers in our society are coming close to a situation that for the first time in many years - they will be directly affected.

Will those of the 'bastard boomers' generation let their, now, adult progeny sleep under a bridge?
Without any doubt and without a concerned glance.

That is where we're heading and that is precisely why Kevin must make way for better allowances for the unemployed/disadvantaged.

He knows that for good reason.
If the youngsters spawned of the age of greed get it into their heads to cause affray - then she'll be on for young and old.
Best he avoid that outcome.
Posted by A NON FARMER, Sunday, 10 May 2009 12:09:21 AM
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Why the one last plea Tristan?
Is there something going to happen where the humanities collapses into a heap or the fact that all the collective wealth has been disposed of already and there is a mad rush now to pick the bones of a spent civilization.

Why do elder Tax payers have to plea for anything at all? Government Parasites ought to be providing everything for them That is what Socialism is about is it not?
Then what happened? Why the last plea? - Or is it Political envy and linguistic mastication caused some indigestion, now mixed with the Dom Pereion belching socialist bureaucrats needs have to be met first ; and stuff the pessants.

That is very expensive Champaign indeed.
Posted by All-, Sunday, 10 May 2009 10:07:47 AM
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