Citizen Journalism

Come on, wealthy baby boomers, take a cut in super tax concessions for the rest of us

In Economy, Noely Neate on February 25, 2013 at 5:02 PM
Credit @Thefinnigans

Credit @Thefinnigans

By Noely Neate
February 25, 2013

I had one of those bizarre mornings where a lot of similar themes unexpectedly came together and smacked me in the face about how self-obsessed we Australians have become.

I had a conversation with a friend about Sunrise on 7 (which I am not allowed to watch anymore as my husband says it makes me rant too much) and David Koch’s obsession with superannuation while pretending he is a ‘man of the people’.   His super carry-on drives me insane. Most Australians are worried about paying their monthly bills, not their bloody super. Rant for another day.  To settle down I went cruising various news sites and came across an awesome article on BBC New Magazine  called Australia: Where the good life comes at a price which tells ls us how bloody good we have it in this country.

To push me over the edge I went to AUSVOTES 2013 and read a brilliant, thought-provoking article by Ed Butler titled The ego behind anti-welfarism. It focused on how most Australians now believe they have ‘earned’ their privilege, not that they are lucky.  I urge people to read this article and then have a good look at themselves in the mirror. Like what you see?

The fact is the Baby Boomers are the wealthy in this country. They are the ones with superannuation and homes they have paid off . They are the reason  finance news is now part of our nightly news. They are the people who have convinced us all that the Economy is the most important aspect of our upcoming election, because share prices and the like affect the returns on their shares and their superannuation.  These are also the people who have forgotten that we are the ‘lucky country. Many of them have also forgotten empathy, and passed that on to the public at large.

I many will frown at that statement, but take a breath and think about it.

What sort of country are we that we condone the hit on struggling single mothers by making their lives worse? Yet there is a Hands off my super! cry at the thought of cutting tax concessions on super?  Single mothers would love to have the luxury of superannuation!

Homeless people have no idea about superannuation!  People dying, waiting on hospital surgery lists don’t give a rats butt about superannuation – they will most likely not be alive to benefit from it.  No-one cares about these people, we all just bow down to the all powerful ‘Economy’. Somewhere over the years we lost our humanity .

Baby Boomers consistently tell us they ‘worked hard to live comfortably’ and ‘earned everything they have’, and to a certain degree they have, though they also have a tendency to re-invent history.  They love to proclaim that they ere savers who were not wasteful on big screen TV’s and McMansions, which is true.What they neglect to say is that they did not have the same issues faced today which inhibit saving or paying off your mortgage early, and that many of those issues are actually social.

For starters, back in the day the bank gave you a mortgage based on one sole wage earner, not both as is needed today. In most cases women stayed home and looked after the kids, so there were no child care expenses.  If the earnings were the result of a university education, they didn’t pay for that at all – it was free education.

Same with school. If you went to a state school it was deadset free, unlike today, where it is hundreds of dollars a year. Every teeny extra thing is charged and that is before you get to uniforms.

If a woman did work, as my mother did, you had grandparents on both sides who helped look after your kids while you were at work or on school holidays – another luxury we don’t have today.  In fact, many grandparents would move in with their kids when they retired, helping with resources to pay off that mortgage quicker and look after the kids at the same time whilst they happily lived on a pension. Now many families are not located near their immediate family, and often even if grandparents are close, they are probably either still working or busy enjoying their environment.  I can’t imagine my Nan saying to my mum, ‘Sorry love, can’t look after the kids these school holidays, your father & I are off to Europe for 8 weeks’.

Hell, in the past our grandparents came on a holiday with us, thoroughly enjoying spending time with the family and treating the holiday as a luxury, not a right.  See, the likes of my grandparents were happy to help their families out, they didn’t think of themselves first, they thought of the family as a whole and being forged by both the Great Depression and two World Wars, they seriously knew what a shit economy was and appreciated that times were better.  They cared about their families and their neighbours because they had lived through the hard times when if you didn’t help each other out you were stuffed as you never knew who in the street was going to lose their job next.

Our Grandparents knew what was important – health and happiness for your family.  Baby Boomers benefited from that, and like most spoiled kids don’t appreciate what they had.

Worse, they passed this disease on to their children, my generation.  The whole, ‘I pay tax so I deserve my cut attitude’.  You know what, you don’t, and you should actually appreciate you live in a country where you have even earned enough money to pay bloody tax!

Welfare as per the Oxford Dictionary is ‘statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need’.

‘Basic’ is the operative word. Welfare money should not be used for private education, private health or to top up the wealthy’s superannuation funds.   Education is a right. There are perfectly good state schools around and if you choose not to use them pay for that choice!

We have public hospitals. If you don’t want to wait in line with the rest of us and can afford to pay to go private then bloody well pay for it yourself.   If you have the savings and smarts to invest well and look after your superannuation with good choices well good on you, well done. You don’t need taxpayer funded help.

Sadly the average Australian today can tell you what the price of the $AUD is against the Greenback, but they can’t tell you how many homeless we have in this country.  Think about that for one moment.

We are a lucky country. We did not go down the gurgler like most others, and we should be appreciating that and using that wealth to improve our welfare systems now, while we can afford it, to set up future generations of wage earners to keep our country strong – not to make the poor poorer as we seem to be doing now.

Is this the future you want for your children?  Caring about your own immediate family is not what makes us an enlightened country, caring about ALL people regardless of race or creed does!  In reality if the difference taken off the single mother was taken off the affluent it would maybe mean the ‘lucky’ person loses a few days off their yearly overseas holiday.

For the single mother, it could mean the ability to service her car and maybe get a job to improve her family’s future.

To the homeless person, it could mean the ability to rent a room, clean up, buy some clothes and maybe get a job to get back on track.

We need to start asking our politicians what they will do to improve the lives of ALL Australians, not just how are they going to keep the new ‘affluent’ middle class in the life they have become accustomed to 😦

Twitter and political conversation is invigorating and interesting, and there are some very smart policy experts and economists out there. I urge you, please, over coming months when =you have one of those stimulating political discussions, just take a moment to think that behind those numbers and complex policies there are actual real people who will be affected.

These decisions are not just abstract theories.  Government is there to ‘service the community or state’, not to be a business. Let’s dial down the ‘economic’ talk and dial up the HUMANITY.

Seriously, if our grand parents and great grand parents who suffered and struggled through depression and war could see us now, would they be proud?  Somehow I don’t think so 😦

Cheers,
Noely  @YaThinkN

*AUSVOTES 2013 is an excellent resource online for this year’s federal election. It is unbiased and is looking at all aspects of this upcoming election. I thoroughly recommend that you bookmark or favourite it to read on a regular basis!

Source: Yathink.com.au


Credit: “What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?”

 

Denis Wright responds with something he’d prepared earlier here

Denis Wright Comment & Response

Denis Wright Comment & Response

 

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  1. Noely, like your article, like your thinking. Just go to get those who have it all to just give up a little. Many of those who have a lot need a bit of nudge.

  2. Baby Boomers wealthy – you’ve got to be kidding. Perhaps those at the top of the age range, working in public service, retiring now, have wealth sufficient to retire. But the rest of us will be reliant on pensions. it is the generation above that holds the wealth, and those at the top of the food chain who could afford tax minimization schemes. Find a way to tax excess, from the top down, then there may be enough to fund the majority.

  3. Wonderfully thought out & written, Noely. A true cri de coeur.

    Remember, also, many Baby Boomers benefited from their parents’ frugality & inherited when they died. Some quite handsomely. The way many of them spend now their children will not be so lucky.

    Do agree that many do feel they have “right” to government handouts & assistance even though they don’t need it. All part of the horrendous sense of entitlement fostered by Howard.

    Where I live many homes have been bought by them as investments in their self-managed superannuation funds, then rented out as holiday rentals for tax relief & to pay them off for their retirement. This has drastically reduced the already limited housing stock available for permanent rental & has also lead to an increase in the prices of houses.

  4. I didn’t mean to just a go at Baby Boomers just anyone who doesn’t need welfare, as the definition says “statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need”, so that is baby bonus, any of that stuff, just not necessary & could help an awful lot in need, better all round, as those people instead of being in poverty will get education, be more productive, which means better future for the whole country.

    I just worry if we keep going down the path we are, we will be a baby brother USA and their class system makes you want to cry. Who cares about credit ratings & GDP etc., if you have that many homeless, poverty stricken, crime-laden people?

  5. Recognise the rant and drivel, heard it before about older gen, younger gen, migrants, etc etc. Change baby boomers to jews and you might see that all you have bile, bias and half truths. Lots of unsubstantuated claims, lots of characterisation, little evidence. Try and broaden your analysis to the culture of entitlement. It cuts across your babyboomer rant and starts get at an issue of substance. Tell me about wealthy carltonites wanting the NBN cos they need it more than Melton, or those who need cheap child care so they can have O/S trips but pay $10 per hour for child care or dual income earners who are hard done by cos they cant minimise their tax by splitting their income or complain that the sporting club manned by volunteers who asks them to put in some quality time.
    PS yep born in 1956, yep will have work till I’m 65 (stopping someone else getting my job), yep went uni cos of whitlam (only one of three siblings who did), yep grew up in a 3 bedroom house with grandparents who looked after kids while parents were at work. I dont suggest you try it. Rose cloured glasses dont last long with 4 adults and 3 kids in small house. Blah blah blah face it, its tough raising a family and you have go without and it hurts. However that personal experience can influence your view of the world but it shouldnt determine it.
    On the upside at least people are reading your blog…

  6. Thank you my friend for the best piece of reality I have read for a very long time,but you know and I know that greed is greed and selfish is selfish,but I do hope that some people of these types read this article and start feel a bit more about our overall community.
    You are a dead set beauty mate.

  7. I’m a baby boomer, not wealthy, very little superannuation, was a single parent, still paying a mortgage, will work until 66 y.o, won’t be a self funded retiree. At my work the get-aheads are the gen after mine, they have investment houses and voted for little Johnny when he was handing out middle class welfare, only voting against him when the threat of workchoices loomed, are apolitical and read the murdoch press. They don’t even seem aware of or interested in climate change and are just wrapped up in their own cosy worlds. The younger gen who pass through during their training are even more switched on to investment houses, paying their mortgages, renovating etc. They amaze me how attuned they are to this aspect of things at such a young age. Talk politics or green issues to them and they have no idea and are not remotely interested or have any understanding at all how these things affect them now or in the future. From my experience with younger gen’s, they seem incredibly (and boringly) materialistic.
    I’m sure there are baby boomers who fit into the category you have outlined. But many don’t. I think it’s simplistic to blame so much on a generation without looking at a wider picture.

  8. Really Noely, it’s all about YOU and Your Generation. At 29 I found myself a single mother of 2, I had a choice, welfare or work. I chose work. I chose to have the children they are MY financial responsibility NOT the States. Work I did, only a Year 9 education but lots of determination to provide a better life and education for my boys and for myself. yes I am at the top end of Super and I worked long and hard and made many sacrifeces, I am still paying tax, I am not and have never been a burden to the system and YOUR tax dollars. There was no baby bonus, no home owners grant nor baby cinos!! or gym, or tractor prams or paid maternity leave or supportive husbands who spent time around the house and with the kids. There was the outlying suburbs, no car, no public transport and loads of commonsense and humor. Yes I am deeply offended that you beleive that Seniors who worked hard and provided for themselves paid taxes and are now self funded and still not impinging on the system are greedy. You never had it so good our generation worked for you our kids and now it is our turn if you don’t mind.

  9. I realise this sort of piece is aimed at a minority – the wealthy baby-boomers – but it can appear to be an attack on all of us. I invite you and above respondents to look at this posting to see another side of the story. The comments on it are also interesting.

    [SIGNED] A baby-boomer whose sole asset is his dwindling-asset super, and who rents out of necessity.

  10. I really and truly get what you’re on about, Noely (@YaThinkN). I could have written what you have written, with as much passion about social justice, greed, caring for those unable to easily care for themselves. taking care of the environment so future generations are able to enjoy it as much as we have, not expecting welfare handouts when you’re sending your kids to private schools etc etc. All of it.

    But you bring discredit to your argument as soon as you point your finger at one generation or another. Greedy people are greedy people, across all ages, throughout each generation. I would love to sit down with you, Noely, and tell you about my 62 year old, baby-boomer self. But I won’t because it would be too boring for you to hear about me, left in poverty by my husband with 4 little boys when I was 34 in 1984 – a single parent, my own parents in another State, no family support, no childcare, (some good friends though!) .

    I worked on the side to put myself through Uni – took yonks to pay off the HECS debt – no child support from debunked hubby, crowded little rented house ….. campaigned for Franklin River, against unranium mining, against Malcolm Fraser’s election (love him now though!), and lived very, very frugally – making my own bread, growing veges to feed the kids and never being able to afford a holiday – not even to the beach….let alone overseas.

    Still, here I am at 62, an unpaid, full-time Carer (no pension, no health care card) for my husband of 20 years who has late-stage MS. We are living on Disability Insurance payment from his super fund (less than a Disability Pension for Centrelink – but that’s OK – I know how to make a little go a long way). We’ve spent most of our money helping our 6 kids (blended family) through uni – and not having a mortgage. I’ve got $70,000 in Super. I have always advocated and applauded paying MORE, not less tax. I detest that my side of gov’t (Left) hands out baby bonuses to people earning $150,000 a year (my salary as a Welfare worker was $35,000p.a.) and compensates big polluters etc etc etc

    I’m on YOUR side, Noely. I’m not your enemy. I’m your ally, your peer in this battle against corporate greed and social inequities. I’m generous to just causes and I live frugally and I don’t drain the public purse. I love my life, my family, my friends and my community. But, alas, in your eyes I stand condemned because I was foolishly born in 1950…
    I’m a Baby Boomer. Sorry.

  11. […] Editor’s Note: This is a repost of a Denis Wright piece on baby boomers in response to those who make generalisations about generations; not all, as that would be generalising. […]

  12. I’ve just caught up with this!
    I’m a boomer – one of the first, I believe (b.1946). Couple of things:

    First, back in the day, it was almost impossible for a woman to get a mortgage without a male guarantor, no matter what her level of income.

    Second, living with and/or caring for aged relatives was a HUGE burden on a married woman. My own mother cared for (in succession): he mother, mother-in-law and my father’s aunts. Her life – i.e. the part that was for HER, rather than her caring roles – effectively vanished.

    We are seeing a repeat of this, I think, with the “sandwich” generation.

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