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Poor people have it. Rich people need it. If you eat it you die. What is it?

As the snake oil salesman and his happy clapper gear up to sell us on their compensation for a higher GST, it is worth remembering how much we have already given up in the last couple of years.

When Joe Hockey decided to forego $6.5 billion revenue from the mining tax, workers paid a heavy price through his decision to freeze the superannuation guarantee at 9.5% until 2021. Labor had scheduled incremental increases reaching 12% by 2019. This will now happen 6 years later.

The cost of this for someone on $50,000 a year is $7,500 less deposited into their superannuation over the next decade which would compound over a lifetime of work to a significant amount.

The income support bonus and schoolkids bonus will both cease at the end of next year and the low income superannuation co-contribution the year after that.

The low income superannuation contribution gives up to $500 a year to help those earning $37,000 or less save for their retirement.

The schoolkids bonus is a $430 boost to family tax payments for primary school students, and $856 for families with children at high school.

The income support bonus is a payment of $221.20 if you are single, $184.20 if you are partnered, to people who are on benefits.

The Mature Age Worker, Dependent Spouse, and Net Medical Expenses tax offsets have all been phased out.

The proposed increase of the tax free threshold to $19,400 has been canned, costing us an extra $228 in taxation, and the income thresholds used to calculate Medicare levy surcharge and Private health insurance rebate will not be adjusted for three years.

From 1 July 2015, the primary earner income limit for Family Tax Benefit Part B is $100,000 instead of $150,000.

New mothers who receive parental leave benefits from their employers will no longer be able to also collect the government scheme from July 2016

Unemployed under 25-year-olds have to wait four weeks to get the dole.

Add to this the cuts to health and education, fuel levy indexation, proposed changes to university fees, working till we are 70, stagnant wages, and the loss of FttP NBN, and we are a long way behind where we were a couple of years ago.

Getting rid of the carbon tax was supposed to ease our cost of living but all it has done is rob us of about $7 billion a year in revenue.

And now we look like having an extra 5% added to every bill we pay (with the possible exception of fresh food), and 15% added to health and education costs. It kinda makes the GP co-payment look good.

Oh but low income earners are to be compensated.

I wonder how close that compensation will go to making up for all that has been taken from us in the last two years let alone the estimated $2500 (or $4000 according to Curtin University) an increased GST will cost the average family every year.

It’s all very well to suggest that businesses need tax breaks but if their customers have no money to spend, what’s the point?

Instead of trying to squeeze blood from a stone, how about tapping into the rivers of gold flowing to offshore tax havens.

Poor people have it. Rich people need it. If you eat it you die. What is it?



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  1. Adrianne Haddow

    I find it unpalatable that a prime minister can have money squirrelled away in tax havens, that half or more of his cabinet have already accrued significant wealth through inspired investment in land and sundry other ‘perfectly legal’ financial strategies and can minimise or avoid the taxes they pay, while the rest of the Australian people must pay an increased GST to support government expenditure.

    Expenditure that includes payments to mining companies in the form of the laughingly titled Direct Action, that includes paying billions of dollars to a virtual rogue state to incarcerate unfortunate asylum seekers in a concentration camp island, that includes paying people smugglers huge amounts of tax payer’s money to take asylum seekers back.

    Surely the tax minimisation and avoidance of these ministers and their lobbyists is ‘un Australian’, to quote their last flawed leader. If you have forged a successful career and made an extremely comfortable living from the fruits of this country, it should be incumbent upon you to pay your fair share of what it takes to run this country, for the benefit of the society that has enabled you to do so.

    It is ‘un Australian’ to undermine our work force with 457 visa workers, and agreements with foreign countries that allow unlimited numbers of temporary workers take the jobs that are created on our former farms and our former resource sector.

    It is un Australian to have slack tax laws that allow a significant number of multinational companies make enormous profits in this country and pay virtually no tax.

    I find it unpalatable that certain sections of our society can be manipulated by the Murdoch press to allow our rights as citizens and tax payers be eroded, changed and subverted to the agendas of the rich.

    Phew, glad that’s off my chest.

  2. David

    I am revolted at Turnbulls, through the devoid of any economic qualification Morrison, that low income earners are to be compensated. Pensioners and those on benefits full stop receiving less than 20K pa do not pay tax. Where’s the compensation for these groups? Bloody silence. Once again these groups are to be thrown to the wolves and told to live like paupers.
    Vote for these mongrels,? Not while I am still drawing breath.

  3. Richard Ure

    If increasing the GST is such a good idea and bracket creep bad and GST good, why not increase it to 20%? That would really test the validity of the argument.

  4. Zathras

    It’s the basis of what is called “Conservative” Politics – I’m alright Jack so let’s not do anything that may threaten my position.
    Anything that must happen will be done slowly but must also help increase the gap between me and the undeserving poor.
    Anything that doesn’t affect me can be done quickly.
    These are the aims decreed by the owners of the Party and its financial sponsors.

    As for financial compensation for poor policies (such as “safety nets”) is like – Instead of putting a fence at the top of a cliff, just park an ambulance at the bottom.

    The GST increase preliminary softening-up process is now in full swing.

  5. Mary

    The low income superannuation contribution used to be $1500. It has been slowly whittled away by both governments. Though I am more angry at Julia Gillard for allowing overseas investors to buy up residential properties.

  6. Wayne Turner

    Since the Liberal party are into slogans. Here’s one for them and voters:-

    “Vote Liberal if you are mega rich or mega stupid”.

  7. Wayne Turner

    Idiots need to stop voting for the mega wealthy party: The Liberal party.

    Anyone surprised is ignorant.

  8. Julianne

    It’s simple stupid – cut the money to the poor as is happening – and you stuff your economy
    “It’s all very well to suggest that businesses need tax breaks but if their customers have no money to spend, what’s the point?”
    “Lower income households and individuals spend a far greater percentage of their money than that of millionaires and billionaires.
    American venture capitalist and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer points out that the “annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000… I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out.”

  9. Chris

    People are becoming more ignorant rather than less, I fear, Wayne, along with their memories becoming shorter.

  10. Wayne Turner

    Indeed Chris. It’s depressing.

  11. blair

    It’s all very well to suggest that businesses need tax breaks,
    No its not, If a business is unprofitable, close it!
    Govern for people not business!

  12. Kaye Lee

    I think there is more to it. There is a philosophical divide in society – those who are out for what they can get and those who are there for what they can give.

    A portion of society want to jealously guard what they have got and resent any notion of a ‘collective’ even though they too, of course, would be lost without it.

    And then there are those who feel a social responsibility to be a contributor, a carer, a nurturer, an empathiser.

    It is interesting to note that the first group contain a lot of migrants who resent anyone coming here by a different way to how they did and older Australians who have already accumulated wealth.

    I was just sent an article called “Cutting Politician’s Pay and Conditions is Inevitable!”

    “Politicians and Business Owners keep telling us Workers that cutting our Pay and Conditions is Inevitable. We are told it is Inevitable that these current rates are becoming an artifact of history. We are told that it is Inevitable now we are moving to a 7 day work week economy. We are told that GST increases are Inevitable and that “everything is on the table” …. except Politicans’ Pay and Conditions!

    Now suppose we all start saying that the only reason we have such current high levels of Politician’s Pay and Conditions, which include massive Expenses Reimbursements, Travel Entitlements and massive Publicly Funded Pensions and non-contributory Superannuation well in excess of common Community Standards, not means tested and able to be taken immediately on leaving Office, is just an artifact of history. Or what if we all started saying that the very high rates of remuneration of many CEOs is also just an artifact of history?

    Cutting their Pay and Conditions is Inevitable.

    Politicians do not sit in Parliament on a 24/7/365 basis – they also get to go home on weekends during sitting weeks (of only 4 days!) too. Many Politicians also have Capital Investments that produce other income too. The continuing Reduction in Responsibilities due to Increased Privatizations of Functions (such as electricity and health services) once exclusively performed by The State, and International Trade Agreements whereby Australian Sovereignty is increasingly devolved overseas to other Countries and Multinational Corporations demonstrates the Inevitability of their Reduction in Pay and Conditions.”

  13. Wayne Turner

    For sure blair.

  14. diannaart

    I propose a new revenue guideline:

    “If you have to compensate low income people, don’t effing do it!”

  15. Christine Farmer

    I never can understand the monumental stupidity of the argument which decreases the amount of money
    available to those with least, by whatever means. These are the very people who will spend the money, thus increasing demand. Giving business tax breaks does nothing to stimulate demand.

    No doubt any compensation for an increase in the GST will be similar to that made when the GST was introduced: those at the top of the pile received most, not only in money terms, but also as a percentage.
    Outrageous and stupid. Those who have least spend proportionally most; they need to do so just to survive.

  16. Wally

    Great article Kaye Lee

    It was reported late in Howards term as PM that a new tax was being introduced every week, not a bad effort from the party that revamped the tax system by introducing the GST to replace all other taxes. How do people not see the lies and failure to deliver promises. When the integrity of our leaders has hit such a low it is no wonder that peoples respect and consideration for each other has been eroded.

    Creating disunity amongst the people gives more power and greater leverage to the wealthy, forcing workers into individual work place agreements instead of collective workplace agreements is a classic example of dangling a bit of fruit and then stitching them all up. Changing the way tax is collected will only benefit those who don’t need any help.

  17. John Lord

    Tut tut. Pensioners Kaye.

  18. paul walter

    The overall neolib thing is alibiing for theft and unpalatable.

  19. oldfart

    It is worth noting that we have been down this identical path before. When the original GST was introduced, all the premiers undertook to phase out or get rid of inefficient state taxes. We have yet to reach phase one of getting rid of taxes that were promised to be gotten rid of by premiers. I remember clearly the “outrage” voiced by the Commonwealth when the abolition of the state based taxes failed to materialise. It lasted for about 1 day

    So the central question one has to ask is;

    “Why should we believe them now?”

  20. Matthew Oborne

    the last point about businesses needing customers with money more than they need tax breaks is absolutely true in my area, so are the other issues of course but most biting right now is the available money of the community to support their local businesses.

    I went to the homebrew shop last week and he now opens at 12 and shuts early simply because he doesnt have enough customers and being the only homebrew shop in the area his sales are not affected by shorter hours.

    He was thinking that tighter times would see an increase in sales but has come to realise many people are unable to afford the set up costs of homebrewing.

    can he change his business model? can people brew and bottle in his store legally? I would hope so, another business that sold products that could be rented has now decided to offer renting as sales have fallen off a cliff.

    Here you can visually see many local businesses are in a death spiral, the local picture framer is unsure he will even try to sell his business when he retires in a couple of years time.

    Our main street is slowly emptying yet people go about there business not talking about the slow death of the one major town near us that supplies us with almost everything we need.

    The times they are a changin’ Liberal policy and brutish behavior towards the poor has closed the purse and wallet shut down many businesses yet some small business continues to think the Libs are there to help them.

  21. Ned

    Render unto Cesar Hill-song Morriscum your flat 15% tithing. Gee even God isn’t that greedy only wanting 10% tithing. But then Tithing has been shown as unfair because it pushes the poor further below the poverty line than their Pharisees brethren like Morrison who build big illuminati cult temples to themselves for gospel rock bands to get the suckers to keep paying their tithing for more entertainment and lavish their cult leader with folk worship.

  22. zhen

    just heard from Green’s that get rid of carbon tax while raising GST will hit families harder than carbon tax, what is Government supposed to do to poor families? what is the point get rid of carbon tax for ?

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