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The Forum > Article Comments > How we tried to assist families in Australia, and why the attempt failed > Comments

How we tried to assist families in Australia, and why the attempt failed : Comments

By Alan Tapper, published 11/9/2014

But in fact the Australian welfare state has not declined; in fact it has grown, up by 52 per cent since 1984.

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I rarely say this to learned academics, but, what a load of cockeyed codswallop!
Yes an economically illiterate Howard, (quote unquote) was family friendly, but that was mainly middle class welfare, handouts for the well to do; patent pork barreling, given to improve coalition votes; and for no other reason?
And in the process created a permanent structural deficit.
And only fixable by withdrawing all the welfare for the rich!
Had he been sincere, then all that extra help/entitlements, would have been at least, means tested.
You are right about an improved position of single mothers, I was raised by one, and the support there has risen from basically bugger all, to somewhere, well below the poverty line!
Well done, excellent work and an A+ for effort/spin!
There's nothing wrong with the occasional trip to a dream castle in the clouds/extremely unreal world, (viewed from on high/privilege, so as to actually miss all the bad stuff/the homeless, the under privileged etc/etc) but its definitely not a good idea to take up permanent residence!
Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:32:38 AM
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"I think of myself as a pro-family libertarian. My view is that government should be kept as small as possible, but equity and the common good require assistance to families with children. At first sight this ideological category seems to be not very well occupied. Is it just me?"

It should be obvious that it's self-contradictory; and it's not libertarian either.

50% of such so-called family friendly handouts are just churn: robbing Peter to pay Peter. These could and should be abolished right off, without any legitimate complaint from anybody.

As for the rest, nobody ever justifies - because they can't - using coercion to take property from A (the owner) and giving it to B (political favourite) to pay for B's reproductive choices. How the advocates of such policies deal with this issue is, they just pretend it doesn't exist. No account is ever taken of the coercive nature of what is involved, and there's no attempt to reconcile the values sacrificed with the values intended or attained.

And the whole moral and intellectual incoherence is covered over with slathers of talk about "we", AS IF they were talking about a consensual process. Then when you ask who "we" is, they can never answer without self-contradiction. They are using it to include people who disagree with them, and people they are threatening to physically seize and lock in a cage so as to forcibly obviate the need to bother about consent. So it's the worst kind of moral fakery, fake compassion, fake concern.

However even if we accepted that premise
1. the policies are a mishmash of inconsistencies
2. the complications and inversions of tax and social security policy defeat their purpose, and
3. they actively destroy families because their entire process of reasoning from central planning is irretrievably invalid and unsound.

But one thing that does thrive and reproduce from all this is bureaucracies falsely called 'welfare', surprise surprise.
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:55:15 AM
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Personally, I feel this is nothing more than yet another Baby Boomer Bash, just a little more ornateley, and/or obliquely, laid out.
As for all the "data" and graphics, well..
I'll just quote an uncertain but insightful author...." Lies, damned lies, and statistics."
Posted by G'dayBruce, Thursday, 11 September 2014 11:44:23 AM
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I think the comments to date are a bit unfair. I thought the article was a good overview, which illustrates the extent of the creeping welfare state. I was particularly interested to note that the biggest winners from welfare have been the elderly and single parents.

The quote below from the article makes important findings:

"As I have described it, we have a welfare system with no net support for couple families; 25 years of pro-family rhetoric and policy-making has merely resulted in a system of transfers from top to bottom quintile families, plus steady increases in support for sole parent families. We also have a steady trend towards welfare state expansion and increased government expenditure".
Posted by Bren, Thursday, 11 September 2014 2:34:45 PM
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Bren, I agree

It would be interesting to see the data expressed as a percentage of household incomes not in ôreal" terms, though. Real incomes, and therefore taxes (and presumably benefits) tend to increase over time, and some of the upward trends in the charts may reflect nothing more than this normal growth process. Likewise, the growing proportion of incomes taken in taxes that partly offset higher real benefits could also reflect growing real incomes.

I agree with JKJ that the author's self-description as "libertarian" is off the mark, though. Alan clearly supports extensive income redistribution supported by taxation.
Posted by Rhian, Thursday, 11 September 2014 2:45:05 PM
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Talking about the baby boomer population, actually what percentage of the elderly, ageing population have been born in Australia?

We have had a monumental increase in the immigration rate.
Posted by Wolly B, Thursday, 11 September 2014 3:09:57 PM
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