After yesterday’s article on libertarianism, I feel it only fair to give them some right of reply.
Libertarians assure us that, under their system, the truly vulnerable would be cared for. The rest of us just need to use the millions we have in superannuation to pay for bad times.
Here is their plan.
The Liberal Democrats will modify the welfare system to foster a culture of independence and civil society without neglecting the genuinely needy.
• Expand the current superannuation savings account system to encompass health, unemployment and disability as well as retirement.
• Make such accounts tax free with respect to contributions, earnings and permitted withdrawals.
• Limit the use of account funds to authorised health, unemployment, disability and retirement expenditure, for the account holder and dependent relatives.
• Require account holders with less than a nominated balance to take out health and income protection insurance.
• Provide the parents of newborn children with a health voucher, paid via a savings account.
• Promote a competitive market among savings accounts providers including transparency with respect to fees, operating expenses and remuneration of trustees.
• Ensure patients are always liable for a co-payment in health transactions funded by insurance.
• Foster a competitive, efficient market for the provision of health, disability and aged care services in which the government is not a provider.
• Promote comparison shopping by requiring health, disability and aged care providers to publish price lists.
• For those unable to accumulate sufficient savings, provide welfare via their savings account as follows:
o Eligibility will be limited to citizens.
o All benefits, both cash and in-kind, will be subject to income and assets eligibility criteria including the family home.
o Catastrophic health insurance must be purchased.
o Education and training payments will be limited to school-aged children.
o Reduced child-related payments will terminate when the child turns 16.
o Rental or rent-to-buy housing assistance (public housing will be abolished with current occupants of existing housing given first option to purchase).
o Age pension will continue but with reduced disincentives to earn additional income and regularly increasing age of eligibility except in instances of impairment causing an inability to work.
o Unemployment payments will involve job search requirements with the maximum payment frozen for the duration of a recipient’s unemployment.
o Disability payments for both the sick and carers will distinguish between those expected to return to work and those who are not, with job search requirements for the former.
• In general, reduce all retained welfare payments by:
o Limiting payment growth to the rate of price inflation.
o Ensuring payments reduce whenever income or assets increase, while ensuring withdrawal rates are gradual.
o Abolishing higher payments for ‘singles’ compared to members of a couple.
o Applying a time limit to all payments, at the expiry of which recipients must reapply if they wish to continue receiving them.
o Promoting a competitive market for home owners to access their equity without moving out.
o Providing an option for recipients to convert age pension entitlements to a lump sum subject to permanently relocating to another country.
o Continue programs that deliver direct, tailored assistance to those with special needs including child welfare, women’s shelters, and care for the homeless, prisoners, refugees and victims of crime.
Anyone see any problems?