Paul Howes has an interesting argument in the AFR this morning:
The age pension is the single most expensive item in the federal budget at $36 billion a year, 9 per cent of all public expenditure.
And while it is asset-tested, that test does not apply to the principal residence. Instead, only a standard small amount is shaved off if you own your own home.
In effect that means some $18 billion – 4.5 per cent of the total budget – is being handed out each year to people who are worth over half a million dollars.
This is unsustainable and it is unfair. Welfare should only go to those who need it.
Then there is this:
For younger working Australians the deal’s even more insulting: We need to tax you to pay people who, thanks to home ownership, have the kind of wealth you may never attain, largely because you can’t afford a house. Oh, and even if you manage to snag one, and miraculously enjoy similar appreciation, you won’t get the same pension deal.
Nothing like a bit of age-warfare – those damn old people are breathing our air!
Its quite fascinating watching people who crap on and on and on about fairness and equality advocating policies where the elderly and possibly infirm are evicted from their homes to make way for people who appear incapable of the hard work, thrift, and sacrifice necessary for home ownership.
Here is the thing – having bureaucrats and unionists making choices for the elderly as to what they want to do with their own assets is a particularly odious form of social engineering.
Rather than play the envy game, Howes should be advocating policies that promote greater housing market liquidity. Reduced stamp duty, for example, or propose policies that develop a market for reverse mortgages and the like.