I hate getting old but unfortunately, I have not found the cure for it as yet. Not with standing. I shall keep looking for some Dorian Gray substitute or perhaps I shall resort to the modern equivalent of Bex, a cup of tea and a lie down.. At this juncture, I may need to. You see, I have reached a point in life where I am old enough to apply for a pension but by virtue of the points of eligibility I don’t qualify and this government wants to make it even harder for the likes of me ever getting it, I own two houses albeit, one of them is overseas and waiting for a buyer.
Sometime last year Senator David Leyonhjelm, the crossbench Senator from South Australia, was callous enough to call for a restriction on the pension on the basis that pensioners should feel a sense of shame in taking a pension since is showed a lack of life planning by the recipients.
But the simple fact of the matter is, some 2.4 million people across Australia now receive the Aged pension or around 10% of the population. According to data from Centrelink, Shepparton district swings the pendulum higher with around 20,000 grey hairs which is nearer to 20% of the population. We are an aging community.
The original concept of the pension, established almost 110 years ago is interesting. It was to provide every person over the age of 65 with a sustainable income, at that time around 25% of the basic salary or $52 a year. It has moved on since then but it still is less than 10% of what Senator Leyonhjelm is receiving as a point of entry politician.
During the last war, Chifley did a sleigh of hand with taxation and finding a means of paying for the war effort without raising taxes by creating a National Pension Fund that was subsequently brought into consolidated revenue by Menzies sometime early in his leadership. While the pension fund accumulated more than it was paying out, it was too good to simple leave there when they had other debts.
The aged pension is without doubt, the largest component of the social welfare bill. Projections for this year are that it will cost an estimated $69 billion dollars, along with all other disability and support pensions make up 42% of government spending not including GST distributions.
Australia, like many other OECD countries is an aging population. We are no longer having nine kids, now couples are lucky to have one, the average family size being 2.4 people.
Now, there is no going back on our aging population, we need more people of course which is the premise behind increasing our migration numbers rather than decreasing them.
We also need to look at the means of paying for it all. Getting a better deal with corporate taxes would be a good start. There are not many of them however some of our largest and most major companies through various international tax arrangements are currently paying no tax here in Australia in preference to paying lesser amounts in places like the Cayman Islands or Singapore, which if they were paying here, would cover a large chunk of the social security bill.
It is somewhat ironic that the government are now wanting to further decrease the corporate tax bill which begs the question, who are they working for?
When you work for fifty years or more and contribute to the national income, it is possibly reasonable that you might expect to live at a level something more substantially than a third world income.