So why not tax the rich? I

Marxist John Passant proposes this solution to Australian (so-called) poverty:

Taxing the rich and distributing some of the wealth we create for them to the 2.2 million below the poverty line or creating hundreds of thousands of well-paid including renewable energy jobs, or both, would address poverty.

As Cat readers know the Commonwealth government does this already.

Looking just at the Social Security and Welfare Budget of $131,656 million and then assuming, say, three million Australians living below the poverty line (even more generous than the ACOSS measure) that equates to (131,656,000,000/3,000,000) $43,885 per person.

Peter Whiteford has criticised this calculation saying that there are really 5 million ‘poor’ people in Australia – okay, assuming that number is true, that still works out to some $26,000 per person.

So a single mum with, say, three kids could get (4 x $26,000) $104,000. But, of course, she doesn’t. Why not? Well it is really up to our friends in Canberra to explain where the welfare budget actually gets spent.

So what is John Passant upset about?

She is responsible for the removal from 1 January of 100,000 single parents – 90 per cent of whom are women – from the single or partnered parenting payment to Newstart.

According to the Australian Council of Social Service, this will result in loss in weekly income of $60 to $110 a week for single parents when their child turns eight. Previously, this kicked in when the youngest child turned 16.

Macklin argues this will encourage more people into the workforce. It won’t. As the Labor Party’s Penny Wong and Craig Emerson pointed out when prime minister John Howard tried something similar as part of his infamous ”welfare to work” program, all it will do is increase their poverty and misery. It will, however, save the Labor government $728 million in four years, which is the real reason Labor is doing it. In 2005, the current Finance Minister, Penny Wong, condemned the Howard’s proposed changes, saying there was no evidence that ”dumping a sole parent or her children or a person with a disability in this country onto the lower dole payment would help them get work.”

As Passant should know, referring to any female politicians as ‘she’ is a form of misogyny – but let’s not go there today.

The whole kerfuffle arose when Macklin was asked if she could live on $245 a week and said she could. She probably can’t; but that isn’t the point. Jenny Macklin, over her life, has made choices that means she doesn’t have to live on $245 a week. She doesn’t have to live on charity.

Passant tells us:

A desperate single mum might take any below-award paying job just to survive. Prostitution might even be an option as the choice between food for the kids or not forces single parents to make grim decisions just to survive.

Ah the old chestnut – neo-liberalism drives women to prostitution.

Here is the thing: get a job, the welfare system is a safety net and is not designed to finance people’s lifestyle choices.

Update:

HT: Quadrant Online.

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