Poverty – several commies and me

On Friday morning I took part in a Radio National panel discussion on poverty. It was pre-recorded and should be broadcast sometime on Sunday morning.

It was quite interesting watching the responses to my comments:

  • Inequality and poverty are separate issues. I don’t worry much about inequality but poverty can be a serious issue.
  • Even in the wealthiest societies there will also be some people who through no fault of their own find themselves in dire circumstances.
  • Most people differentiate between the ‘deserving poor’ and the ‘undeserving poor’.
  • The definition of poverty is contested – in Australia it can mean anything from people who are homeless to only having one plasma television.

Nothing. There was no response, beyond knowing smiles – yes, another neo-con conservative – and they just carried on with their conversation.

This evening Jim Rose drew my attention to this graph:

poverty

It comes from this document

We find that moving from traditional income-based measures of poverty to a consumption-based measure and,
crucially, adjusting for bias in price indexes lead to the conclusion that the poverty rate declined by 26.4 percentage points between 1960 and 2010, 8.5 percentage points of which has occurred since 1980.

That is US data – but I suspect a similar exercise would generate similar results in Australia.

Taxpayers are being asked to support anti-poverty programs for people who are nowhere near living in poverty, while other who do live in poverty lose out. Of course, that isn’t a surprising argument. As Director’s Law makes clear:

Director’s law states that the bulk of public programs are designed primarily to benefit the middle classes but are financed by taxes paid primarily by the upper and lower classes.

To better understand this concept understand that the federal government will spend $140 billion on welfare this coming financial year and it is generally accepted that there are 2.5 million people “living in poverty” – so the federal government could send each and every one of them a cheque for $56,000.

Another way of looking at this is illustrated by Matt Cowgill:

The Budget shows that total spending on social security and welfare this year will be $140 569 million. Our population is 23.5 million. Divide one number by the other and you arrive at spending of about $6000 per person on social security and welfare …

That $6000 per person includes much more than cash benefits, which is what you might think of when you hear the word ‘welfare’. This category of spending includes not only the age, veterans and disability pensions along with other cash benefits, but also aged care, child care, and disability care.

So what do we get for that $6000 per person? Here’s the breakdown:
Cowgill

Doesn’t seem to be a lot of money actually being spent on poverty.

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69 Responses to Poverty – several commies and me

  1. 2dogs

    Most people differentiate between the ‘deserving poor’ and the ‘undeserving poor’.

    Inequality can be eliminated very cheaply – for much cheaper than our current welfare state – if we equalise in a once only reckoning, say, at birth or attaining the age of majority.

    It is the prolonged deference to the irresponsible that drives the cost.

  2. Notafan

    I just want to say as the owner of only one TV, possibly plasma, but eight years old, in any case, I want to be known as a member of the deserving poor.
    Poverty in Australia is only relative, isn’t it?

  3. ar

    There was no response, beyond knowing smiles – yes, another neo-con conservative – and they just carried on with their conversation.

    Why would anyone put themselves through that?

  4. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Commies are very good at poverty,just look at the old Soviet Bloc,any amount of poverty there,except of course the aparatchik class,absolutely no poverty amongst them,and the higher up the. Party ladder thr less poverty there was..The alp./ greens work on the same principles,look at the krudds and the sheila who took 9 years to do a 4 year course at uni,wonder if she did any favours to finally get the diploma and whatdid she do to get the slater and gordon job?

  5. It’s a bit like the workplace. If your average union member understood how little of their total cost went to their wages, they’d quit on the spot. Contractors get paid 30% more without costing anything extra.union members are always shocked to find that their contracting peers earn so much more without costing their employers a single cent more.

    They are being ripped off by there own benefactors, and don’t even know it.

    The left have been left allowed to write their own narrative unchallenged for too long. Why can’t conservatives go on to Q&A and just answer everything with “that’s just a leftist narrative” rather than giving legitimacy to all of their bullshit? Just don’t play their game. Not by their rules, not ever.

  6. Inequality and poverty are separate issues. I don’t worry much about inequality but poverty can be a serious issue.

    Exactly.
    Poverty is an issue.
    Inequality is a non-issue.

    Progressives throw the word ‘inequality’ around in a shock-and-awe way as if it is as bad as poverty. But if I get rich but you stay the same, there’s nothing wrong with that. If I win a million dollars and you win a hundred dollars, we’re both better off, even though inequality has increased.

  7. conrad

    “Doesn’t seem to be a lot of money actually being spent on poverty”

    Which ones of these are you saying are mainly not helping groups in poverty? The problem is you can’t tell from the tables (presumably excluding a few like disability which I imagine mainly goes to people who would otherwise be in poverty, and FTB which doesn’t). You need to some of table with the efficiency of those measures to target poverty before complaining about them.

  8. Andrew

    If I win a million dollars and you win a hundred dollars, we’re both better off, even though inequality has increased.

    If you won $1m your capacity to pay tax has increased $1m. Capacity to pay is the narrative of the tax eating class now. The presumption is any money I don’t need to live is available. We’re merely having a discussion about how much it’s “fair” for me to keep.

  9. Andrew

    WTF is a neo-con anyhow? I’ve said to commies who use it that it’s a made up word. You just put “neo” in front of stuff you don’t like to turn it into a slur, because “conservative” is not sufficiently insulting. Eg “the Gillard govt was full of neo-clusterfucks” or “I disapprove of the presence of a neo-rapist on the opposition front bench.”

  10. Child care benefits and rebates are mostly payment for the exorbitant over-regulated hell that is modern child care. And don’t let the industry tell you it’s about staffing ratios. This goes way beyond staffing ratios, it goes to the requirement to employ early learning graduates and other credentialed people; as well as oceans of red tape and compliance costs. These costs are not just built into increased fees through ‘passing on’ – they also have the effect of knocking competitors out of the industry, which restricts supply (thus driving up prices).

    Sure it’s good to pay for child care for poor people. That’s a tiny fraction of the child rebate. Most of it is an utter, unmitigated waste of money.

    (that’s an “inefficiency,” if you like, Conrad…. government expenditure paying for government created scarcity)

  11. WTF is a neo-con anyhow?

    It’s real, but most people don’t know what it is.

    It represents a particular right wing philosophy that was at its peak in the Bush administration in the US, most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine.

  12. Grigory M

    I just want to say as the owner of only one TV, possibly plasma, but eight years old, in any case, I want to be known as a member of the deserving poor.
    Poverty in Australia is only relative, isn’t it?

    Everything is relative. Interesting that you have chosen ownership of but one TV as the criterion for establishing your impoverished status – and have left aside the need for you to spend your inadequate disposable income on travel overseas, residing 2 months each year in Europe and Italy and on the Dalmation Coast. Relative to some affluent older citizen whose entitlements are monumentally enhanced by ownership of a concession card – you do indeed seem impoverished.

  13. Hydra

    You’re absolutely spot on about one thing, Sinc. The biggest conceptual understanding at the moment in the English language is for the word “equality”. During my University student years (completing my 6th) it has become more and more prevalent each year and ridiculous since Abbott got to power.

    “That’s not fair.” “Inequality is such a huge problem.”

    This isn’t the freaking AFL. This is taxpayer dollars. What’s unfair is that you little arts degrees students who will never contribute to society in any material way receives tens of thousands of $$$ from the Government and somehow never expect to pay it back.

    What’s unfair is that the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Government is costing us $12bn+ per year in interest – the equivalent of the jetfighters we bought for defence – and YOU, as the entitled left, aren’t paying a cent of it but seem to be on your high horse about how you need more Centrelink to spend at the nightclub on a Saturday night even though you still live with your parents and that somehow you provide greater value for money…

    It’s absolutely ludicrous and honestly embarrassing. The left are getting louder and louder about “inequality” when the very policies that create and will continue to create these inequalities they scream about have been introduced or perpetuated by Labor governments (e.g Fair Work Commission).

    I am worried for the future of Australia when there is probably a 70:30 of left:right ratio and they simply do not understand the economics of building an economy let alone have the maturity to understand monetary prioritisation.

  14. Hydra

    I should add, I meant misunderstand* and I meant 70:30 ratio of left:right at universities. Too many late nights with the World Cup.

  15. Infidel Tiger

    There are only two places you want equality:

    1. Before 12 of your peers and a guy in a wig.
    2. Before St Peter.

    Everywhere else is an affront to a free society.

  16. Andrew

    It represents a particular right wing philosophy that was at its peak in the Bush administration in the US

    Yes, I know the “Dubya666″ definition, but that’s pretty much what I said by proxy. Are you suggesting Sinc used the word in the context of his foreign policy views?

  17. Infidel Tiger

    Inequality and poverty are separate issues. I don’t worry much about inequality but poverty can be a serious issue.

    If you proposed that high school students undertake a course outlining how personal finances works, the progressives would howl you down. And yet the biggest reason someone from a poor background won’t change their circumstances no matter their aspirations is a fundamental lack of knowledge about money management. Hell, it’s also the biggest reason kids from a wealthy background go backwards.

  18. Andrew

    The Regressives have banned personal finance literacy too now?? Is there anything they can’t do?

  19. Notafan

    Grigory I should have added :) to my comment which was just picking one up Sinc’s dot points that only one plasma is a measure of poverty. What with all those health card holders flying to Europe business class and DSP taking multiple overseas holidays every year, I can’t be poor too?
    I do get a little itty bit bit of FTB and I’m a single parent so I must be genuinely poor ;)

  20. Ellen of Tasmania

    Great post, Sinc. Thank you.

  21. It represents a particular right wing philosophy that was at its peak in the Bush administration in the US, most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine.

    How is that neo-conservative in any literal sense? Oh, that’s right, it’s made up, like Andrew implied.

  22. “That’s not fair.”

    That’s what my 10 year old always says, to which i always reply, “you mean, someone, somewhere, has more than you?” She hates that response, so it must be valid.

  23. Nilk

    Notafan you beat me to it. I have one CRT tv, and a cheapie set top box digital thing for the rare times I want to watch commercial television.

    I never realised I was poverty-stricken.

    Not that I care – my bills get paid on time, I have a roof over my head, and a room full of books. I don’t need much more.

  24. Nilk

    Heheh, Beer Whisperer. My girl tried the”not fair” routine a couple of times and got asked to justify why everything and everyone had to be the same.

    Logic won, especially after me pointing out that all things being equal then as a rather bright child she should be held back to do boring things at school rather than the extension exercises she’d been getting.

    When she moved to a different school, the extension exercises stopped and yes, school is boring and not something she looks forward to.

  25. entropy

    WTF is a neo-con anyhow? I’ve said to commies who use it that it’s a made up word. You just put “neo” in front of stuff you don’t like to turn it into a slur, because “conservative” is not sufficiently insulting. Eg “the Gillard govt was full of neo-clusterfucks” or “I disapprove of the presence of a neo-rapist on the opposition front bench.”

    I have been contemplating what could be a good pejorative for those arts wankers/student unionists protesting being asked to one day eventually pay back a portion of the cost of their personal education. The best I have come up with so far is ‘klepto-marxism’.

  26. Denise

    ar
    #1347284, posted on June 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    There was no response, beyond knowing smiles – yes, another neo-con conservative – and they just carried on with their conversation.

    Why would anyone put themselves through that?

    For the sake of a possibly brainwashed but essentially sensible viewer who needs exposure to a different worldview. Even if only one, it’s going to make a difference to that life to encounter reality. Same as when I joined a protest against same sex marriage; didn’t have a hope of changing the circumstances but someone has to draw a line in the sand and say ‘This is wrong’. My objection to same sex marriage is more about the legal quagmire that ssm is going to cause, ultimately I suspect all marriage is going to be banned because it’s going to get really messy. Homosexuals are not known for their fidelity. Look at Gore Vidal…the courts are going to be clogged up with divorces and custody battles and probate and … and…and

  27. outsider

    There was no response for the simple reason that it is not a point on which the others could gain anything but another affront to their belief system; the issue does not arise for them, so the passive-aggressive nonsense is the preferred – well – only response. The same thing happens to Judith often in the Drum – time seems to stand still – a gap in lefty space-time ensues, rationality leaks out of the conversation, then normal stations are resumed.

    The magistrate in Jim Farrell’s book The Siege of Krishnapur got the same reaction trying to explain to the Indian villagers that building a levy would protect them from annual flood waters; they listened politely then laughed to themselves after he had left: why go to all that trouble when sacrificing a black goat would accomplish the same thing.
    Leftism is an immature state of intellectual development – a tribal experience with strong emotion as propellant.

  28. Ellen of Tasmania

    Heheh, Beer Whisperer. My girl tried the”not fair” routine a couple of times and got asked to justify why everything and everyone had to be the same.

    One guy had a little trouble trying to get people to sign on to his idea to redistribute GPA scores in U.S. colleges.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOyaJ2UI7Ss

  29. MT Isa Miner

    Infidel Tiger

    #1347375, posted on June 15, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Inequality and poverty are separate issues. I don’t worry much about inequality but poverty can be a serious issue.

    If you proposed that high school students undertake a course outlining how personal finances works, the progressives would howl you down. And yet the biggest reason someone from a poor background won’t change their circumstances no matter their aspirations is a fundamental lack of knowledge about money management. Hell, it’s also the biggest reason kids from a wealthy background go backwards.

    This is true, I.T. It took me most of my adult life to understand money even though I had enough sense to save some. I had no friggen idea about simple stuff like compound interest and why banks exist. Jeez-an adult with a vote with no idea about how money works. And I’m not a shag on a rock either- most people don’t know much about money.

    Funny how conservatives do more about poverty, but leftists crap on about poor people more.

    In his book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservativism (Basic Books, 2006), Brooks discovered that approximately equal percentages of liberals and conservatives give to private charitable causes. However, conservatives gave about 30 percent more money per year to private charitable causes, even though his study found liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year in income than did conservative families. This greater generosity among conservative families proved to be true in Brooks’ research for every income group, “from poor to middle class to rich.”

    Lefties don’t get it that governments mostly get money from tax or maybe it’s because OTHER people’s tax they don’t care. Hockey has to increase the tax base and cut welfare- people learn easier if it’s their own coin.

    Yeah,said it well , I.T. Rules of religion (God) and the rule of law- the only time I want a equality ruler measuring me up.

  30. Grigory M

    notafan – let’s you and I reflect on just what Sinc is talking about, Poverty – and how easy it is for us to be flippant about impoverishment when it is not the circumstance that rules our own lives. Or perhaps mark the words of Don McLean’s Orphans of Wealth – describing poverty in America, but no less relevant to the situation for many in our own country.

  31. Gab

    That is US data – but I suspect a similar exercise would generate similar results in Australia.

    I think you be right, Prof.

    According to the Smith Family in 2001, 2.86 million Australians lived in poverty. The blurb on your National Radio segment states that now 2.2 million Australians live in poverty.

    What is meant by poverty? According to the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and
    Social Research, ” the poverty line for Australia to the December quarter 2013 inclusive of housing costs, the poverty line is $946.11 per week for a family comprising two adults, one of whom is working, and two dependent children”. That’s some pretty rich poverty right there.

  32. Notafan

    Hi Grigory I know but the conversation was about poverty in Australia now, was it not? For my sins I recently did a little research on poverty in Australian and read some of the Melbourne institute stuff. There are no objectives benchmarks, it is measured as households with a certain percentage below average weekly earnings. In world terms no-one in Australia is poor though some find it tough. What the government does not do charities like salvos and vinnies can. I donate money to St Vincent de Paul and Caritas Australia plus one or two others on a regular basis, and when I travel, to local charities and churches, it’s never enough but it’s more than average.

  33. entropy

    Change the name of newstart, youth allowance, disability payments, childcare payments, family payment A and B and the name in every case includes ‘welfare’ in it.
    So instead of newstart, it would be known as ‘unemployed welfare payment’, and family part B would be ‘family supplemental welfare payment’

    Everyone can play the labelling game, and goodness knows the left have made an art form of it, but in this case they would be calling it what it is.
    In fact, maybe the Act should be amended to require that any payment to boost income of the recipient should be called what it is: welfare. If the left when the next get in try to get rid of that little change, they would be showing themselves for what they are.

  34. Tel

    Nothing. There was no response, beyond knowing smiles – yes, another neo-con conservative – and they just carried on with their conversation.

    You have to understand they don’t engage on issues, it’s all about emoting. We need to feel what’s right, not think about actions and consequences.

  35. MT Isa Miner

    And they’re African, Mexican, Caucasian, Indian
    Hungry and hopeless Americans
    The orphans of wealth and of adequate health
    Disowned by this nation they live in

    Funny there’s less hopeless Caucasians than there should be. Don McLean didn’t say WHY some races are still more poor than others in 2014 despite all the welfare money. When blacks and Hispanics make up about 25% of the population and whites the rest, WHY are some races so poor after trillions of government $? It must be:” Waacism!”

    Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity
    View Table in New Window
    Location White Black Hispanic
    United States 13% 35% 33%

  36. It represents a particular right wing philosophy that was at its peak in the Bush administration in the US, most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine.

    How is that neo-conservative in any literal sense? Oh, that’s right, it’s made up, like Andrew implied.

    It’s not made up. Sure’ its a generic insult used by leftists, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of meaning or history.

    The term “neoconservative” refers to those who made the ideological journey from the anti-Stalinist left to the camp of American conservatism.[2] Neoconservatives frequently advocate the “assertive” promotion of democracy and promotion of “American national interest” in international affairs including by means of military force.[3][4] The movement had its intellectual roots in the Jewish[5] monthly review magazine Commentary.[6][7]

  37. Demosthenes

    most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine.

    For a given value of ‘democracy’, sure.

    The best I have come up with so far is ‘klepto-marxism’.

    Not bad.

  38. The point is the term ‘neocon’ has a definite meaning beyond something that leftist protestors might scrawl onto a piece of cardboard in marker pen as an insult to the conservative villain of the day.
    And in fact claiming the word doesn’t mean anything serves only to diminish and erase the legacy of the very real neocon movement.

  39. Tel

    Director’s law states that the bulk of public programs are designed primarily to benefit the middle classes but are financed by taxes paid primarily by the upper and lower classes.

    This statement doesn’t fit the breakdown that you show, let’s go through them:

    Money going to old people : “Income support for seniors”, “Residential & flexible aged care”, “Assistance to veterans and dependants”, “Income support for carers” (not all of it), “Other assistance to the aged”, “Veteran’s Community Care & Support”, “Home care for the aged” which is a total of $2932 or 49% of the total.

    So roughly half the money goes to old people, but on what basis can we say this is “designed primarily to benefit the middle classes”? For starters, most of that lot are means tested, and poor people grow old too. Most old people don’t live a profligate lifestyle by any means, if they do have spare money it goes into doctors, and pills and stuff.

    Money going to people because they have kids : “Family tax benefit”, “Child care benefit rebate & assistance”, “Parents income support”, “Paid parental leave”, “Child support”, “Other support to families” for a total of $1536 or 26% of the total.

    Very arguable to call this primarily a benefit to the middle class, as financed by the poor and the rich. Most importantly, family tax benefit is merely a reduction of total tax, not financed by anyone. These families still pay tax, just not as much. Basically childless people pay more tax because they have higher disposable income, “middle class” or otherwise has absolutely nothing to do with it. Other stuff like income support is pretty stringently means tested, I don’t believe for a moment these payments are going to “middle class” families, unless they are also involved with Centerlink scamming (and no doubt some are, but that’s an enforcement issue).

    The remaining quarter goes mostly to disabled people, and the unemployed. Sure, many disable people might be regarded as middle class, but I would guess that statistically they are poorer than an equivalent cross section of regular folk, simply because disabled people find it more difficult to get jobs. Paying unemployment benefits is hardly financing the middle class, that’s complete crap.

  40. Boambee John

    “There are no objectives benchmarks, it is measured as households with a certain percentage below average weekly earnings.”

    This measure produces perverse outcomes, such that the easiest way to reduce poverty in Australia is to reduce average weekly earnings. As the government is really only able to influence taxpayer funded incomes, imposing a public service/judicial/politicians wage freeze would be a simple option. As average income drops in the public sector, it lowers the national average, which lowers the poverty rate.

    Alternatively, even if everyone below the “poverty line” were given a government payment to increase their income to the poverty line, the result would be increased poverty, as the payments would have increased national average income, thus leaving the previous “poor” at the old poverty line, which is now lower than the new one, plus a number who were just above the old line who would now fall below the new one.

    The current measure is essentially designed to ensure productive and rewarding (financially) careers in the poverty alleviation industry. They do well while doing “good”.

  41. MT Isa Miner

    Boambee John

    #1347519, posted on June 15, 2014 at 9:04 am

    “There are no objectives benchmarks, it is measured as households with a certain percentage below average weekly earnings.”

    This measure produces perverse outcomes, such that the easiest way to reduce poverty in Australia is to reduce average weekly earnings. As the government is really only able to influence taxpayer funded incomes, imposing a public service/judicial/politicians wage freeze would be a simple option. As average income drops in the public sector, it lowers the national average, which lowers the poverty rate.

    I like your form, Boambee John. Then we could let the private charities closest to the people work on real poverty.

  42. Gab

    From the “debate”:

    Dr David Morawetz
    Economist, psychologist and co-author of the ‘Advance Australia Fair? report

    Never heard of him either as a psych or an economist. And his solution to end poverty? Increase taxes. Natch.

  43. Tel

    When blacks and Hispanics make up about 25% of the population and whites the rest, WHY are some races so poor after trillions of government $?

    They are poor because of the trillions of government $, that’s what is keeping them helpless and dependent. It’s a voter farm, it’s designed to work that way.

    There was a good article on what went wrong in Detroit with buckets of Federal government money being tipped into “Model Towns” projects and artificial planning of neighbourhoods, that all failed badly. Google doesn’t seem to want to find it today, maybe someone else remembers the link.

  44. Ms Dolittle

    The best I have come up with so far is ‘klepto-marxism’. Entropy, corker! term coined, thanks.

  45. Des Deskperson

    ‘This category of spending includes not only the age, veterans and disability pensions along with other cash benefits, but also aged care, child care, and disability care.’

    I’m intrigued by this figure: Other welfare programs & administration: $263 per person

    In other words, less than 4% of welfare spending per person goes on administration; bureaucratic activities like program development, eligibility assessment, accreditation, inspection, monitoring, review, evaluation, client advice as wells all the infrastructure -offices, IT, desks, etc – that’s needed to support this.

    I have no comparative figures and maybe the sheer size of our welfare handouts dwarfs the administrative costs, whether they are efficient or not. But superficially, at least, it appears that our welfare bureaucracy is lean, an impression I struggle to grasp, given all the bloats I see straggling back to Human Services around 11 am after morning tea at the Hyperdome.

  46. john constantine

    the abc used to be a media organisation, but in 2014 it feels it is entitled to act as a religious cult, to raise peoples awareness of ‘the right way’ to behave,think and move through the ignorance and despair of the abbottbeasts australia.

    the ‘ufo’ cults used to be the religion substitutes in the fifties and sixties, people believed in them, and popular culture did the movies.

    then we had the california cults in the seventies, scientology, hippies, hare krishnas, and popular culture ran with that theme to sell content.

    the imminent armegeddon of nuclear winter was the big thing of the eighties, ‘the bomb ends the world’ movies everywhere, until aids went through hollywood/entertainers like unripe fruit, and popular culture movies inflicted the despair of the black death for the rest of the decade, until the average punter was desperate for a ‘groundhog day’ to break the unbearable tedium of the earnest death-whisperers.

    now the abc has global warming. The taxpayer must fund the abc to fight global warming and save the planet. Being a religious cult allows the abc to lie and commit any action in advancing the cause, and as long as the abc groupthink rewards the action, no other higher authority is acknowledged.

    poverty? if everyone was the same, there would be no relative poverty, and everybody could be happy.

    the abc mindset is laid out in one example, where an abc chick choked in tears, when reading out a news bulletin, describing a medical advance.

    “it is just so unfair” the abc wailed, “it is terrible to think of all the poor people that won’t be able to afford this.”

    The god gene seems to be in people somewhere, even in the majority of athiests, and if skilled marketers can bypass peoples bullshit detectors by using the ‘save the world/punish the wrong sort’ call and response trigger–watch the money votes and power flow from the masses to the scammers.

    the abc is happy, as long as the cash and power without responsibility flows to them.

    –an unanswerable abc, with jobs for life, guaranteed public service retirement, access to cultural wealth and prestige–and the ability to milk tax dollars through production companies, and milk activist dollars through selling services to activist groups that need the abc to provide free publicity.

    what a horror story for 2014.

    too big to remain.

    if poverty worries the abc, then allow the abc to divert 10% of their resources to poverty changing projects , for a real feel good effect.

  47. Rob MW

    “if poverty worries the abc, then allow the abc to divert 10% of their resources to poverty changing projects , for a real feel good effect.”

    Bugger the 10% – give $800,000,000.00 to the Salvos and $800,000,000.00 to Visy to make premium weather proof cardboard boxes with built-in power sockets and a TV antenna and a decent A-frame that self-attaches to any Woolies trolley with an uptake incentive being tax deductable smokes, grog and gambling……….oh…..and a fucking broom to sweep the mess up.

    People can live without the ABC but they can’t live without the essentials. Time to scrap the ABC.

  48. Andrew

    The term “neoconservative” refers to those who made the ideological journey from the anti-Stalinist left to the camp of American conservatism.[2] Neoconservatives frequently advocate the “assertive” promotion of democracy and promotion of “American national interest” in international affairs including by means of military force.[3][4] The movement had its intellectual roots in the Jewish[5] monthly review magazine Commentary.[6][7]

    Yes, I read that. But it’s just a meaningless download of leftist memes like GWB and Jooooooooooos. Nobody who uses the word literally means the above. Go away, look on social meeja for the word, and report back.

  49. Tel

    I have no comparative figures and maybe the sheer size of our welfare handouts dwarfs the administrative costs, whether they are efficient or not. But superficially, at least, it appears that our welfare bureaucracy is lean, an impression I struggle to grasp, given all the bloats I see straggling back to Human Services around 11 am after morning tea at the Hyperdome.

    This should give you some idea of the scale of it.

    The total income tax collected by the Australian Commonwealth in 2012-2013 was $242G divided by a population of 23.5M you get an average of $10.3k per person paid in income tax. Looking at the $6k per person figure from the top article, that’s more than half the total income tax right there.

    http://ourhealth.org.au/rep-support/consumer-reps-guide-australias-health-system/health-funding

    Expenditure on health in Australia was estimated to be $140.2 billion in 2011-12 with individuals paying $24.8 billion in out-of-pocket costs (an average of $1,101 per person).

    Presuming that’s right, you can add on $4900 per person in assorted government medical spending (including Medicare, state funding, etc). In other words, all of income tax goes to some sort of government wealth transfer, the only challenge is to figure out who gets it. Some of it ends up back in the hands of the people who paid it, one way or another, but a good fraction does not.

  50. Yes, I read that. But it’s just a meaningless download of leftist memes like GWB and Jooooooooooos. Nobody who uses the word literally means the above. Go away, look on social meeja for the word, and report back.

    Report back from twitter? WTF? My knowledge of neoconservatism comes from right wing US journals and political bloggers.
    The term is not “meaningless”. I’ve already refuted that by supplying a meaning.
    Neoconservatism is, or perhaps was, a genuine political stream of thought. Plenty of links from the wikipedia article to demonstrate that.

    I can’t help it if you get your political theory from twitter and facebook.

    To sum up the argument: “we don’t believe that neoconservatism is a real thing because we get all our info from facebook, and facebook just says it’s a bunch of meanies being mean.”

  51. boy on a bike

    Of course there is going to be inequality. We had two 18 year olds at the dining table last night. They are about to start life on the bottom rung of the ladder. Their incomes are far, far lower than mine – but what else do you expect when I have acquired a couple of qualifications and spent a few decades working, and they’ve just left school?

  52. johanna

    Good point, BOAB. What matters most is social/economic mobility. And it is almost 100% certain that in 20 years those two will not be exactly equal in terms of wealth.

    The levellers always use a relative poverty benchmark, e.g. income as a percentage of median incomes. This ensures that poverty (which provides their livelihood) can never be eliminated in a free society. No matter how well-off the lower income percentiles are in absolute terms, they will always be “poor.” And, society is to blame, especially those who have done well for themselves.

  53. Baldrick

    The interview on Radio National is available here, for your listening edification.

  54. Their incomes are far, far lower than mine – but what else do you expect when I have acquired a couple of qualifications and spent a few decades working, and they’ve just left school?

    I expect that they should get paid a generous minimum hourly rate, just the same as I’d get if I started a new job despite their lack of experience; that they shouldn’t have to work Sundays or public holidays, and that if they turn out to be duds in their first jobs, they should have a variety of gold-plated legal procedures so that they can crush the employer who regretted his decision to hire them and tried to reverse it, by grinding that employer through an arduous and drawn out legal process.

  55. Mr Rusty

    WTF is a neo-con anyhow? I’ve said to commies who use it that it’s a made up word. You just put “neo” in front of stuff you don’t like to turn it into a slur, because “conservative” is not sufficiently insulting. Eg “the Gillard govt was full of neo-clusterfucks” or “I disapprove of the presence of a neo-rapist on the opposition front bench.”

    I coined and use the term NEO-COMM (neo-communist) just to mess with lefty heads.

    e.g “Gillard and the other neo-comms have driven us farther down the road to serfdom whilst enriching themselves and their Union maaaates at our expense.”

  56. Andrew

    To sum up the argument: “we don’t believe that neoconservatism is a real thing because we get all our info from facebook, and facebook just says it’s a bunch of meanies being mean.”

    To sum up, if the word ever had any meaning it is never used correctly and has long since lost it’s dictionary meaning. Like poverty, welfare, misogyny, inequality, progressive or sustainable.

  57. Shelley

    Where does Austudy/Abstudy fit in?

  58. boy on a bike

    It’s interesting to look at the inequality across the 18 year olds that drop in for an irregular fridge raid.

    There is savage inequality amongst them, and I am sure it is about to get worse. It’s nothing to do with parental income, background or at this point, educational attainment.

    Some started flipping burgers at 15 – they now own cars and have cash in their pockets for the Friday night follies. Others are now in full time employment – their incomes are low, but as they are still living at home, they live very well. They certainly have more money for gadgets, beer and overseas travel than I had at 18.

    I know of two that are about to join the military – in a year or so, they will probably be the top earners in this group.

    Most of the remainder are currently studying or about to start studying – they are generally flat broke, but when they start work in 3 years time as graduates, they could be earning more than those that are working now.

    A few are just bumming around. They are mooching off those that are making money. I don’t know how long that will last – I expect the earners will eventually get sick of the moochers and stop spending any time with them, thus avoiding having their wallets hoovered out by the lazy leeches.

  59. johanna

    BOAB, those are the kinds of observations that will get you put into a re-education program (at best) when the Revolution comes.

    I went to my high school reunion last year. The three richest (as far as I could tell) people there were:

    1. A guy who was always in trouble at school, and left aged 15. He now owns a string of nightclubs, and is undoubtedly a crook. But he’s rolling in dough.

    2. A guy who went through to the HSC, did well, but decided to go into business instead of going to uni. He sold his satellite dish business a few years ago for $22 million.

    3. Another chap who was never regarded as more than an amiable nobody at school. He went to uni, did a Commerce degree and later an MBA. I won’t name his company, as it is a household name, but suffice it to say that he is worth tens of millions.

    The inequality, it burns. And to think that it could have been fixed if a few more social workers and counsellors had been on hand!

  60. Forget equality. Lefties only want it for everybody else. They do not consider themselves equal to any of those that they heart-bleed for.

    Like everything else they say – it is nothing more than a narrative.

  61. gabrianga

    It represents a particular right wing philosophy that was at its peak in the Bush administration in the US, most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine.

    And here was me thinking the most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine was during the Johnson era

    (August 7, 1964 – In response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution)

  62. And here was me thinking the most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine was during the Johnson era

    Not sure about “most notable” but regardless, the neo-con position is that that the worst thing about the Vietnam war was that we lost, and that the loss was due to domestic politics, not the war itself.

    In fact, the loss was caused by the boneheaded and immoral decision to use conscription. If there were no conscription there would have been no ‘protest era’ and the whole thing would have gone very differently.

    But let’s not have a Vietnam thread of doom…

  63. .

    Abolishing excise tax would be a very effective move that would wipe out a lot of poverty rather easily.

  64. Boambee John

    “if poverty worries the abc, then allow the abc to divert 10% of their resources to poverty changing projects , for a real feel good effect.”

    Income inequality doesn’t bother the ABC enough for its “stars” to seek contracts set at average weekly earnings!

  65. mundi

    In australia the poverty rate is set to 25% of average earnings – so it is simy a measure of equality – not poverty.

    It’s important for the departments involved to get these measurements rigged like this – as it becomes an unending problem.

  66. Rococo Liberal

    It represents a particular right wing philosophy that was at its peak in the Bush administration in the US, most notable for its aggressive pro-Western, pro-democracy foreign policy doctrine.

    No, a neo-con is a person who started off life as a lefty but moved to the right. Often these people keep some of the mannerisms of the left, and thus want sweeping change via political action.

  67. Rococo Liberal

    Let’s be honest, the lefty pundits don’t give a shit about poverty; they want a client class, who believe that the light is always on the hill. Just look at the Aborigines. The left isn’t intetersted in Aborigines actually becomeing better off and middle class. They want them to be ‘authentic’ blackfellas who constantly need big givernment programs and bureaucracy to keep them alive. The left wants massive welfare too, on the same basis.

    That is why the left saves its special vitriol for the cashed up bogan. The idea that anyonbe can rise through hard work and not through the bureaucracy is anthema to poor old lefties who really earn so little and are so stupid that they need protection in the form of lots of government.

  68. MT Isa Miner

    Rococo Liberal

    #1348719, posted on June 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Let’s be honest, the lefty pundits don’t give a shit about poverty; they want a client class, who believe that the light is always on the hill. Just look at the Aborigines. The left isn’t intetersted in Aborigines actually becomeing better off and middle class. They want them to be ‘authentic’ blackfellas who constantly need big givernment programs and bureaucracy to keep them alive. The left wants massive welfare too, on the same basis.

    That is why the left saves its special vitriol for the cashed up bogan. The idea that anyonbe can rise through hard work and not through the bureaucracy is anthema to poor old lefties who really earn so little and are so stupid that they need protection in the form of lots of government.

    I sometimes wondered why the latte left HATE working class yobs so much. Shit, we don’t care about them why can’t they leave us alone? The hate is always there and they don’t care who knows it but no-one these days gives them the knuckle sandwich they would have got 30 -40 years ago.

  69. .

    Bang on RL.

    Abolishing excise tax could literally wipe out much poverty with the stroke of a pen.

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