In a press conference today, Joe Hockey repeated his catchphrase yet again:
“Lift the tide and all boats will rise”
Well I’m sorry Mr Hockey but the figures don’t back you up on that theory.
In August last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the statistics on Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia, 2011–12.
The ABS reported that:
“While the mean (average) household net worth of all households in Australia in 2011-12 was $728,000, the median (i.e. the mid-point when all households are ranked in ascending order of net worth) was substantially lower at $434,000 … This difference reflects the asymmetric distribution of wealth between households, where a relatively small number of households had high net worth and a relatively large number of households had low net worth.”
Some rather disturbing statistics:
- Between 1980 and 2008, 22 per cent of all growth in Australia’s household income went to the richest 1 per cent.
- The richest 10 per cent of Australians have gained almost 50 per cent of the growth in income over the past three decades.
- The top 25 per cent had 60.8 per cent of total net worth in 2011-12.
- The number of Australian millionaires increased by 38,000 to 1.123 million people.
- From 2003-04 to 2011-12, the top 25% enjoyed a 28.3 per cent growth in their net worth while the bottom 25 per cent had an overall rise in net worth of 2.5 per cent.
- The net worth of the households at the top of the 80th percentile was 11.6 times higher than the net worth of the households at the top of the 20th percentile.
Despite years of unprecedented growth and wealth creation, poverty in Australia remains a persistent problem with an estimated 2,265,000 people or 12.8% of all people living below the internationally accepted poverty line used to measure financial hardship in wealthy countries.
The Newstart Allowance has not been increased in real terms since 1994 so households relying on it have been falling further behind community living standards and into poverty. There are over 600,000 children living in families below the poverty line. About half of those children are in sole parent families, and one quarter of people in sole parent families are living below the poverty line.
Joe’s idea of “trickle down” economics has been tried in America, championed by Ronald Reagan. So how did that work?
In 1976, the top 1 per cent of Americans held 19.9 per cent of total wealth in the US. In 2007, they held 34.6 per cent and by 2010 they held 35.4 per cent. In other words, the top 1 per cent have increased their share of total wealth. In 1983, the bottom 80 per cent had 18.7 per cent of total net worth. By 2010, that share had fallen to 11.1 per cent.
Once again we see that while the rich get richer the poor get poorer, and every policy direction this government is taking is designed to increase that gap, despite income inequity having been identified as one of the greatest economic crises facing the world today.
This suggests that some refocusing of the debate is required away from those at the very top of the income distribution towards those at the very bottom. The Australian Social Inclusion Board estimates (using a variety of indicators) that 5 per cent (around 640,000 people) of Australians aged between 18 and 64 have multiple disadvantages. A greater focus on understanding and tackling multiple and entrenched disadvantage is critical in terms of improving overall wellbeing in Australia.
It appears to me that that the rising tide of bullshit is designed to trickle down by pissing on the poor.
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