Joe Hockey infamously labelled us all as “lifters or leaners”, he just mixed the labels up.
The conservative government has decided it is the poor who will do all the heavy lifting when it comes to budget repair and paying for their obscene defence spending and tax cuts to the wealthy.
First up they got rid of the FBT requirement to justify claims of business usage for cars.
Then they got rid of the carbon and mining taxes.
The temporary debt levy on those earning over $180,000 was removed after two years and they increased the second-highest tax threshold to $87,000 delivering a tax cut to anyone earning over $80,000.
The freeze on politcians’ pay rises was also very short-lived. From the beginning of 2016, all federal MPs, heads of agencies, departmental secretaries and federal judges such as those who work for the Fair Work Commission and Family Court received a pay rise giving Malcolm Turnbull an extra $10,000 and the heads of both the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Treasury about $50,000.
Small businesses had their company tax rate cut to 28.5% and the instant asset write-off threshold was increased to $20,000.
All people who were employed and earning over $18,200 kept the carbon tax compensation of the increased tax free threshold.
Tax concessions for negative gearing, capital gains tax and superannuation contributions remain inviolate as does corporate welfare in the form of gargantuan subsidies to the mining and pastoral sectors.
And it appears inevitable that all businesses will have their tax rate slashed by 5% in the near future.
At the other end of the scale….
The Schoolkids Bonus has been axed costing all families who earn less than $100,000 pa and have kids at school.
The Single Income Family Supplement and the Energy supplement have been axed.
The temporary freeze on the Superannuation Guarantee seems to have become permanent with the date for lifting it sliding further away every budget.
The fuel excise indexation freeze was lifted which increases the price of fuel for all with businesses having the option of passing on their increased cost to the consumer.
Family Tax Benefit payments have seen some cuts with more being proposed.
More than 330,000 Age Pensioners have had their Age Pension entitlements cut, with at least 100,000 of those affected Australians losing all Age Pension entitlements.
Wage growth has stagnated and penalty rates have been cut.
Co-payments for visiting doctors have been introduced by stealth via the GP rebate freeze causing many to abandon bulk-billing and various imaging services have also had bulk-billing incentives removed.
Young unemployed people will face a month with no income under proposed changes cut down from the original suggestion of six months.
Far from delivering Abbott’s promised paid parental leave package, we have seen entitlements cut so women can no longer combine the government payment with their workplace entitlement.
Cuts to Aboriginal funding, legal aid, community groups, refuges, charities and NGOs have decimated the support available to the most vulnerable.
Savage cuts to promised education and hospital funding are threatening the public system, with private operators reaping the benefits.
The privatisation of public assets has denied us the returns from profitable businesses and led to price increases. a decline in services, and job losses.
Despite Turnbull’s urging world leaders at a conference about refugees to do more to address the underlying causes of displacement, including providing more assistance in home countries, we have slashed foreign aid to historically low levels.
For the wealthy, these are heady days as they successfully lobby to increase their share of the pie at every turn whilst cutting costs, oversight and accountability.
Getting rid of the carbon and mining taxes did not lead to an influx of job-creating investment as we were promised any more than increasing the dividends to foreign shareholders by slashing the company tax rate will.
Cutting the disposable income of consumers can only lead to a contraction in our domestic economy which will inevitably accelerate the closure of local businesses.
Enjoy it while you can because standing on the backs of people drowning in a sea of poverty will see you come crashing down sooner or later.
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