22nd Nov 2017
This is why the retirement income system is broken
Author: Kaye Fallick
Happy retirement a fantasy for many

Australia’s retirement income system is broken.

Four out of five retirees say they are concerned that their money won’t last, while Mission Australia has issued a call for urgent action to reduce the number of older Australians being pushed into homelessness.

A massive 81 per cent of older Australians are concerned they will outlive their savings, according to the YourLifeChoices Retirement Affordability Survey™.

That’s a precarious situation for the majority of Australia’s 4.5 million retirees (about 20 per cent of the population) with half that number forced out of work due to health problems (31 per cent) or because they were unable to find ongoing work (25 per cent).

The reality is that today’s retirees are highly likely to have not fully retired, with many doing contract or part-time work, while others are regular volunteers and some full-time carers.

Sadly, much of the political spin on retirement centres on the significant misconception that older generations have had it “far better” than younger people, with housing (un)affordability and high HECS debts used as evidence of this intergenerational inequity.

But very little attention has been paid to two long-term policy shifts that have led to a division of retirement into three classes of the good, the bad and the ugly – three very distinct retirement tribes identified by YourLifeChoices.

What are these policy shifts?

The long overdue introduction of universal superannuation by the Keating Government in 1992 was a great policy initiative but, in retrospect, very poorly structured.

It was positive because it addressed the need for non-white collar workers to have a mandatory savings plan to supplement (note, not replace as is often claimed) the Age Pension.

The system is poorly structured, however, because the super contribution is based on a flat percentage of whatever you earn. So, if you earn $200 per week, the Superannuation Guarantee contribution (SGC) ensures that $19 per week, or $988 annually, is added to your super savings. If you earn $2000 per week, your mandated super contribution is $190 weekly or $9880 annually.

The higher income earner may also have enough spare income to take advantage of salary sacrifice legislation and contribute even more. Thus, the rich get richer and the poor remain poor, courtesy of the superannuation rules. This disadvantage is amplified throughout retirement and during an individual’s final years.

The less obvious but longer-term shift in policy is that of retirement risk, whereby the once expected defined benefit pensions have almost been phased out. This means that almost all retirees are now required to manage their own retirement income savings, whether large or small. Very few Australians have sufficient financial literacy to do this. The research does not lie. It shows that most superannuants typically resort to a ‘set and forget’ investment position within their retail or industry super fund, thus forgoing potential gains in the earlier years of investment.

And those who run their own self-managed super funds achieve a relatively poor rate of return, suggesting that their decisions have not made the best use of their savings. Again, those with enough money can employ professionals to minimise their tax and maximise their investments. Those who cannot afford ongoing professional financial advice are usually at the mercy of the market – a capricious beast, at best.

The result of these diverging retirement income scenarios is the creation of three distinct retirement tribes. These are:

  • Affluents – couples or singles who are self-funded homeowners (29 per cent)
  • Constrained – couple or single homeowners on a full or part Age Pension (53 per cent), and
  • Cash-strapped couple or single renter on a full or part Age Pension (18 per cent)

Put simply, the affluents are those featured in advertisements for cruises, up-market guided tours and high-net-wealth investment products. This retirement tribe maintains a strong sense of dignity and choice by the very fact of its independent wealth. Such retirees are able to afford reliable housing, health care, regular holidays and social outings. Which wine to match with dinner or where to go for coffee, is often the question of the day.

The constrained couple or single household is just that. Home ownership means a retirement which has stability, but exists on a full or part pension, while maintaining the home, covering health care costs and trying to afford regular outings is a juggling act. “Can I afford the house or car repairs?” and “Is health insurance still affordable?” are both questions du jour for this tribe.

And then there are the cash-strapped single or couple renters, on a full or part Age Pension. This tribe is really doing it tough. Such households typically spend about 33 per cent of their limited income on housing, and only five per cent on health care, compared with the affluent couples or singles who spend just 14 per cent on housing, but 10 per cent on health care.

This means that cash-strapped retirees are probably choosing not to pay the high costs of health insurance and/or are delaying important tests or procedures until there is sufficient cash to cover them. The question of the day is not where to go for coffee, but when you might next be able to afford one.

Australia has traditionally been a world leader in social reforms, most notably the vote for women, awarding an Age Pension and, more recently, anti-smoking legislation. But we are now the third meanest nation in the OECD when it comes to the percentage of GDP spent on the Age Pension (3.5 per cent, compared to the OECD average of seven per cent).

There is no ageing welfare blow out. This is a political confection to support the notion of a budget crisis when a government prefers to award largesse elsewhere – notably in negative gearing concessions for property investors or reductions in company taxes.

Federal governments have many levers at their disposal to encourage a more level playing field for those saving for, or in, retirement. One solution to the growing disparity in retirement incomes, as evidenced by the above three tribes, is to bring in a universal Age Pension, paying an agreed safety net income to all citizens aged 65 and over.

With one pen stroke, this would remove the massive bureaucratic burden associated with defining, checking, implementing and policing the current Age Pension assets and income tests. The more widely distributed pension could be funded by reducing the overly generous super concessions used by a narrow band of wealthier Australians, mainly in the form of estate planning strategies.

The modelling for such a pension was undertaken by The Australia Institute in 2014 (Sustaining us all in retirement: The case for a universal Age Pension). The sums work. The Department of Human Services paid $44 billion in Age Pension entitlements during the past financial year, while superannuation concessions cost taxpayers more than $50 billion.

While it is true that the average Australian retirement nest egg is better than those of citizens in most other nations, once again the “average” masks an awful retirement reality for many older people.

Only a full review of our retirement income system will be able to address the fundamental inequities within.

Do you believe the system is broken?

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    COMMENTS

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    Stof
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:20am
    This is a very interesting article. Probably the most balanced and sensible article amongst the huge number of economic claptrap produced by the media and economists.
    Why isn’t financial literacy taught at school instead of cooking or jewellery making. Or Shakespeare’s plays? That is where an independent retirement starts. Not when we reach 60 and realise we have no money.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:30am
    Merchant of Venice shows how to rip off a Jew.... is that a help?

    Financial literacy is hard to teach since it is simply often a matter of judgement calls - and everyone, no matter how 'successful' in life - makes wrong calls at times.

    The path is narrow and very steep..... and not very many can grasp the issues involved in 'getting ahead' - such as going to the 'right' school, knowing the 'right' people, being aware that getting into politics is a money spinner... and so forth....

    Just reading a Jack Reacher novel, and a young lawyer explains to Reacher what is actually involved in running for judge in Texas... it means money for life, including keeping excess donations to your campaign - which amount to payment for service in advance.

    On the money, I'd say.
    john
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:03pm
    Your correct in one sense Stof , that young people should be made and taught to be extremely aware of the future many decades ahead .and how to prepare.
    But your last line you get to 60 and realise you have no money!!!!!
    Terrifying, yes , but a fact for hundreds and thousands of people , who simply don't realise , and may not be the stereotypical bludger so to speak or non saver, no, they may be the ones who have worked their backsides off for decades but been unaware of what will be needed. Perhaps thinking that a pension will keep them , when it obviously in this day and age of COSTS does not!
    My point being is that the Governments... former , now and future, were/are supposed to have a set up fund just for pensions for the Australian public but I believe a lot of it, if not most was squandered by both Labor and Liberals 3 or 4 decades ago.
    My opinion is that government in Australia has forsaken the retired population gone on other ventures , put priority on things that could have been left for a while and made absolutely sure that good decent healthy living pensions were available for all decent hard working retirees, because they actually worked for it, for a lifetime. I hate to think what the future two generations will suffer as we go forward, the world changes so much now , and the governments have not taken strong enough steps to make sure all are OK. Perhaps this is the beginning of the human spectacle removing itself from the earth. Sounds a bit dramatic that, but look around gee wiz lots of struggling , as per usual a tiny amount of wealthy and masses of poor people or short of comfortable people.
    Now I suspect the voters in the USA looked at wealthy Trump and said he's rich but he's not one of them (THE ESTABLISHMENT) like Hillary Clinton, it is her kind on both sides of US politics, that keep the rich richer and the less well off, plus the poor people right in their place .
    I wonder what sort of a political person we would get here that decided the public was the whole reason they existed. Because not one pollie in Australia thinks like that not one!
    Knows-a-lot
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:35pm
    Without great culture (Shakespeare, J. S. Bach, ...) life is not worth living.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:51pm
    Life is what you make of it and if you don't look after yourself why should you expect others to do so?
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:11pm
    I'll tell that to the next person I help out, OG.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:44pm
    Maybe they need a dose of reality Trebor instead of all this do goody stuff.
    AutumnOz
    23rd Nov 2017
    5:04pm
    Old Geezer, tone it down you have become very boring.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    6:39pm
    Me I'm never boring.
    ex PS
    24th Nov 2017
    8:49am
    Schools aren't always the answer, but in this case they just may have to be. I think that children learn fiscal responsibility from watching what their parents do. If the parents live for today and don't plan for the future their children will probably follow suit.
    The next mistake parents seem to make is to try and make sure that their children have all the things that they may have missed out on when they were children. This is a nice goal but if not controlled leads to a sense of entitlement and a diminished work ethic. By trying to be kind and supportive many parents are actually harming their own children. Children should aspire for the good things in life just like us, but they must be taught that these things should be and are worth working for.
    As a child I was told that if I really wanted something, if I could save half the price my parents would provide the other half, I was given a certain amount of pocket money in exchange for help around the house in the form of set tasks, I was never reminded to do these tasks but received a reduced amount of pocket money if they were not cone so the choice was left to me whether I did anything to contribute or not. I was always at liberty to identify tasks that needed doing and to negotiate a price in exchange for doing them. By the time I was 13 I had most of what I really wanted and was lending money at competitive terms to my elder brother who was working and had claimed most of his childhood possessions for the repayment of over due debt. I guess some people are slower to catch on.
    The point I make in a convoluted way is, good financial management skills need to be instilled as early as possible, if you wait until you start working, you have left it too late. If you wait until you stop working, you have little chance of success.
    Old Geezer
    24th Nov 2017
    10:43am
    Schools are a disaster for teaching such information as most of the teachers have no idea themselves. Most teachers have never worked outside the school environment so have no idea of what the real world is all about. They got to school, go to uni (school) and then back to school to teach. A very narrow path indeed.
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2017
    7:11am
    The flaw in the ''look after yourself'' principle is that it ignores the value of all contributions to the economy and society that are not paid for at their true value. And that is most of the contribution of the less affluent. If we all look after ourselves, OG, society will collapse! That principle only works for the selfish privileged. We would have to stop working for less than we are worth, and business wouldn't be profitable. We'd have to stop giving our time to charity or the community, and that would have dire social consequences. We'd have to put an end to rescue services. We'd have to stop looking after the sick and disabled. We'd have to stop caring for our children even!

    It's patently STUPID to suggest that people should have to put their retirement nest egg ahead of everything else that matters in life because society is full of mean, cruel, selfish folk who think the aged pension is ''welfare'' and should be handed out meanly to the desperately needy only. What a sick world it is when people think that way!
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:05pm
    Well Rainey those who didn't put their retirement nest egg above other things sure pay for it when they retire. I call that STUPID.
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    8:43am
    I call it as cruel and unfair system, OG. A system that doesn't value the most important things in life - the things that make for a healthy and prosperous society. Money, money, money is all some folk can think about, and that's sick and disgusting.
    Old Geezer
    28th Nov 2017
    11:10am
    No it's not cruel as people just need to live within their means and then they will have the most important things in life that make a health and prosperous society.
    Anonymous
    28th Nov 2017
    4:41pm
    Nobody can be expected to live within their means when their income is virtually stagnant and the prices of essentials are skyrocketing. Look at the price of electricity. I guess ''live within your means'' means turn the lights off and freeze to death in cold weather?
    That is precisely what I mean about cruelty and unfairness, OG. Your cruelty and unfair attitude is typical of the well off and powerful.

    The most important thing for a healthy and prosperous society is RESPECT and consideration for others. Something neither you now your rich mates have, sadly.
    Old Geezer
    29th Nov 2017
    12:18pm
    Electricity is actually quite cheap today and like everything else you need to use what you can afford. If you use it and then get a bill you can't pay you have no one else but yourself to blame.
    Anonymous
    30th Nov 2017
    7:25am
    That's right, OG. If you can't afford to cook, you should starve. If you can't afford heat, you should freeze. Live within your means, people. If that means dying because your means are inadequate, so be it. OG believes that's how society should work. If you are unfortunate enough to be born into a poor family and not get an education, if your intellect and aptitudes don't allow you to earn a good income,if you suffer a serious disability, if you suffer major crisis that drains your nest egg... well, you should suffer and die. The rich should NOT have to pay for the resources they use to get wealthy just so you can have a decent standard of living despite your misfortune.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:33am
    This report certainly shows the calibre of those surveyed.

    If SMSFs achieve a poor rate of return then why have one? If you can't beat the best then why manage them yourself?

    Yes we do have a welfare crisis in his country where people prefer welfare over working. That is why work that takes energy when you get welfare for little if any effort?

    If you are on welfare I really can't see how you could run out of money or be worried that you will outlast your money. It simple just live within your means and if you can't afford that cup of coffee don't have one. If you can't afford Christmas (a complete waste of money) then don't have one. Who wants lots of rubbish (presents) anyway. I certainly don't.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:15am
    Nonsense, OG - people do not prefer social security over working in a jobs environment where the number of jobless outnumber the vacancies by 8:1, and a significant percentage of those employed are not fully employed on 38 hours a week.

    Thee is no 'preference' about being genteelly starved out of the jobs market and out of any genuine future opportunity to prosper, and being told to eat cake and that you are a 'bludger' for receiving subsistence income support.

    Now get on with the subject matter.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:31am
    I'm on a retirement income (unspecified), and am, as usual, looking at finding some work over Christmas.... just for those little extras and to replenish the bank account after spending heaps on renovations.
    Rae
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:43am
    The problem was caused by control of wages. That Income and Prices Accord forgot the prices bit.

    As wages have stagnated or fallen the lower paid are often better off on welfare especially if they have a family member needing medical as the worker can no longer afford the medicines without concession cards.

    You can say don't have one but if we all did that there would be no economy. The broken system we have is fast collapsing and the far right have no idea how to fix the disaster they have created.

    Both the LNP and Labor need to stop listening to the nut jobs with short arms and deep, deep tax haven accounts.
    john
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:12pm
    Geezer you are seriously off target inside your brain, your tunnel is very long , and your bias as you continually pat yourself on the back, is very aggravating .
    Easy to get on welfare, ha ha ha ! Just that makes me know that you know nothing, and you have a biased lean towards all YOU think .

    Without the brains to have a look from the other side of the fence once in a while. I think incapacity to, is the reason.

    PROBABLY BECAUSE YOU PUSHED YOURSELF THROUGH SOME BAD TIMES TO GOOD TIMES, AND NOW THINK YOUR GODS GIFT TO THE FINANCIAL WORLD OF SMART ARSED NESS. sorry about the caps unintentional.
    But Geezer you need to go on a long holiday.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:26pm
    I am no smart ass at all. I am just disgusted that our welfare system is being abused more and more and our kids and grankids are having to pay for it.

    I just open my eyes and see what is happening on both sides of the fence and I write what I see. Only the other day I have a young fellow tell me that his working credits were all used up so he gave up his job as it was simply not worth working for virtually nothing.

    Just been on a holiday for 6 weeks and I saw a lot more things I just didn't like with people abusing our welfare system. Do you really want me to see some more with another holiday?
    Knows-a-lot
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:38pm
    As usual, OG spouts garbage.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:49pm
    Each to his own but their are lots of gems in garbage today.
    Rae
    23rd Nov 2017
    1:37pm
    That is exactly my point OG. Wages have not risen to provide incentives to work. That is the fault of those paying the wages not the welfare system.

    I've a long friend working two days for no income just to get experience and there are a half dozen foreign visitors working at the same place for nothing but a bed and meals.

    Our kid's can't compete against those willing to work for nothing.
    Hasbeen
    23rd Nov 2017
    1:44pm
    My wife was a full bleeding heart, until she was given the long term unemployed file to manage for a charity owned job network supplier. It took her a long time to admit that 80% of those in that file would not do a day's work if at all avoidable.

    They all had excuses, their car was broken, they had no suitable cloths, etc. She arranged for many car repairs, new wardrobes & the like, paid for by the charity, only to see the majority of those so helped, stop turning up for work after a week or two. She became a lot more realistic in her expectations, & a lot more discerning on who was worthy of help quite quickly. It took her a fair while to get over her disillusionment from this experience.

    When I was still employing people after the unfair dismissal laws, I never had a problem hiring office & marketing staff. However I had to get rid of about 60% of factory & storeman & packer people, before their 3 month trial was over. Many sent by job network organisations would appear OK, but would be doing as little as they thought they could get away with within a few weeks, as their true laziness surfaced. Some of these may have been OK with enough encouragement, but you could not get rid of them if they didn't.

    I came to realise that most of these low end socioeconomic were there, not because of a lack of ability, but a lack of work ethic. They deserve to be where they are, but don't deserve the support paid for by the workers.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    2:47pm
    Unfortunately Hasbeen many looking after the long term unemployed and those working for Centrelink have told me the same. Some don't even last an hour before they quit even if you give them everything they need. One that was placed in a job by a worker like your wife was in a police cell not long after he started work on an assault charge and he expected the charity to bail him out as well.

    The bleeding hearts simply do not know what they are talking about it seems.
    Triss
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:23pm
    Is it the fault of the welfare system though, OG? Our kids, just like we were, were told from a very early age that if they wanted shoes on their feet they had to go out and work for them. How is it that people are not being raised with decent work ethics?
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:26pm
    From what I hear it seems to be coming from schools together with the one if you go to uni you will get a good job. Debt does not seem to be problem to them either. Not a good way to be.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:47pm
    ... and yet these are the same demographic bleeding (so you say) over the need to support the aged in a time of forced escalating costs of living, government ineptitude and unwillingness to bite the REAL hard bullets, such as quarantining resources including beef now that Gina has her mitts on exporting 300,000 head annually live to China, thus chopping the hind quarters out of the local market and causing rising prices of beef - well already know about gas and such, petrol and such... you know... we pay global price when it's produced HERE - what kind of moron would sign up to a business deal like that? a. our 'government' of two parties.

    Then there's 'revenue capture' in any real sense from that 'global economy, in which the twin areas that have not kept pace with 'global pricing' are ..... (wait for it)..... TAXATION AND LABOUR PRICE!!

    Can someone explain to me why an Offshore business should recoup the lovely from not paying taxes here while not spending any real money here by paying people?

    Would YOU, as Australia Inc, allow another company to come in, use your premises and resources, bring in their own people thus chopping up your workforce, and allow that company to leave town without paying a thing?

    I thought our illustrious 'governments' were running this nation as a 'business' - in that case they have zero business sense in any way.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:49pm
    If these a$$holes are functioning in a TRUE 'global economy' - why are they not paying a Global Tax and paying a Global Award Rate of Pay?
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    8:29pm
    Rae - you've got it - the Trebor Principle that in order to being wages under control (a laughable propaganda concept only of benefit to those who are in the 'global economy' mode and can stand over others by threatening to bring in scabs on $2 a day), costs of living must first be brought under control first, since wage rises and the upward pressure on incomes ALWAYS follow cost of living rises.

    While ever the selfish and their bought off politicians and other mates continue to try to force down wages as the solution to the nation's problems, they will never succeed.

    Control costs of living first - then we'll talk about a real living wage, and that means turfing many an 'old mate' who now enjoys the benefit of 'privatisation' and the 'global economy'.
    Rosret
    24th Nov 2017
    7:47am
    Except for your last paragraph I agree with you. I have no idea how anyone manages on a pension let alone Christmas.
    Its fine until you need more than just food and clothing.
    i.e. the roof gets a leak or the oven breaks down etc. Then you need to step into the real current world of tradesmen who seem to charge phenomenal wages for their time.
    It doesn't matter what level of retirement scheme a retiree is on, once you step off the inflationary wheel of incomes and cost of living it will become progressively more difficult each year.
    Old Geezer
    24th Nov 2017
    10:47am
    Christmas is the easiest to manage. Just cancel it!

    The rest is nearly as easy all it means is a bit of budgeting and sticking to that budget. Have a glass of water instead of an expensive coffee your wallet and body will thank you for it. take a packed lunch instead of eating at a café. Yes I have taken sandwiches into a café and eaten them if I get invited to lunch. I take a bottle of water too.
    TREBOR
    24th Nov 2017
    1:46pm
    What about the kitchen scraps for the orphans and the merciful beheadings and hangings? Do they have to go too?
    Anonymous
    24th Nov 2017
    9:34pm
    The 'welfare mentality' is a direct result of the broken system. How can you expect people to get off welfare when the system is deliberately designed to keep them on it, and punishes endeavour. Why wouldn't retirees manipulate and cheat, when the system penalizes honesty and diligence so harshly.

    The universal aged pension would do a lot to restore incentive and reduce the instance of ''welfare mentality''.

    The system is certainly well and truly broken. It's a disaster! And the younger generation will pay dearly for the refusal of those in power to address the problem sensibly.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:07pm
    So it's Ok for the likes of Gina and Clive to get the OAP in a couple of years when they reach retirement age.
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    8:44am
    Better than the discriminatory hand-outs they get now that the working class battler is excluded from, OG. Yes, as long as the tax system is appropriate, give them the OAP. The tax system SHOULD take it all back and then some in their case.
    MICK
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:54am
    I think there is more to this Kaye. The retirement system is fundamentally broken because, unlike other first world countries, this government has essentially refused to pay many struggling retirees a basic pension. That is scandalous and would not stand in other countries. Only Australia!
    Second is the fact that for decades high income earners were both allowed and encouraged to squirrell large amounts of money into the superannuation system, taxed at a low 15%. You quite rightly discuss how low income earners got little whilst the top end avoided their rightful 48% tax bracket and crept into a 14% bracket. This went on for decades. Why??? Because the rich are supported?
    Now we are seeing a decipit government wanting retirees to downsize their homes, spend any money they have invested and come back to the government for a (maybe) pension thereafter. Fully expect the next leg to be 'sell your home' altogether and then beg for a pension.
    What you have written Kaye is a hornet's nest of betrayal of the working class. At the same time we have tax cuts for the rich, family trusts to redistribute income and the totally offensive offshore tax shelters which avoid the Australian tax system altogether.
    Is it any wonder I have such a hatred of the current rich man's government which is devoid of any and all decency and fairness. Let the next election come....and hopefully voters refuse to listen to the Murdoch Press and our local business owned news which plugs rich man's needs.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:10am
    I think what Mick is trying to say is that those who put a little aside for retirement are doing well while those that didn't bother are doing it hard.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:18am
    Nonsense again, OG - he is discussing the very real and growing gap between genuine opportunity and none or little. Those who 'put a little aside for retirement' are the 53% shown above who receive part pension... hello!! PART PENSION.
    Tib
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:30am
    I agree Mick this unfair Liberal government takes unfair advantage of the poor to support the rich. OG if you no money to put aside for retirement then your retirement will be hard.
    Rae
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:54am
    The article also fails to mention that defined benefits were an after tax saving scheme where units were purchased and no tax benefit received.

    Tax concessional super is simply far too expensive.

    A universal pension as every other OECD country has and then taxing other income in exactly the same ratio would be equitable. Right now there is no equality at all in the system we have.

    The LNP and Labor and the Greens are responsible and why they keep following the nut job lobby industry dictates is unfathomable.
    john
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:17pm
    Yes Mick. The average Aussie is left in the gutter, by wealthy liars. We unfortunately have a wealthy ex union boss , who can't be trusted, who wants to be PM. If you knew me, you would find that comment to be strange coming from my mouth, as I have a hatred too for the greedy and the don't give a stuff. I am a unionist too. Well was!

    Who do we put in to power if Labor can't remove the poison in the snakes head .
    MICK
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:18pm
    OG - FYI we have put money aside just like you but we have not milked the superannuation system. On top of that we also paid tax and do not have offshore tax haven deposits. You?

    Rae - I don't think you will ever see a universal pension system in Australia. At best this will continue to be means tested. That is what destitute governments sending money to the top do.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:40pm
    No off shore tax havens for me as they are too risky for me. I only have a small amount of my wealth in super too as it is too risky for me to have all my money tied up in it no matter how tax effective it may be. Even today I still pay my taxes when most my age take form the taxpayers instead.
    MICK
    23rd Nov 2017
    1:19pm
    You may have a good side to you after all OG. We do not take from the taxpayer purse either and have scrimped and worked incredibly hard for many decades to be where we are.
    My issue is not about folk who do well. Never has been. It is about those who use crooked (legal) systems to avoid their fair share of dividing up the booty. Just because the wealthy have their own governments who set up systems to be milked (by them) does not mean it is right. That is what I refer to as a 'casino'....a system set up to benefit the top and rule out everybody else because the rest of society does not have available cash to play.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:13pm
    We all pay taxes, OG - we all play taxes...... just went shopping - paid tax....
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:16pm
    "Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught."

    - Honore` de Balzac.

    "Law and Order are everywhere the law and order which protect the established hierarchy."

    - Herbert Marcuse.
    Tib
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:11am
    A universal age pension sounds good but it will cost more money, never happen with this government.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:26am
    Wouldn't cost more money apart from the initial stages, like any business set up, and will cost LESS once it is organised so only the genuine costs are used to operate it. At the moment, the multi-headed Hydra of super funds with costs and fees regardless of the amount in the account savagely dispossesses the lower paid and the part time or casual worker - of which last two categories there are more and more every day.

    A minimum guarantee of a deposit into any individual fund, based - as I've outlined countless times before - of the equivalent of what would be derived from taxation already to fund Social Security, plus 'normal' super contribution, plus a 'ceilinged' amount that can be set aside from earned post-super income (so as to avoid tax havening by rich people and tax avoidance) over and above the statutory minimum - would go along way to resolving the current 'greed is good' approach of the super funds.

    In one sense - since Social Security IS and always was derived from taxation strands, the Keating imposition of a 9% levy towards super - as Kaye rightly says was to SUPPLEMENT pension - was therefore a new tax in another guise.

    Never trust a government of this nation, regardless of its hue, is my mantra - always look for the clods in the silver lining and you won't be far wrong.

    Elsewhere, for example, I posited that 'gay marriage' would draw out of the closets any number of people who have been co-habiting and receiving some form of Social Security - who, once they marry, will be found to have been living at the same address etc and will cop a 'please pay' letter.

    Always look for the clods in the silver lining.....
    thommo
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:39am
    Well this Govt changed the assets test as from 1.1.17 and stuffed up my retirement plans forever, but I (and many thousands more) will never forgive or forget what this govt did.
    And Labor isn't any different, as they've refused to reinstate the assets test.
    But in any event, a retired couple should be getting $1000 per week full pension..this country can easily afford it, but the LNP apply unreasonable austerity measures across the economy pretending it can't be done..
    At least this LNP Govt will be getting turfed out of office at the next election, for this reason alone, apart from the many other issues they've stuffed up..
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:47am
    It was a good move by the government to change the asset test as if you had enough assets to be affected then you have way too much money to be on welfare. That is you lost money you didn't need but was just nice to have. Welfare should not be nice to have money at all.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:49am
    Don't hold your breath that Labor won't tighten welfare including the OAP further either. Better the devil you know than the one you don't.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:56am
    Of course Labor won't refrain from toughening up on the Untermenschen .... they, like the LNP, view the economy and the running of the nation as their personal fiefdom - their 'manor' - and not that of the people they 'serve', who are but cattle in the fields to be lead and used and disposed of at whim.

    Funny thing - the pre-Revolution Russian 'communists' had exactly the same idea - 'the people' were THEIR social group- the serfs etc were just cattle.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:58am
    P.S. Labor have 'more important' things to do strutting the world stage of 'social progression' by enforcing their affirmative actions and such. All that costs money out of the till - can't afford to feed the hangers-on and the old bastards as well!! After all, which is more important? Feeding the poor or looking good to the Swedish feminists and the UN?
    Rae
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:04pm
    It's the demons they won't talk about causing all the trouble though OG.

    "You've got bones in your closet,
    You've got ghosts in your town,
    Ain't no doubt their gonna come out,
    Their waiting for the sun to go down."

    Yes what goes around comes around and the voters of Australia have made the bed they are lying in. Too right they have.
    john
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:24pm
    Thommo your right. But fools like geezer have no idea about anything but themselves, I wish he'd get off.

    But pension with no strings attached , full and healthy and fair is what we always thought would be. A long time before geezer ever arrived.
    It isn't , it was squandered and we suffer by having to jump through a million hoops to get even a part pension.

    And from one who knows for my pittance, took me nearly 18 months of re filing filling forms galore, for a part pension.
    A very "part" pension.

    People work all their lives and the pension (this is for you geezer)

    IS A RIGHT! NOT A PRIVILEGE GIVEN BY SOME SAPPY GOVERNMENT TROUGH FEEDER, WORKING OUT SAVINGS AND PROFIT , FOR WHO????
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:36pm
    So John you are one of those people who arranged their affairs just to get the pensioner health card. I am currently lobbying for the pensioner health card to be only available to those on the full OAP as it is not fair to our young folk that have to pay full price plus extra for those who can afford to pay full price.

    The Old Age Pension is welfare and should only be paid to those who have no other means of support. If you have money then you should not get welfare.
    Rae
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:11pm
    Old Geezer why does a cream I use cost only $4.50 for 100 grams in the US over the counter while I pay a $42 gap and it costs the taxpayer the difference for a script and then $15.30 for 15 grams here?

    There is no sense to our medical system or medicine costs at all.

    The AMA should be examined and the whole system changed. It's no wonder people needing medical treatment can only afford it is they are on welfare.

    I too hold my investments outside of super and pay my taxes. I'm really annoyed that the tax safety net was cut off for medical costs.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    4:00pm
    Rae I needed a new pump. In Australia it costs $680 but I imported one from China for $55 including postage.

    Needed a new plug for my caravan camera. No I couldn't buy a new plug so needed a new cable which with installation was nearly $500. Got 2 new plugs from China for $6 instead.

    We are being ripped off everywhere today.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    8:33pm
    That's because people here need to earn a living sufficient to meet costs of living, OG.. rather than being wage slaves in China.

    How would YOU like to be a plug retail operator and have to hold stock indefinitely before you make a single sale?

    You can add to that the cunning Oriental actions of the Chines oligarchy in seeking to undermine the economies of the West... like so many before them, they mistakenly think that 'bringing down the goose that lays the golden egg' will make them 'better'.

    Many a lesson for you there, my son.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    8:39pm
    What you, and many others, need to realise is that the 'golden age' of IMPOSING a market on a 'lesser' nation is gone....

    The Chinks can play the game of 'bring down Whitey' by attacking the economies of the west until they feel they can impose a market on the West.... but the reality is that any market can only bear what it will bear.. and when you bring that market down with non-competitive measures (such as subsidising your exports and having tariff barriers YOUR way only) - there is no market left to impose upon.

    How do you sell into a market so degraded by your 'economic superiority' that it cannot buy sufficiently to sustain your economy?

    Answer:- You Can't!

    Sinn Fein, son - Ourselves Alone - We Stand Together Alone or we perish as a nation. You want God to intervene, strike down all the no-gooders? Well - he ain't listening.. we've got NOBODY but each other, and you are a dead weight who betrayed the code.... I want you OUT of my squadron.
    GeorgeM
    23rd Nov 2017
    9:19pm
    Agree, Thommo, ignore the moronic opponents of your comments, that change was the last nail in the coffin for this Govt. Although, Labor do not deserve any benefits as a result either.

    Best to vote all 3 of them (Liberal, Greens & Labor) current seat-warmers last in preferences and ensure they lose - not only their seats but any further perks and highly inflated and non-means tested pensions (if they haven't qualified yet).

    The Universal Pension idea is not new, and is a definite answer as the Politicians cannot provide any sensible alternatives. This should be combined with removing all special Pensions for Politicians as well.
    Rae
    24th Nov 2017
    8:26am
    Yes Thommo and the unintended consequences of cutting hundreds of thousands of retirees incomes is showing up now in less spending in main street.

    Then they cut lower paid wages. That is beginning to show up as lost sales too.
    Anonymous
    24th Nov 2017
    9:43pm
    OG, you persist with this ignorant rant about the assets test tightening being good, and insistence that concession cards should be only for full pensioners. Clearly you lack the intelligence to comprehend that such rules disadvantage the wrong people. The manipulators will always get around such harsh policies, but the battlers who can't achieve high investment returns will struggle and run out of savings too early. The cruel assets test doesn't hurt the privileged who earn high returns, but it bashes the strugglers who went without to save and can't achieve a decent income with their savings. It's unfair in the extreme, and it's seriously economically harmful because it encourages people to restrict their savings, or over-invest in the family home. To support that is DUMB!

    The system IS broken, and the quick-fix bandaids this stupid government has applied have made it far, far worse. At least they had the intelligence to restore the pensioner concession card to those who lost their pension in the assets test change. And NO OUR YOUTH ARE NOT PAYING FOR CONCESSIONS FOR RETIREES WHO DON'T NEED THEM. Our youth are paying for the idiotic policies of a mean and cruel government that punishes those who work, save and live responsibly but do not have a high level of financial literacy. Our youth will do better when a universal aged pension is introduced, or the assets test is abolished in favour of a sensible test on income and deemed income.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:11pm
    Of cause the asset test tightening is good and I congratulate the government for it. However it was a STUPID move for them to give that card back. The pensioner concession card should only be given to those on full pension. If it was people wouldn't be hiding their assets just to get it. That's where the real problem lies.

    No one is struggling with those sort of assets that they have had their pension reduced or lost. Many young people today struggle from week to week whereas those affected by the asset change have just lost the extra cream on their cake.
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    8:47am
    People who thrive on ASSUMPTIONS are ASSES, OG, You ASSUME nobody struggles with those assets. You are WRONG WRONG WRONG. And yes, people do hide their assets, because the assets test is brutally UNFAIR and people will always seek ways to address unfairness in their favour.

    Of course some young people struggle. There have always been strugglers and always will be. Many of those slugged by the assets test struggled when they were young too. Some of those affected by the assets change have not ''lost the extra cream''. They've lost the fair and equitable benefit they EARNED by saving and the capacity to meet their needs in later life.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    11:03am
    OG, you and Bonny claim it's possible to get 15% return on investments. Many here claim they can't get more than 3%. The government says 5% is average. So apparently YOU think it FAIR that some people with incomes of over $100,000 a year get a part pension and benefits and others with incomes of only $24600 do not. If that's your idea of fairness, you have a screw loose.

    And BTW, the income test allows incomes of over $70,000 a year, so how is it fair that those with incomes well under the aged pension level get nothing?
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    11:48am
    I have never said what return I personally get. I did however ask a SMSF specialist what the return was for the year on the SMSFs they manage and they said about 15%. So you are now accusing me of telling porkies because you read the propaganda the government wants you to read?

    I am also aware that people have set up trusts etc and get an income from those trusts as well as the OAP as the capital in those trusts no longer belongs to them. Yes I have looked at doing the same but quite frankly it is not worth the hassle and restrictions for the little I'd get from doing so.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    6:17pm
    No wonder you get things wrong so often, OG. You have no basic comprehension! I didn't accuse you of anything. I simply said that you and bonny have claimed it's possible to get 15% return, and you are reinforcing that claim here - so you DID make it. I didn't say you claimed to get that return, nor is your return in any way relevant to my comment. I was asking if you think if FAIR for one retiree to enjoy an income over $100,000 a year and still get a part pension and another to have an income well under the level of the OAP and get nothing - just because the latter committed the apparently serious sin of saving?

    You can't answer, because doing so would prove your previous comments about the assets test to be ill-informed and totally invalid.
    john
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:48am
    The Keating super, was a brilliant move! But it definitely was not structured properly or probably the future wasn't assessed better. If thats possible. But lack of control by gov over the big enterprises doesn't help.
    The cost of living always rises a bit, but now, pricing of goods and services of all kinds is so over the top that it is on the brink of the terrible "everyone stops spending syndrome" because people are less well off, and the ones that are in an OK position are very few. But the greed of this modern world and the human plague, is mind boggling, and where do we go from here really?
    We've come through before, the human race, but, maybe we have almost run our race, because the world looks like it needs a hell of a big clean up , in many many ways.
    The other thing is the elderly deserve total comfort and no worry in their later years, but it seems that 20% a huge number are frightened of running out of money. If you do not own your home , you are in deep trouble.
    In a country like Australia , it should simply not be like this, something less important needs sacrificing to boost the finances for welfare of retired people who have tried but simply don't have enough!
    dstark
    23rd Nov 2017
    11:55am
    When Australia imposed income tax the law was called the Income Tax and Social Services Contributions Tax, because it was recognised that the government would use that as the source of paying retirees pensions.
    However, in 1973 Professor Borrie identified the looming problem of baby boomers (those born 1945 to 1955) would have in making greatly increased demands for pensions - which is now happening.
    Also, when the pension was introduced, average male life expectancy was 67 - so it was then thought there would be little demand for the pension as on average men would only be claiming for 2 years post retirement. But medical science is causing life expectancy to increase 3 months every year - so when I turn 100 in 28 years time that will be the average age of death - putting 30 years demand for pensions - a huge cost for the generations that are working to pay for these pensions.
    The government can pay for these hugely increased pension costs, but only by hugely increasing taxation - or by hugely increasing borrowings until our currency is worthless.
    Those who have not saved enough for their retirement should accept that their wealth condition is their fault and their responsibility - why should others pay?
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:03pm
    Agree up to your last sentence. HOW is it exclusively their fault and responsibility under the disastrous regimes of the past forty years?

    Government and employers bear responsibility there - not the common working person, who would have been content to be left alone without all the ideological fiddling.

    Government forked it - they can fix it, and stop blaming those they forked. If you're a boss and laid off thousands of workers - keep paying higher taxes - you need to support them.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:07pm
    I agree with the last sentence.

    Those who have not saved enough for their retirement should accept that their wealth condition is their fault and their responsibility - why should others pay?
    john
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:37pm
    Wrong dstark. The pensions are OUR money. That's for starters, that attitude that we should be on our hands and knees for a pension is stupid and wrong, and the forty or fifty years you work in blue collar breaking your back or in management breaking your brain and soul sometimes should be rewarded with a full and unconditional pension.

    Now your comment on the fact that people should blame themselves if they are in strife is total "up yours jack I'm OK " sort of talk in fact a bit geezerish.

    Also the fact you say that the government had statistics telling them, that at the time, men died average at 67, well is it not their job to follow on and look into the future, is that not what governments and science and all the bean counters are supposed to be doing , SETTING UP FOR THE FUTURE, did they assume that after their little turn in office, that the world packs up , folds up and disappears?????
    What happens next year when the statistic become 68 years old , your point is nonsensical.
    They used the funds that were being set up, for other things , and both the major parties who I am beginning to hate, were both in agreement on that. Wake up Australia.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:42pm
    Just shows that the government has neglected to increase the pension age in line with life expectancy.
    john
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:45pm
    PS dstark I guess we give up and all die? There is an answer.
    Every generation pays for the elderly, every generation.

    My taxes did, my father was 97 when he died he was out of that old world where people lived to average 67. Really the more I read all these guess work statistics are as full of rubbish as Kingys AFL footy statistics , guess work. That mean nothing in the crunch.

    This is down to previous and current governments and they need to find some answers or we will do what I said, but great pessimism mate.
    Just lay down in front of the stampede!
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:52pm
    Unfortunately there are not enough taxpayers today to look after all those on welfare including the OAP. Our taxpayer dollars have to stretch much further so people who can support themselves should do so.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:20pm
    What is the justification for raising the pension age, OG? Pure 'mathematics'? The old bastards are getting too much out of the till we robbed decades ago and 'we' can't sustain it?

    No justification at all........... the right to a pension is not dependent on age... it is obtainable on disability prior to aged pension, and the age of aged pension is 65.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:37pm
    The issues here surrounding pension RIGHTS are..................... (wait for it)..........................................WAIT FOR IT)............................ full employment and an efficient tax system - both OTHER areas I've harped on for ages here and elsewhere. Then we could add in the SUM TOTAL of government spending and stop cherry-picking pensions and other Social Security as the demons.....

    ... then we could throw in the Trebor Plan for Retirement Packaging (I'll think of a good one there)... ummm .... Total Review of Aged and other Pensions (TRAP)..........
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:37pm
    .. better than Coalition Review of Aged and other Pensions.............. CRAP ........
    ex PS
    24th Nov 2017
    9:14am
    What it boils down to in the end is that through government greed and mismanagement they have not put aside enough to furnish the cost of looking after the nations aging population. If I charged people so much a week and promised to provide a service and then failed to provide that service, I would be charged with fraud. That is exactly what successive governments have done, some have been worse than others but the failure is there.
    The government acolytes try to protect their gods by muddying the waters by constantly trying to introduce irrelevant arguments like is the O.A.P welfare. Well who cares what it is called, it is a basic service that is supposed to be provided by government to those who mostly have contributed to it for many years through the tax system. Arguments about what it should be called are generally introduced by those who would like to draw attention away from the incompetent mismanagement of the government, unfortunately it almost always works , that is why they keep resurrecting it.
    My personal view is, if the O.A.P is welfare then anyone who takes advantage of any service or concession that takes tax payers money in grants or rebates, is on welfare, and that would be most Australians.
    Old Geezer
    24th Nov 2017
    9:34am
    Agree the OAP is welfare that should only given to those who have no other means of support. Grants are given to those who can write the greatest sob story which I have big issues about. Rebates are given to those who can manipulate their affairs to get them or worse still are simply just in the know about which I also have issues about.
    Anonymous
    24th Nov 2017
    10:02pm
    Sad to see how thoroughly ignorant some people are. Only a total fool thinks you save the economy by creating poverty, sickness, addiction, mental illness, and general fear.

    OG, get over yourself! Being mean and cruel never solved anything. The article points out the benefits of a universal pension, and the idea has been repeatedly proven to be beneficial. Meanness, on the other hand, has been conclusively proven to be harmful and costly. Only a nasty, cruel bigot touts such horrid policies.
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2017
    6:49am
    This ridiculous myth about there not being enough money to pay proper aged pensions disgusts me. Of course there is enough money - if the haves paid their way instead of hoarding their wealth in tax havens and manipulating the system. The problem isn't lack of money. It's lack of conscience. And as for those arrogant folk who blame the workers who battled on low wages for not accruing wealthy for retirement - well, they are just vile, cruel, and disgustingly bigoted.

    The problem is GREED and SELFISHNESS. Nothing more. Nothing less. And it would be solved by giving those in need more and by not punishing the battlers who struggled to save.

    Imagine if every aged pensioner - part or full - spent an extra $30 a week! I read that there are about 2.4 million aged pensioners in this country (2013-4 figures so a little out of date). An extra $30 each would therefore cost the taxpayer $72 million per annum. That $72 million spent would yield up to $7.2 million in GST revenue. While some items are GST exempt, the tax take would actually be higher because some of the money would likely be spent on higher taxed items like petrol, alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling. So the cost has reduced to $68.4 million.

    Now consider the business profit growth, income tax and job creation from an extra $72 million a year in spending. That $72 million in spending can fund over 1000 new jobs. At even as low as 10% income tax (allowing for lots of deductions) there's an extra $7.2 million in income tax revenue from businesses benefiting from that extra spending, and potentially another $13 million extra income tax from the extra jobs created. So the cost is now down to just over $48 million. But wait, there's more! Those 1000 who found jobs are now off welfare. How much does that save? A bare minimum of $13 million, but a lot more if they have dependants. So we are now down to under $35 million.

    Now comes the big one. 1000 extra workers earning, collectively, say $50 million a year instead of being cash strapped on welfare means another $30-40 million in spending generating another $3-4 million in GST revenue and another $300,000 or so in business income tax, and up 500 more jobs, with an accompanying $6.5 million minimum in welfare savings ands another maybe $5 million in income tax.

    And the cycle continues. The extra spending by those 500 who are now employed and earning healthy incomes generates more business profit and more jobs and more income tax and more GST, and more jobs means more spending. And so it goes on.

    All this government does by cutting pensions is make fake temporary savings at the expense of economic growth, jobs, and tax revenue.

    We CAN afford to pay a universal pension. And it would be a fabulous stimulant for economic growth to implement it. It would also eliminate the unfairness in the pension system and do a lot to end the welfare mentality the arrogant ignorant well-off constantly moan about (but cause with their stupid meanness!)
    ex PS
    25th Nov 2017
    8:26am
    Interesting that this is your take on my comment O.G. to me it shows a worrying lack of depth in your ability to rationalize. But then the fault could be mine in that I managed to express the direct opposite view to that which I subscribe.
    Oh well I for one can learn from my mistakes. looks like I will have to simplify my comments.
    Bonny
    25th Nov 2017
    8:43am
    It only works Rainey if they spend it in Australia in Australian businesses. If they save it for a cruise then it us good bye to it. If they buy goods from overseas then it's good bye to it as well. Remember Rudd $900 that went on smart TVs that failed to help the economy?
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2017
    10:28am
    Bonny, an increase in the aged pension is NOT going to be spent outside the country. Some of it might. A once off receipt might. But a weekly increase WILL result in increased spending in Australia, particularly as it will improve the ability of the neediest to achieve a decent standard of living. Many are going without essentials - turning off heating and fans and not cooking because power costs are so high, or going without essential health and personal comfort aids.

    And Rudd's $900 did not fail to help the economy. It enabled Australia to get through the GFC in far better shape than most other nations.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:24pm
    Rainey it not matter how much you gave a lot of people today it would never be enough and thus would not make a difference. I suppose it might give them a bit extra drug, alcohol or pokie money but isn't that just helping the rich?
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    8:55am
    That's true of a tiny minority, OG, but the rich use that as a pathetic and dishonest excuse for their greed and selfishness. As do you. The majority are responsible and would spend any extra in healthy ways, stimulating economic growth - and would be deeply grateful for it.
    Knows-a-lot
    23rd Nov 2017
    12:32pm
    Excellent article. The injustices it exposes make me livid. No wonder our society is falling apart. When the middle class finally collapses, what do we get? Revolution!
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:21pm
    Historically, revolutions are primarily middle class... once that group is 'robbed of their birthright' - they become the leaders in revolt.
    *Imagine*
    23rd Nov 2017
    1:08pm
    Well said Kaye. Any person past retirement age can tell you from experience the the income retirement 'system' is broken. The main problem is that it is not a system, rather it is a confusing collection of rules for different situations, many of which are too complicated for the average retiree to understand.
    To those who say a universal pension system is too expensive, look at the UK. The income tax free threshold is £11,500 and the marginal rate from £11,501 to £45,000 is 20%. The National Insurance stamp is 12% and covers health and an age pension of £122 per week for everybody, irrespective of income or assets. In AUS we are paying 32.5% marginal tax rate plus medicare levy in this bracket but there is no universal pension. That is, we are paying more yet getting less. Like us, the UK citizens can opt to take out private health, private education and superannuation to supplement the State system.
    I imagine that Australia with its natural resources should be able to do better that the UK - at least it could if one of those natural resources was intelligence and aptitude within the political parties. Such a shame that we cannot match the UK and NZ and are falling further down the OECD scale.
    floss
    23rd Nov 2017
    1:56pm
    Rubbish O.G there are plenty of tax payers out there it is just that they will not pay their fair share of tax and are aided by this Federal Government.
    GeorgeM
    23rd Nov 2017
    9:27pm
    Exactly, if they collected the fair share of tax from all Individuals and Companies there would be no problem!

    A Minimum Tax needs to be implemented urgently here, as in many countries including USA, without allowing Deductions. Also, why is LABOR (without "U") silent on this idea (as they have debated it)?
    TREBOR
    24th Nov 2017
    3:45pm
    Stake out that 30%Trump Tax on corporations and let them come back with their genuine costings for a return - like everyone else.

    I remain disturbed at the huge amounts corporations are allowed to write off HERE as R & D - when that is primarily done Offshore and is already a deduction there.....

    Zomedink iss rotten in dar Schaat off Denmark!
    Lookfar
    23rd Nov 2017
    2:07pm
    About Old Geezer, those who are upset about his bigoted views, should be grateful to him, - though it is obvious that he can not find his arce with a sniffer dog (quote Bob Hawke about Tony Abbott) what he does is perfectly sprout the propaganda of the super rich, (neo-Liberals) so we can always know what their twisted selfish psychosis is in every discussion, - just look at OG.
    Of course like all those he denies it, but whether he grew up with some super rich imbeciles or is paid, (like so many are all over the world in discussion groups) (and the more comments, the more money/benefits they get) he is the deep throat of the Super Rich, unwittingly, just by spouting their sick propaganda.
    Thanks OG, for betraying your corrupt, lying, misinformed, "Masters/friends" who have no f/ing idea what they are doing to our planet, and our children/grandchildren, and even less care, - how much money can I get for selling care...
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    2:42pm
    Well now at least we look after ourselves and our kids as well without asking the taxpayer for help. We are therefor not selfish as we don't put our hand out and expect to be feed, clothed and housed by the generosity of others.

    I grew up in a poor family but soon realised that no one expect myself was going to give me a good life.

    I don't have any masters or friends that I obey or have to show off to etc. Frankly I just couldn't be bothered with that. I have no need to be corrupt or even lie to anyone.

    I regularly take in homeless youths and look after them until they get back on their feet. I have 2 at the moment.

    However I realise that unless something is done about our over generous welfare system especially some of those on the OAP then our kids and grandkids will pay dearly for it and suffer as a result.
    Rae
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:20pm
    Yes I agree OG. The welfare system will collapse as it is and as tax and revenue continues to decline.

    Not sure if this isn't a deliberate plan though.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:38pm
    What will happen to the Social Security system then?
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    5:47pm
    Your welfare will not just appear in your bank account. Instead you might get a few vouchers for some very basics like they do in Cuba. Better save your containers as you will even have to take something to put your very basics in like they do in Cuba.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:50pm
    Ah! So Social Security is done by magic! ... and has nothing to do with the life-long contribution of EVER taxpayer (a concept I've explained to your more times than I can count, since every user of this society pays tax every time they move) to Social Security, even though components of the overall tax regime, including income tax, has been dedicated to SOCIAL SECURITY for at least three generations now?

    SHOW ME!

    From MY research, Cubans have a far better pension system than we do..... your last three years of income is what is used to calculate your pension.... in which case I'd be on around $100k a year tax free.....
    Kathleen
    24th Nov 2017
    1:23pm
    Lookfar,
    Well done!
    My husband adds, ‘three cheers,’
    Kathleen
    24th Nov 2017
    1:28pm
    OG
    Do you speak like this to the youth you help. That would be like kicking a dog when it is down.
    So, you are saying you have compassion.
    Then, know things are not black and white. Many people hit rock bottom through no fault of their own.
    Apply that same compassion to others that you are obviously capable of.
    Sometimes, people just need a kind word.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:16pm
    Yes I do speak my mind to those I help and wont stand them staying up all night and staying in bed all day. That's usually the first habit I have to break. The next is proper meal times and a good diet instead of snacking on rubbish all day. Together with this is cutting alcohol and drug use. Kind words just don't cut it in these cases. Once we have all that under control they start to become human again and can then think about their future. Believe me compassion is the last thing these kids need.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    11:10am
    I don't believe he helps anyone, GrandmaKathleen22, but if he does, he is basing a judgment of a host of aged people on his experience with a handful of delinquent youth. A pretty STUPID way to arrive at the flawed conclusions he somehow manages to come to!

    Yes, OG, some young folk do need a kick in the behind. But they are NOT OAPs.
    dstark
    23rd Nov 2017
    2:13pm
    I was addressing the article's assertion - "Only a full review of our retirement income system will be able to address the fundamental inequities within" - but the article totally failed to recognise why the cost of pensions to be funded by taxpayers has changed so much over the last 80 years.
    The introduction of compulsory superannuation by the Hawke government was to allow those who could afford to do so to provide extra for their retirement - because the government recognised that to provide for the hugely growing cost of pensions was going to be political suicide - which it still is and will continue to be so - until we in Australia recognise that expecting someone else to pay extra for us and demand that governments make that our way of life will lead to us crippling our economy - and become like Greece.
    Lookfar
    23rd Nov 2017
    2:28pm
    dstark, I guess that is propanda 1, and designed to flush out all those like me who have come to understand that the Government of Australia can print as much money as is needed to support it's citizens, - it all comes back to them anyway, - Hitler almost conquered the world on that principle, Japan became the world's 3rd biggest economy, Taiwan, Korea, China, all became major players (wow look at China) The USA "quantifiedly Eased" it's way out of a Global collapse through that understanding, but Greece could not print it's own money, because it's money is the Euro, so it was locked into the stupid ignorance of the Monetarists, which we Australians are not, unless you vote Liberal.
    Please dstark, think outside the dead square.
    dstark
    23rd Nov 2017
    2:43pm
    "all those like me who have come to understand that the Government of Australia can print as much money as is needed to support it's citizens" are confused.
    Printing money to avoid being economical leads to inflation. The extra money buys less goods and services per dollar. That is economics 101.

    Japan's, Taiwan's, South Korea's, and China's economic successes did NOT come from inflation - their successes came from hard work and producing goods and services at lower costs than competitors - like Australia.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:29pm
    .. and from the willingness of the west to 'civilise' them and 'strengthen' them against the urge to Communism....

    The China Story is THE prime example of cultural assimilation of an ostensibly communist country.... it is now the capitalist powerhouse of the East, and has its very own New Mandarin Class and New Emperor - all of whom are worth billions.....

    No wonder our pollies look on this with their jaws a-slaver - if ONLY they could get a piece of THAT action by 'owning' a controlled state and exploiting EVERY asset of that state to their own self-enrichment... even the military who can be sent in to quell 'dissident bandit elements'....

    I'm sure out lot would love that kind of control.... hence the sellout to Asia to create a beggar class who cannot be choosers....
    Anonymous
    24th Nov 2017
    9:58pm
    Actually, dstark, you couldn't be more wrong on both counts. The pension system is highly affordable, but would be more affordable if a universal pension were introduced to remove the unfairness and stop the manipulation that is currently encouraged. Along with massive savings in administration costs, there would be a general change in attitude and a lot more consumption, which generates tax revenue in spades.

    Think about a hundred thousand pensioners spending less because of a changed assets test. That's less business profit resulting in job losses and fewer new job opportunities, less tax paid by the business, less payroll tax, less income tax because there are less people working... and less workers with income to spend means more reduced spending and therefore more profit reduction so more tax reduction, more job losses, less income tax from workers. And all that reduced consumption means less GST revenue. The losses go on and on in a vicious cycle, reducing revenue such that any minimal saving that might have been made by being mean is quickly eliminated... and that's before you consider the psychological reaction of the populace which is to reduce saving because it clearly doesn't pay, and thus to be more dependant on pension income, pushing the cost of pensions UP. It really defies understanding how any treasurer can be so patently stupid as to ignore the obvious economic consequences of meanness.
    ex PS
    25th Nov 2017
    8:33am
    Rainey has hit the nail on the head, if we reduce the O.A.P. by billions we take that amount out of the economy as most live day to day. Unlike giving billions to big business who will just absorb it as extra profit, taking it from Pensioners will have a direct negative impact by excluding that money from the working economy.
    One option will help keep small business afloat, the other will just end up in low tax bank accounts overseas.

    23rd Nov 2017
    3:46pm
    Oh my god, this issue again???

    The pension is enough to live on,so those fearing they run out of savings , don't spend all your savings in retirement ffs

    Try budgeting - not hard
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:57pm
    It's just the national pastime of whinging. Most people would never be satisfied no matter how much they were given. It would never be enough.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:53pm
    Positing a genuine claim is not 'whinging', kids.. get over it.

    Did you say the same about 'gay marriage rights' or 'women's rights'?

    Were they all 'whinging'? What about 'politician's rights'?

    Are they all 'whingers'?

    Get over it, get on and get moving forward for all.
    Rae
    24th Nov 2017
    8:49am
    Totally agree Raphael.

    All that is needed is a cessation of spending for the next month and the panic from retailers and hospitality will force the government to undo those dumb austerity measures.

    I guarantee it.

    We all stop spending like the US consumers did back in 2007, stop applying for loans and watch the chaos unfold.
    ex PS
    24th Nov 2017
    9:18am
    "It's just the national pastime of whinging.", from the biggest whinger on this site, quite funny really.
    Old Geezer
    24th Nov 2017
    9:31am
    I'm going to start complaining about being discriminated against as a white heterosexual man then.
    TREBOR
    24th Nov 2017
    1:51pm
    Say, bro - is that a Whitey Proof Fence going up on Ayers Rock? Or is they just repairing the safety chain busted by that 'hero' activist?
    Lookfar
    24th Nov 2017
    6:12pm
    Raphael, just because you advance a comment, does not mean you have swayed the readers, particularly as so much of your comments are based on foolish assumptions or dead old cliches, sounding a lot like OG.
    To answer comments, you actually have to think, - what did that person say really?
    Responding with labelling and insults, etc. shows up your inadequacies, not the ones you attack.
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2017
    6:19am
    Lookfar, neither OG nor Raphael have the ability to actually THINK. Their comments are bigoted and illogical because, like politicians on the far right, they want to maintain an unhealthy status quo in which the advantaged prosper unfairly and the rest can go to hell.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:22pm
    No we have the ability to think way beyond most people and see what others don't. We see that compassion is not good as that's what puts people down and keeps them down. If you say it like it is then you get a much better result then beating around the bush with things. No one in this country is disadvantaged or poor by any other means than their own poor choices in life.

    Too many people are given too much for nothing today and think they deserve it. Parents have lost the ability to say "no" to their kids and just accept their bad behaviour rather than correct it. Some do goody two shoes might see them etc.
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    5:24pm
    Spoken by a true blue-blood who has never known genuine hardship but THINKS what he experienced as a child was ''being poor''. News flash, OG. Nobody whose parents owned a small business was really ''poor''. They only imagined they were because they had less than they would like to have. Nobody who finished school and went to university was ''poor''. The poor kids were pushed out of school and into work at 15. You were about as 'disadvantaged' as Malcolm Turnbull. And as a result, you have warped views based on ignorance, misconceptions, and limited anecdotal evidence.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    11:06am
    Rainey you forget that I only stayed at school because my parents got paid for me to stay. I not only went to school but worked more hours a week for them than one does in a normal job as well for no pay. So my parents got it both ways in that they got paid because I stayed at school and they didn't have to pay anyone to do what I did. I guess they were a bit smarter than those who kids left at 15 to get a job.

    One day you should read how Malcolm made his money. I look at it as he just bought the right lottery ticket and it paid off handsomely. A friend of mine went to uni with him and knows him well.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    7:48pm
    Malcolm INHERITED his money, OG. Mega-millions. After growing up super-rich and going to the best schools.

    And no poor family was paid to keep their kids at school. Didn't happen. The government expected that most would leave at age 15. If you stayed on, you were NOT POOR.
    ex PS
    28th Nov 2017
    9:12am
    O.G reading about how your parents treated you, I can only say that it explains a lot about how you turned out.
    Lookfar
    23rd Nov 2017
    3:50pm
    dstark there are different theories of economics and some countries have more resources than others.
    The Keynesian economic theory, applied in America and stimulated/recovered the whole world, - - and was further stimulated by world war 2, - spend, spend, spend, and after also, huge Dams roads etc. of course according to Monetarists, America is still a small outpost of the United Kingdom.. Then came Monetarism, careful control in some circumstances justified but to the benefit of Banks, but it has failed the rest of Humankind, next is Evonomics, a sensible progression, - you need to understand that excess money is blotted up by taxes, so tax evasion destroys all three, greed has destroyed the world before, eg Rome, and could again if allowed.
    Australia has enormous resources and potential wealth, it should be far more wealthy than it is, - Australians invented the combine harvester, an enormous replacement of labour, Australians never needed to work after that, although we all do, but our invention was taken away, the money syphoned to those who live on making money work for them, - despite they do not work.
    Sure, people in poor countries, on the edge of starvation,work harder than the average Australian, but is that the future we want? a very small and corrupt group of very rich people get more and more of the money so they can be insanely richer and richer and the rest of us toil day and night to support these parasites?
    NO dstark, we can't go that way, because those super rich believe only in money they have lost sight of the Environment, - partly because they can always afford the best environment, partly because they have no understanding of consequences, stuck at age 3, - we have to gently remove their idiotic control of our lives, or forcefully remove.
    Anonymous
    23rd Nov 2017
    4:28pm
    Lookfar, you are navel gazing
    Just print money eh - that's your solution -ROFLMAO

    You must be a Mugabe supporter - fancy a Trillion Dollar Note to buy a loaf of bread ?
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:55pm
    ** face palm emoticon required**

    What has Mugabe got to do with a fair go HERE?

    Desperate grasping...

    Please explain in full?
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2017
    6:17am
    Lookfar is right, Raphael. The rich ARE the problem. Their greed has seen the tax take shrink and shrink and shrink. They whine endlessly about people on welfare, but they steal the national resources and they exploit the less powerful and they do not work. They are lazy, dishonest, cruel, immoral, selfish and self-serving in the extreme. And their greed will cause the collapse of society as we know it today.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    11:52am
    The only rich people I know are very hard working, extremely charitable and certainly not lazy. It is the greed of the middle class that is a problem.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    7:55pm
    I'd like to meet some of the rich you know, OG, but I don't believe they exist. The rich are NOT hard working. They exploit. They use excessive resources and won't pay for them. They might give a little to charity to ease their conscience, but they make sure the charities are set up to line the pockets of the administrators, not to actually help the needy. How much has MT got hoarded in the Caymans? How much grant money is doled out to the whinging Gina R? The rich are GREEDY in the extreme.
    Old Geezer
    29th Nov 2017
    12:23pm
    You obviously don't know any rich people then Rainey. I mean the ones who actually have wealth not the ones who just think they do.
    Anonymous
    30th Nov 2017
    7:22am
    I know a lot of them, OG. And their vile attitudes are well exposed in in news and interviews. MT, for a start, whining about the deficit but hiding his money in the Caymans to avoid taxes. Or does he only ''think'' he's wealthy, with his hundreds of millions. Then there's the very greedy Gina R. Goodness, nobody could call her ''charitable''. The list is way too long to even begin to name them, but they certainly disprove your right wing propaganda.
    floss
    23rd Nov 2017
    4:41pm
    Wow Lookfar you have summed up O.G in one go the mean old bludger.
    Anonymous
    23rd Nov 2017
    5:11pm
    The gullible and the welfare bludgers always stick together.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Nov 2017
    5:44pm
    Ha ha like that one.
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:55pm
    the pirates and the vampires likewise...
    TREBOR
    23rd Nov 2017
    10:56pm
    Rafe.. OG - what is YOUR definitive answer to the current problems in this nation?
    Old Geezer
    24th Nov 2017
    10:41am
    Everyone should get off their posteriors and actually work instead of relying on welfare.
    TREBOR
    24th Nov 2017
    1:53pm
    .. and these jobs are???? Where? When?
    ex PS
    24th Nov 2017
    3:06pm
    I will agree that all must work for a living when there are enough full time jobs to go around, until then we need to live in the real world.
    Anonymous
    24th Nov 2017
    9:50pm
    A recent article, produced by a highly qualified research team, recommended that we should move immediately to a four day working week. It listed the benefits and detailed the economic gain and it's quite eye-watering to consider the sense of the proposal.

    Only a nasty old bigot suggests that people should ''get off their posteriors and actually work instead of relying on welfare''. If there were enough jobs to go around, they might be able to. The four-day work week would create jobs. It would also reduce mental illness, addiction, family breakups, stress-related illness, lost productivity due to sick days, child care costs, delinquent and suicidal children and teens.... the list of benefits goes on and on and on. But morons continue to harp on with their cruel assaults on the disadvantaged, convincing themselves that people are lazy.

    I agree that working with the long-term unemployed would quickly cure a ''bleeding heart'' - but what people fail to understand is that the laziness and lack of initiative is the RESULT of a broken system that continually suppresses and punishes. People don't start out lazy. The broken system breaks people. If you want a healthy society, you first have to stop bullying those who are struggling and structure the system to support, guide and encourage. And that DOES NOT MEAN STARVING PEOPLE INTO SUBMISSION. It means giving them a genuine hand up - something out current system fails dismally to do.
    ex PS
    25th Nov 2017
    8:45am
    I can remember having to give up a part time job in the 80's because it occasionally paid more than was allowed before having the ability to claim the DOLE if the work stopped coming in.
    The system then was that you could find part time work and come off the DOLE when you reached a certain point, if your wage for the fortnight dropped below a certain level the government would make up the difference, if you made more you would get nothing from the government. It worked well until the government decided that if you made more in wages for so many fortnights in a row, you had assistance withdrawn and had to reapply for assistance when it dropped again which took a month. This meant that as a man with a family to support I was forced to give up my part time job to ensure that my family was looked after.
    This was an example where government actually cost the tax payer more in welfare because it did not have the capacity to see past its own political agenda. It just wanted to be seen as being tough on welfare recipients.
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2017
    10:23am
    These dumb policies have created the ''welfare mentality'' OG rants about. It's NOT the fault of those on welfare. It's the policy.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:03pm
    nope it's nothing to do with policies of any kind. It has to do with the individual and from what I see we are becoming a nation of people who do nothing and want to get paid for it.
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    8:51am
    Only a blind fool thinks individuals do not change their thinking in response to environment, OG. It's the POLICIES, dunce! People don't become what they are for no reason. They respond to the world around them and how it treats them. If you had ever been in the shoes of the long-term unemployed - if you'd ever had to do what I had to do to get off benefits - you would recognize the idiocy and cruelty of the policies you support. And that these policies CREATE A WELFARE MENTALITY. They cannot do anything else, because they keep people down (by design, actually, which is why you support them. It boosts you ego and makes you feel superior!)
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    10:54am
    Only long term employed I know want to stay long term employed and have no intention of working at all.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    11:13am
    As I have said before, anecdotal evidence IS NOT EVIDENCE, OG. You are getting it hopelessly WRONG WRONG WRONG because you are judging based on seeing a handful of atypical people, and even in relation to them you are probably WRONG because you don't know what got them to the point of wanting to stay long term unemployed. Quite possibly it was frustration over a flawed system that rewards people for staying long-term unemployed and punishes them for striving to get out of that rut. Like I said, I had to cheat to escape the welfare trap. I know many others who did also, and far more who just gave up because it was too damned hard. If you opened your eyes and ears, OG, instead of assuming all the time, you might actually LEARN SOMETHING.
    AutumnOz
    23rd Nov 2017
    5:03pm
    YLC congratulations on a very good article.
    Your retirement articles are always of great interest as are the 3 monthly updates.
    GeorgeM
    23rd Nov 2017
    9:22pm
    Yes, the Universal Pension idea is a definite answer as the Politicians cannot provide any sensible alternatives. This should be combined with removing all special Pensions for Politicians as well. Tax all income above that. Maybe provide it at least for those who have lived / paid taxes here for say 20 years, with a lower (say 60%) amount for those who didn't - to limit this as a carrot for freeloaders via the Immigration system.
    TREBOR
    24th Nov 2017
    1:56pm
    All under the same roof, George and under the same rates of return and conditions... that's why politicians with their favoured 'pension' will never go for it.

    If what they do is forfeiting opportunity to serve the country, they fail on both scores... they forfeit nothing, singularly fail the nation, and receive additional benefits when they quit or are turfed and go back to their already good living, with a few more cosy connections to offer nice little earners for life.

    NONE of them actually needs a 'pension' from the day they leave politics, and their 'pension' should be means and income tested.

    25th Nov 2017
    6:59am
    Anyone who tries to defend the aged pension system against the claim that it is broken is a blind fool!

    We have people living in multi-million dollar homes collecting full pensions, while people living in $200,000 shacks or tiny apartments with $850,000 in the bank get nothing. We have people who can hide money under the mattress or in foreign bank accounts being paid for doing so. We have retirees taking cruises because they are better off with less in the bank. We have couples who struggled and went without to save trying to live on $25K a year while couples who saved half as much coast along on up to $50K a year and couples who saved nothing at all receiving $32,000 a year plus benefits.

    We have young folk wondering what is the point of going without to save when you are punished for it in old age. The couple who want to visit family abroad in retirement decide to quit work early and go before they turn 65 because going at age 70 means a huge loss of pension benefits and therefore costs double!

    The administration of the system is an expensive nightmare! Is the pensioner subject to income assessment or assets assessment? Every tiny change in income or assets means work re-assessing and cost writing to the pensioner to tell them of the change in their pension.

    Pensioners receive concessions, but so, now, do some non-pensioners. Some pensioners receive supplements, but younger pensioners or those who lost their pension due to assets then regained it don't get the supplement. Pensioners who live abroad or stay abroad on holiday for extended periods get less. And then there's all the grandfathering provisions and the different pensions for veterans and ex-public service employees. It just goes on and on and on.

    It's a dog's dinner! And it's made more complex by every stupid change that DOESN'T save the nation money because it reduces spending and thus tax revenue and job creation and drives the welfare mentality and greater stress - resulting in more illness and higher health care costs.

    Obviously, a universal aged pension would cost the nation far less and would improve social health enormously - which in turn always improves economic health. But the problem is that the morons in power think like OG and Raphael. They can't THINK logically and sensibly because they are too consumed by jealousy and meanness, and a weird delight in feeling superior.
    Old Geezer
    25th Nov 2017
    12:02pm
    Agree Rainey it looks like to only way to fix the welfare system Old Age Pension is to allow everyone over pension age to access it. It can then be paid for including all the benefits from the sale of their house and their other assets. Yes a HECS type debt. Also those HECS debts need top be paid from one's estate as well as it is stupid having old people going to uni etc and never going to pay for it.

    Why should others have to pay extra when cashed up OAPs get discounts?
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    8:41am
    Fine, OG. As long as the so-called self-funded retirees also accrue debt for all their tax concessions and have to repay that from their estate. Currently, they get far more out of the taxpayer purse than any pensioner, but it seems it's okay to hand out to the rich, but not to the working class battler.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    10:53am
    Rainey I have said many times I do not get any tax concessions so it won't bother me at all. I don't know of any self funded retires that do get anything form the government we funded the government not take from it.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    11:08am
    But for the millionth time, OG, IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. I understand you are an egotist and self-absorbed, but the debate is about Australians in general, not one self-absorbed, self-centred individual!

    Most so-called self-funded retirees DO get massive benefits from the taxpayer. They are given a huge tax reduction to boost their super (from up to 45c in the dollar down to just 15c) while the poor get NOTHING AT ALL and often pay more on their super contributions than if they had collected it in wages. The cost of these obscene superannuation tax concessions in 2013-4 was $35 billion, and it's rising rapidly. It is THIS COST - NOT THE COST OF AGED PENSIONS - that is killing the budget. Eliminate the unfair tax concessions and give more to low income earners instead of handing out to the rich and we would have more GENUINELY self-funded retirees and a healthier budget.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    11:58am
    Do you really think that the budget would be any better if they didn't give tax concessions for super? Do you want to see more charities and churches set up just so that people can earn tax free income instead? At least with super the government is getting some tax paid.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    7:51pm
    The vile well off are so greedy that the budget probably wouldn't be better off because the stinking pigs would find other ways to rort. At the end of the day, their greed is the problem, and it's not easily solved, sadly.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    10:37pm
    Of course they will until we get a tax system that is reasonable.
    Anonymous
    28th Nov 2017
    8:12am
    What - one that doesn't tax the wealthy but crucifies the hard working battler you mean, OG. That's what the well off call ''reasonable''. Yes, we need a ''reasonable'' tax system - one that taxes the wealthy adequately and doesn't allow ANY escape from paying their dues.
    Justsane
    25th Nov 2017
    12:50pm
    It is obvious that the reason that Australia can spend a lower percentage of GDP on the Age Pension than the OECD average is that in Australia the Pension is means tested, unlike in the rest of the world. As long as this means testing (income and assets) is fair, reasonable and relatively generous, ours is a good system. It does not waste money on giving pensions to the super rich, as is the case in other countries. And just because the Pension is means tested in this country, this does not make it less of an entitlement.
    Anonymous
    26th Nov 2017
    8:39am
    But the system IS NOT fair, reasonable or relatively generous. It's generous to manipulators. It's downright cruel and grossly unfair to those who have saved hard to acquire very modest assets but can't achieve high investment returns. It's inadequate for those who don't own a home and have no other means. It's super-complicated and expensive to administer. And it drives a ''welfare mentality'' and resistance to striving to be as independent as possible in retirement.

    The system IS broken. And yes, we spend a lower proportion of GDP on the Age Pension than the OECD average - but that could be achieved more efficiently by fixing the broken system so that it is fair and reasonable. Anyone who thinks it is now has a screw loose!
    Justsane
    27th Nov 2017
    2:33am
    No, I do not think the age pension is particularly fair, reasonable or generous at the moment, since the Government has been tinkering with aspects of it for years to save money, notably changing the taper rate and the unreasonable assets limit at which the pension cuts out, and also the change in the way Super is assessed which I am not really fully across because I do not have Super, but I guess it means treating it both as income and an asset. On the other hand, Julia Gillard in her time did increase the pension quite a bit. I think a single pensioner is disadvantaged. So if you lose your partner, you have to live on only two-thirds of what you had before, maybe less as your asset limit is also cut. And rent assistance is appallingly low especially for an individual who has only the single pension to rely on.

    But I don't disagree with means testing per se. In other countries, where there is no means testing, very wealthy people are entitled to a pension, which is a bit of a waste of the State's money. But I acknowledge that means testing leaves the pension vulnerable to unfair and unreasonable tinkering by Governments.

    27th Nov 2017
    11:18am
    The retirement system IS broken, with the aged pension system being hideously complex, costly to administer, dreadfully unfair, and affording totally inadequate help to the very needy. But it's not just that. As pointed out many times, the superannuation tax concessions are grossly unfair, unsound economically, and killing the budget.

    Who in their right mind thinks it reasonable to give a 30c in the dollar tax concession to the wealthy for investing in super and nothing to a low income earner (or in some cases taxing higher than if the money was retained in wages)? In 2013-4, this flawed and grossly unfair concession to the rich cost the nation $35 billion, and that cost is rising way faster than the cost of funding aged pensions. Until the idiots in power stop their greedy grab and end this, we have no hope of remedying our economic woes.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    11:40am
    Take away the concession and who in their right mind would put money into super? I certainly wouldn't. In fact I'd be taking it out ASAP.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    7:46pm
    Oh, of course. We must continue to indulge the greedy selfish well off, otherwise they will shaft us all, because all they care about is hoarding their gold in tax havens. The nation can go to hell in a basket. The working class can increasingly struggle against rising prices and falling real incomes. The sick and disabled can suffer and die. The health care system can collapse. Education can become an unaffordable luxury. NONE OF THAT MATTERS TO THE GREEDY WELL TO DO. All that matters to those stinking vile creatures is their precious tax concessions and being subsidized to hoard their gold.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    10:35pm
    That Rainey is a good explanation of the tall poppy syndrome.
    Anonymous
    28th Nov 2017
    8:10am
    No, OG, it's an accurate summation of society today. It's not ''tall poppy syndrome'' to resent the greed and selfishness of the vile rich. When they pay their fair share of taxes and treat the less well off with respect, they will be respected. This ''tall poppy syndrome'' claim is just another of the lies they tell themselves to ease their consciences (if they have any!)
    Old Geezer
    28th Nov 2017
    3:37pm
    The top 20% of income earners pay 80% of the tax so how much do you expect is their fair share? I'd say they already pay more than their fair share.
    Anonymous
    28th Nov 2017
    4:35pm
    That oft-quoted statistic is irrelevant, OG. What is relevant is how much the wealthy pay relative to the resources they use. They DO NOT PAY NEARLY ENOUGH. Of course YOU would say they pay more than their fair share, because you are among them.

    Bottom line: If the wealthy paid their share, we wouldn't have a deficit. End of argument.
    Old Geezer
    28th Nov 2017
    6:27pm
    Unfortunately the wealthy can also only sleep in one bed, wear one set of clothes, eat only so much food, only drive one car etc just like the rest of the population. So I can't see how they consume any more resources than the rest but they sure pay a lot more for them.
    Anonymous
    29th Nov 2017
    7:07am
    What a dunce you are, OG! You can't comprehend that Gina R uses more resources than the average Australian? That mining companies exploit the natural resources in a way other can't? That business makes high volume use of ports and rail and roads while most Australians make minimal use? That businesses place higher demand on police resources and courts than ordinary workers? That industry consumes far more power than the working individual? The list goes on and on and on. And that's without even considering that the rich build far bigger houses that use more water and more power.

    Goodness, you really are ignorant, aren't you?
    Old Geezer
    29th Nov 2017
    12:15pm
    What I do get though Rainey is that if it wasn't for businesses we would not have the cheap supply of good fresh food, nice clothes, fuel for our cars and all the others things we all consume.

    I for one actually generate a lot more power than I actually use so I do my bit in providing cheaper power for others. Now remember without solar power prices would be able double what they are today.

    Without businesses Rainey it would be a very different world. Just ask those living in places like Cuba? You simply can't buy what we take for granted in those places. Imagine having to fly out of the country to buy dinner plates?
    Anonymous
    30th Nov 2017
    7:15am
    Oh I agree OG. Business is good. But the affluent should PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE for the resources they use to achieve that affluence.

    What you say is that the rich have the power to manipulate and demand the law cater to them, but the poor don't. So the poor should suffer poverty and the rich should party, benefiting unfairly. That's not the kind of world I want to live in, and it IS the cause of our current economic and social problems. Rich man's GREED. You confirm it with your response to my comment about superannuation tax concessions. ''Take them away and nobody would put money into super''. True. But that's PROOF POSITIVE of the GREED of the well off being the cause of the deficit. $35 billion and growing going to the well to do who DO NOT NEED IT (Oh, but heaven forbid someone much less affluent get something YOU judge they don't need. No, only the wealthy are entitled to benefits they don't need).

    $35 billion - and rising - going into the pockets of GREEDY folk who don't need it. But you condone that and slam the battlers - falsely accusing them of taking first class trips to Disneyland. As if!

    27th Nov 2017
    5:10pm
    Don't worry folks

    LOOKFAR has the solution to all our problems. The government should just print money
    Lookfar
    27th Nov 2017
    5:49pm
    It is not quite that simple Raphael, for a start, the money has to be for particular things, like education, the health system, adequate employment opportunities and the infrastructure that requires, Pensions, defence etc, etc. it must not be spent on Importing anything unless out of truly dire need, as that money is then lost.
    The long term goal is to have the money equal to that which is produced within the country, although just how to organise that will take a while.
    Inflation is countered by reducing the amount of liquidity by taxation, money hidden overseas would not be money anymore as that would sabotage the economy, (as it does already.) Have a look on the Internet at Evonomics, - it is a work in progress, working to fix the economic system, looking at many options.
    The current system doesn't even look after it's old folks, let alone provide a healthy and productive country for our young folk to grow and contribute in, quite shameful really, how can a Government be so delinquent?
    You have to think outside the box Raphael, or you will end up like OG - living in a mirror sphere, because the box is broken, and only we can fix it.
    The first thing necessary is to admit that the box is broken, - only then can you realise you need to think about what the 'box' could be like and what things we all need to be doing to create it.
    Cliches need to be seen as the dirt to stand on, but not allowed to stick to our feet.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2017
    6:14pm
    Good to see some here can actually THINK, Lookfar. Sad that a few are so shallow and ignorant that all they are capable of is meanest and very un-smart quips. Raphael is showing his ignorance.

    27th Nov 2017
    6:21pm
    What is really sad is that the government KNOWS the solution to both the pension problem and the budget problem. Countless reports expose the solution. But the LNP is too obsessed with keeping its greedy supporters happy to implement the solution, and therefore seeks to milk stones instead - constantly tweaking to take more and more and more from the less affluent. Meanwhile Labor is far too obsessed with trying to win the approval of some of the disenchanted LNP supporters to do what needs to be done, even if they were in power. So we are at a stalemate. The deficit continues to grow, the poor get poorer, the social problems caused by poverty increase, and the greedy over-indulged rich party harder and get more and more vocal in their demand for further indulgence.
    Old Geezer
    27th Nov 2017
    10:34pm
    I disagree Rainey as the problem is that people today are becoming lazy and want to be given everything instead of working. If you don't want to be poor then you have to get off your posterior and actually do some work. It wouldn't matter who government the country they couldn't get people to work if they didn't want to.

    The deficit continues to grow because we have programs like the NDIS, Gonski and many others that need repealing so that they are not such a big drain on the public purse. That home care system makes people rich and doesn't give those who need it much help.
    Anonymous
    28th Nov 2017
    8:08am
    You don't get it, do you OG. People don't want to work because there's no fair reward. You work to pay for private health and the guy who doesn't pay for it gets the same treatment free while you pay a massive ''gap''. You work to fund a modestly comfortable retirement and the stinking government says ''live of your savings'' while they hand out to the fellow who cruised the world and the woman who sat on her backside and did nothing for 50 years. Goodness, even in the courts when wills are contested the disgusting system gives all the loot to the lazy, nasty relative who abused or abandoned their loved one and lived irresponsibly while the rightful beneficiaries, who cared for their loved one diligently for twenty+ years gets screwed over.

    People don't just become lazy or irresponsible. We had a culture of working hard and giving everyone a fair go. The government stuffed up the fair go part, so many people responded by saying ''screw you, why should I work''. After the last idiotic change to pensions, people are saying ''Might as well cruise the world and restrict my savings because they won't do me any good. I have to give up the benefits I saved for so those who saved less can have more''.

    And all the while the obscene handouts to the very well-off continue at the expense of the middle and working class.

    The middle class are NOT selfish. They just want a fair go. They want to be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labour. And before you go off on your stupid rant, they want it WITHOUT having to be financial wizards. Many of them spent their lives learning to excel in very different areas, and they are good at what they do. We shouldn't all have to learn to be investment experts. If we did, there wouldn't be time and energy for people to learn the other valuable skills needed to make the community prosper.

    We need a government that has respect for those who work hard and strive, whatever their talents and preferred areas of learning and achievement. We need a fair go, a fair reward for effort and responsible living, and a society that is compassionate and respectful to the genuinely needy. If we had that, very few would choose to bludge or fake it, because it wouldn't be beneficial to do so.

    Only a blind and ignorant OLD FOOL thinks people bludge or fake it for no reason. It's a response to the environment created by government and the rich. And the only way to fix it is to CHANGE THE DUMB POLICIES.
    Old Geezer
    28th Nov 2017
    3:35pm
    Rainey you need some new glasses and to use them.
    Anonymous
    28th Nov 2017
    4:32pm
    What an utterly stupid and irrelevant comment, OG - but I guess it's all you've got when you are clearly wrong and can't present an intelligent argument in response.

    Intelligent people look deeply for explanations for trends and behaviours. They don't judge. They appreciate that to understand someone properly, you have to walk in their shoes. They listen respectfully and try to imagine how it feels to be that person and why that person is who they are.

    Nobody becomes who they are in a vacuum, OG. Environment and influence makes us who we are. Environment and influence drives out thoughts and our behaviours. Nobody just becomes lazy or irresponsible. Their circumstances and life experiences drive their choices. If they make bad choices, it's because their life experience and circumstances led them to misunderstand the difference between good and bad choices. Maybe they never had the opportunity to learn how to make good choices.

    POLICY and the attitude of the rich and powerful creates the environment, and the environment drives behaviour. Anyone who thinks otherwise is uneducated, unintelligent, unthinking, and ignorant. Sorry, OG. But that's the reality. And actually, you know that only too well, because you constantly rant that if superannuation tax concessions are abolished, people will stop investing in super. Oh, but wait! No, they wouldn't stop in response to POLICY CHANGE. They would just act randomly because they are evil. NO? Then how are people who don't work any different? Answer: they are NOT. They respond to policy just like the rich would if their concessions were taken away. Those who were hit by the assets test change respond to policy change by rearranging their affairs to maximize their financial position. We all respond to policy. The so-called bludgers and the welfare cheats are no different. When the policy is fixed, the problem will be solved. Only the policy won't be fixed, because those who benefit from it are too greedy, too selfish, and too powerful.
    Lookfar
    28th Nov 2017
    5:08pm
    Rainey, please don't take OG too seriously, - as I understand it, the Koch bros. (as Mobil already admitted to Their funding of such,) have criteria, the new applicant, eg OG, must select a Persona, they are given various choices, encouraged to select one similiar to themselves, and supplied with a series of arguments, cliches, false facts, prejudices, etc to fit that Persona.
    They are also paid on the numbers of posts that they make, - obvious, but I only have hearsay on that one.
    Think about it, they are a very very small number, the obscenly rich, they own the Media, most of the factories, most of just about everything, to pay a multitude of OG personas all over the world to sabotage human Internet discussion, so as to keep them in their position of unearned and unjustifiable, power, is not only reasonable but essential, else the end will come before they are ready to die, or whatever their criteria.
    And in the scheme of things, very small monies for them, although perhaps very important to the OG's, scattered all around the world.
    To use an old phrase from the Socialist days, (of which I was never a member) Paid Flunkeys, - not worth getting incensed about them, although I too feel very upset about such total disregard for one's fellow human, a hallmark of that blind, lost, mob.
    Old Geezer
    28th Nov 2017
    6:03pm
    About time someone paid me so when can I expect to receive my cheque Lookfar?

    The truth be told I find it disappointing that you really think that I would flog others ideas at all. All of what I say is what I actually think myself.

    I have no Persona for any other purpose than to state the facts as I see them.
    Old Geezer
    28th Nov 2017
    6:15pm
    If people change so quickly Rainey then why are people like you still whinging about the well over due change in the assets test? That was announced years ago now. Also why am I still hearing ads from financial advisors about helping those affected by these changes? No people are just too lazy to do anything but whinge about it. The next change will happen before they have done anything about the last one.
    Anonymous
    29th Nov 2017
    7:01am
    Yes of course, master HYPOCRITE. Those you dislike are just bad. Those you approve of - the well-to-do - only respond to policy. If they do what's bad for the nation - dodging tax etc. - it's because the POLICY is WRONG. If the less privileged do wrong, it's because they are naturally evil.

    No wonder this country is in a mess when we have vile hypocrites discriminating in that manner.
    Anonymous
    29th Nov 2017
    7:20am
    And I never said people change ''quickly'' OG. I said they change in response to policy and the environment it creates. And they do.

    As for whinging about the assets test change - people continue to complain because it continues to unfairly hurt them. Many are only just starting to realize how bad it is as they see their savings depleted. One person I know was just quoted for essential eye surgery and realized that over half the money he had put aside to pay for that has gone compensating for the loss of a part pension, despite him reducing his standard of living considerably. Yes, he still has enough left to pay for the surgery, but after he pays for it he'll qualify for a substantial pension that will increase year on year, whereas if he'd kept his small part pension for just 5 years, he'd have been self-funded after that. With probably 25+ years left to live, he'll cost the nation far more because of the mean and stupid assets test change. As will hundreds of thousands of others.

    Also, people continue to whinge because the deficit continues to grow, and it's STUPID policies like the assets test change that are driving that growth.

    Unfortunately, OG, people like you don't have the ability to THINK beyond ''doh, take money off people and the country will be better off''. It's never that simple, and usually the reverse is true, but the dunces running this country can't figure that out and are too stubborn to reverse their flawed policy when their error is pointed out.
    Old Geezer
    29th Nov 2017
    12:09pm
    Good to see that one person you know Rainey is now pay his own way instead of collecting the OAP and saving his money for his kids to go to Disneyland first class. They just might have to go cattle class instead.
    Anonymous
    30th Nov 2017
    7:10am
    He WAS saving his money for eye surgery and dental care, OG. But he would be far better off spending it going to Disneyland first class now because he's not going to be able to enjoy the benefit he EARNED by being frugal. It's being taken from him to give to people who were less frugal. He's have been a lot smarter to take several first class trips to Disneyland. Either way, he'll now cost the taxpayer twice as much as he would have under the old system. But dunces like you and our politicians are too short-sighted to understand that.
    Lookfar
    28th Nov 2017
    6:49pm
    Of course OG, you would say that, and maybe it is true, perhaps you have such a bundle of hardened cliches in your soul that there is no room anymore for the human being, - nor any other human being, just your programming.
    Well, like Scrooge, in that story of Christmas, you may find there is a crack in your shell of understanding and may start to be able to change, - it is the time of year, and if you can, we will welcome you back to our heart's.
    Cheers,
    Geoff.
    Old Geezer
    28th Nov 2017
    7:47pm
    Ha yes it that's silly time of year again and sooner it is over the better.
    Anonymous
    29th Nov 2017
    7:21am
    Scrooge was a much nicer person than OG, Lookfar. At least he had a soul - even if it did take a bit to release it.
    Old Geezer
    29th Nov 2017
    12:06pm
    I doubt Scrooge would be paying for his family to go on a cruise to New Zealand in January.
    Anonymous
    30th Nov 2017
    7:18am
    Scrooge would pay for anything that pleases Scrooge. He just won't support giving anything to those who work hard but are underpaid or suffer crisis or trauma that wipes out their savings nest egg. Actually, he even supports handing out unfairly to the rich. He just can't tolerate treating the less well off fairly or with respect.


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