Sunday, October 28, 2018

How Poor Can you Be

There is a constant whine one hears from beyond the Tavern's hedges. A constant demand that the 'Rich' should pay more. This despite the 'top' 2.7% paying 26% of the income tax take, and the next 17% paying 35% between them. That's 60% Those outside the hedge doing the whining pay two thirds of sod all. The middle income folk of Oz pay the rest. But still the whining continues.  Even those in the middle complain. This old Tavern Keeper is counted in the bottom numbers and whilst being as poor as the proverbial churchmouse, I don't complain. I render sod all to Caesar on principle. Apart from the horrendous tax rate on pipe tobacco ! 

Oz is a wealthy nation. According to Wiki, when we look at personal wealth per adult we come 3rd just below Iceland and Switzerland.  The UK comes along in 12th and the good old home of capitalism, the USA a mere 25th. And we have the best beaches too.

But we have a 'Progressive' income tax regime (like many western nations) where the more you earn the more you pay. Not just in real terms of a flat rate but the unreal increasing rate that penalises effort, experience and value.

On average, each Australian has net assets (assets less liabilities) of just over $410,000, an increase of $9000 over 12 months, according to a recent report authored by CommSec's chief economist, Craig James, and senior economist, Ryan Felsman. Over five years, per capita wealth is up by more than $100,000 – or 36 per cent.  Not mine though. It is mostly housing.

But folk still complain.

Grace Collier had some things to say in the Oz bar the other evening. Grace is a regular columnist with the Australian. Her early years were spent in the Labour movement, before she started her own industrial relations consulting business. Grace has written for other publications including the AFR, and contributed with specialist chapters in several books. She was considered as a 'lefty' and often invited to the ABC's Q&A panel where she was vocal and incisive, until she dared to criticise Julia Gillard's cleavage and was henceforth branded a 'right-winger'. 
Australians are wealthy yet complain of unfairness
Australia is a peculiar place to observe right now, and the future isn’t looking terribly motivating, to be honest. Here we sit with the highest median household wealth ($191,453) and the second highest average adult wealth ($411,060) in the world, yet the population as a whole appears grizzling and aggrieved. 
Our operating platform seems to be built on a grand collective delusion where feelings of impoverishment and anxiety are rife and government is expected to solve every problem.
Our public narrative is of common deprivation, unfairness, discrimination and a shameful lack of social justice. “Bullying” is one of our favourite words and the accusation of bullying is tossed around with childish abandon.
We are told that our wages are terribly low and that working people are given a very raw deal. Inequality is reaching alarming levels, and rising, apparently. There are a bunch of greedy rich people who cluster together somewhere under the category of “business”; these scroungers are living off our wealth, which they stole right from under our noses.
If it wasn’t for the rich people taking our money, we would all be so much richer. We regard the wealthy with sneering envy and we must march in the streets to “change the rules”.
Our government of course, has the power to fix everything and this is what it must do, and will, without any blowback. The best way to fix everything and make us feel better is to take more off the rich and hand it around.
With our anticipated change of federal government next year, there will be a swag of new taxes to redistribute wealth, and the implementation of an agenda that purports to rival Gough Whitlam’s.
People seem oblivious to the scale of this planned tax take and its implications. 
There seems to be no comprehension that it might increase the cost of living further 
.....and make getting ahead even harder for those who start out with nothing.
Or perhaps there is awareness of the plans but a dumb belief that the taxes will only ever be paid by someone else, so it doesn’t matter at all.
It seems to me that government is the cause of so many problems, and most of the time we should be calling for less government, not more. Our high cost of living, for example, is caused by excessive taxation and unhelpful government interference.
Three levels of government costs a lot to run, and our working population is probably not big enough to do this without feeling stretched.
Despite our obvious wealth and good fortune, we seem collectively determined to act like victims who need government to help us out with every expense.
Perhaps because we demand it, and perhaps because they want to remain relevant, politicians are always trying to solve the problems we say plague us. The way these problems are solved doesn’t require much thought, there is a tried and true formula here even a complete drongo could follow.
To solve problems in Australia, whether they are real or imagined, we have royal commissions or new taxes, and sometimes both.
Too many people are obese? The answer then must be a tax. Not an income tax on obese people, of course (that would be too effective, if somewhat mean), but a tax on the evil influence (business) that has made the people buy sugary drinks (the bastards).
Too many young people cannot afford to buy houses? Nothing to do with the fact that taxes and duties already take around 40 per cent of the cost of a house, hence making it far too expensive. 
The problem is all the people who are buying homes (the greedy investors). It is a bizarre and simplistic idea, yet it has been accepted without pushback; if one person has 10 houses it means that another person cannot have one.
Our opposition wants to curb negative gearing by restricting the use of it to new houses or apartments, allegedly to help the young enter the market. This is going to make housing more affordable, they say, although this doesn’t mean that prices will drop, and it also doesn’t mean that prices will rise.
So prices will stay the same yet houses will become more affordable and everyone will be happy. Clear as mud?
Young people generally buy apartments or new house-and-land packages on the outskirts of our cities, and when the changes kick in they will be competing for these homes with the entire investment sector. 
Won’t the increased demand for new builds push the price up significantly?
If the price of new builds is artificially elevated by government interference, which occurred as a result of our deluded whining, then this will be a spectacular own goal for the people of this country. 
This policy is the perfect example of government stepping in to fix an imaginary problem that a small section of the community has complained about quite loudly
The fallout is likely to not hurt the rich in the least, and no doubt the pain will be felt by those least able to bear it.
"Hello. We are from the Government and we are here to help you. Just tick the box if you are an Aboriginal. Tick that box there if you are transgender. Disabled and lesbian? Have we got a deal for you. Ah, a Muslim on Centrelink with three wives and 8 kids? Boy have you hit the jackpot. Need an interpreter?"

Drink up folks. There are plenty who have nothing to whine about, just like you, but they have far louder voices, and can find something. 



  1. Is it time to invert that old Aussi anti brit joke? How can you tell if a 747 full of Aussies has landed at Heathrow? You can still hear the whine when the engines have stopped.

  2. This web site certainly has all the information I wanted about this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    1. So, now you know that Grace Collier is someone to look up. Glad you like the Tavern. :)

  3. Do you think it's really a peculiarly Australian thing?

    I personally think the West is suffering from way too much prosperity. People are no longer capable of identifying real problems. They think that not having the very latest smartphone is a major catastrophe. They think that not having a new car every three or four years is an incredibly hardship. People are spoilt and unrealistic. They brood about problems that are largely imaginary.

    We're so rich we can even afford to indulge ourselves in imaginary illnesses.

    It seems to me to be characteristic of the entire anglosphere, not just Australia. And the whining isn't confined to the poor (or the relatively poor). The rich like to whine as well. Everybody wants more even if they already have enough.

    We have a civilisation based on discontent and envy. We have no actual values or beliefs, so all that is left is mone

    1. No. I don't think it is confined to Oz. You are correct. It is an outcome of affluence and a lack of 'values'. All the points you put so well make a fine coda to the post.

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Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..