Superannuation: benefits for the ultra wealthy are ‘obscene’

A retired accountant has discovered the shocking inequity in the current super system.

As reported on the ABC last night, when retired accountant Steve Elliott decided to examine the disparity between high-income earning retirees and the poor, he was shocked by what he found.

"I've always been impressed about how much I didn't have to pay and what a lurk it was for me, and then I started to realise that the inequity was just very severe because I hadn't even looked at the top end of the spectrum, because I am nowhere near that," he said.

Mr Elliott decided to investigate how the current superannuation system works for high-income earning retirees and he was taken aback by his findings.

He did the maths and found that a high-income earning couple able to make maximum contributions to their super fund over a 43-year period, with a further 20 years of payments in retirement, would enjoy a tax saving of around 40 per cent on their total balance and payments – a whopping total of $65 million.

On the other hand, a couple earning a combined income of $100,000 saves only 18 per cent, with those earning $70,000 annually saving just 14 per cent.

Research by the Grattan Institute also shows that over half the annual superannuation tax savings (around $30 billion) goes to the wealthiest households.

One such example of how the current system benefits the super wealthy, is that of former BHP Billiton chairman, Don Argus, who is reported to have a super balance of around $15 million. Assuming he draws a pension of 6 per cent of that fund, he would earn $900,000 a year, tax free – potentially saving him up to $411,000 annually.

Although this is a convincing argument for how the current superannuation system mainly benefits the rich, there are opposing viewpoints, with SMSF Professionals Association Chief Executive Andrea Slattery saying that the benefits for self-managed super fund owners means fewer people receiving the Age Pension.

"We know for instance last year that superannuation saved the Government about $9 billion on the Age Pension, so our debate starts to change and we start to look at long term thinking," said Ms Slattery.

All things considered, ending super tax breaks for the wealthy could cut the budget deficit by $10–15 billion a year.

Read more at www.abc.net.au

Opinion: The system clearly benefits the rich

Past estimates show that, should the Government rein in super tax concessions, it could save upwards of $35 billion each year.  Ms Slattery’s suggestions that SMSFs save the Government around $9 billion per year are, at best, questionable, especially since these top earners would never qualify for an Age Pension anyway. There is also little evidence this is a NET saving, but even accepting this number, our bottom line would still be better off by $25 billion per year if concessions were reduced or removed completely. 

So how does keeping the current system in place benefit all Australians?

The short answer is: the current super system benefits the super rich.

We have said it before, and will say it again, when considering the ‘common good', the current system is out of whack, with high-income earners the clear beneficiaries of super tax concessions. With the Government looking for ways to reduce our ever-expanding deficit, super tax concessions are the topic du jour – and rightly so.

The superannuation system, as it stands, clearly benefits the rich more than the poor. Now, there are those who would argue that the rich have earned their right to enjoy these benefits, but such benefits still come at the taxpayer’s expense.

There are also those who will argue that welfare recipients are sponging off the taxpayer.

It is clear that the current system disproportionately benefits the rich, and as it stands, according to Australia Institute research, it could actually cost the budget more in the future than leaving the Age Pension alone. One thing’s for sure: the Government has its work cut out trying to placate the business lobby and their conservative supporters whilst balancing the books.

What matters most, in our opinion, is that social equity does not get left behind in the retirement income debate. With a third of Australian pensioners living in poverty, something is very wrong with our system.

Given Tuesday’s thought bubble of making the pension a loan, how do you feel about his inequity in the super system? How can the Government cry poor when it comes to paying the Age Pension, but be able to afford to keep feeding the coffers of the super rich with tax benefits? What is your opinion of the current system? Given your experience of retirement and retirement planning, what changes would you recommend?

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    COMMENTS

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    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    10:23am
    I don't believe this. MS Slattery saying that not paying 411,000 a year ($8.22 million over 20 years) in tax.

    Saves having to pay him $36,000 pension ($720,000 over 20 years).

    What stupid illogical logic is this.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    10:27am
    Assuming he is married off course
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    1:12pm
    Off what course? Does he play golf or does he tend to stray?
    Mygasheater
    18th Feb 2016
    4:40pm
    If you want to get an idea of the inequity between the super rich and ordinary people, go to YouTube and search for;

    " The Super Rich and Us"

    This is a three part BBC series that was shown on SBS last year. Yes it is talking about the super rich in the UK but it wouldn't be that different here in Australia.

    It is the arrogance of these people and their contemptuous attitude to the rest of us that is galling.
    Batara
    18th Feb 2016
    11:19am
    A statement of the bleeding obvious. Was there anyone who doubted that the beneficiaries of the silvertail tax policies would be the rich and richer? The great shame is that Labor has not reigned this in before now.
    Paulodapotter
    18th Feb 2016
    12:47pm
    Not exactly known for political courage, now are they? Caved in on the SuperTax. Couldn't stand up to the LNP on refugees right from the start. Hardly a wimper on the folly of Iraq. Couldn't fight for an ETS. A more gutless mob you won't find anywhere.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    11:27am
    I suppose if you were to argue the case on the grounds of inequality then Don Argus would win the argument. His retirement income of $900k is probably only 50% of his pre retirement personal exertion income. Superannuation is more than just a tax advantaged long term savings instrument.
    Batara
    18th Feb 2016
    11:32am
    Frank, wouldn't expect anything else from you, but you have excelled mate. "personal exertion income". The rich do not exert themselves Frank. Perhaps you think people who raise a sweat are rich. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Rich are born into rich families or exploit other members of society to accumulate wealth, or both apply.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    11:42am
    Just as they are doing with the tax system concessions.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    11:46am
    Oh OK I guess what you're saying is that the "inequality rule" doesn't apply here. I would think Don Argus shouldn't be working too hard now that he is in semi retirement. He must be in his late 70's now?
    Batara
    18th Feb 2016
    11:54am
    Frank, the inequality in the instance of Don Argus is that he was paid an obscene remuneration before retirement. I have absolutely zero (less than zero) concern for people who confiscate so much of the world's wealth. in the case of Argus, by raping the natural environment.
    Drewbie
    18th Feb 2016
    11:55am
    I certainly agree with Batara on the score relating to Don Argus & his income level. I haven't a clue what Frank means by "personal exertion income". However I do give credit as it is due where the wealthy % of Australia are concerned. Some have doggedly worked to get where they are and are of course entitled to a comfortable lifestyle in retirement.

    However, what I adamantly pour scorn on obvious deliberate, continuous action by "over the top" wealthy Australians to reduce to the lowest $ possible, their portion of income tax. Our economy would be much better off and "all" Australians would hugely benefit were the wealthy to honestly pay income tax at the exact same rate as ordinary, hard working, lower income earners do.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    12:10pm
    Yes Drewbie and what really p**s's me off is that they still would be rich if they paid all their tax So why do they do it?

    Because they can and the system is designed so they can.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    12:20pm
    I also give credit where it's due. Those who work hard and save and do well are entitled to a fair reward - a FAIR reward, not an obscene over-the-top reward at the expense of the other hard workers who, because their work isn't valued under our rather arbitrary and grossly unfair system of valuing endeavour, don't do too well.

    Nobody needs or has use for $900,000 a year in retirement, let alone for $15 million in savings, and no tax concessions are merited to build this sort of wealth. Meanwhile people who slaved all their lives are begrudged a measly $30,000 or so a year (for a couple), OR being forced to blow all their savings supporting themselves with investment returns of half the aged pension rate.

    Anyone who supports the argument that these leaners have any entitlement to this sort of wealth has no conscience, and if our government doesn't act NOW to curb these excesses, they should be ousted. The message is clear. It's been broadcast far and wide. They've had more than ample opportunity to stop giving billions to the undeserving whose wealth is far beyond any level of justification. They need to ACT NOW, and stop bashing the workers who are carrying this country and subsidizing this obscene greed.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    12:40pm
    And when it comes to this absurd ''personal exertion'' argument some people peddle, I can only reply that if person A is only worth $600 a week for 38 hours of work, then NOBODY who works even 80 hours a week is worth more than $5000 a week. In fact, I doubt anyone is worth $3000 a week. Just because we don't value a toilet cleaner or road worker as highly as we value an idiot like Kate Carnell, doesn't mean they are actually worth less. Most of the overpaid clowns I know wouldn't know how to do PRODUCTIVE work if their life depended on it. They rip people off under systems designed to allow them to! I've dealt with accountants whose wrong calculations cost clients hundreds of thousands, but the accountants still get paid fat fees. Lawyers who get it wrong destroy people's lives, but still get paid handsomely. Doctors bury their mistakes! Lousy builders wipe out the savings of a lifetime and all a couple's dreams, but then go bankrupt with their takings hidden in trusts and shelf companies and overseas bank accounts.
    Don't get me started on insurance salesmen or financial advisers. And half the bureaucrats aren't worth a loaf of bread, let alone a fat salary and superannuation.

    No, the personal exertion argument is just a convenient load of BS peddled by the rich and privileged who want to PRETEND THEY ARE ENTITLED, Frank.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    12:56pm
    So, there is a limit to hard work and the rewards which success generates? I wonder where that limit is? Just where should we place that glass ceiling? and to whom should it apply?
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    1:09pm
    OK Rainey, he sits on a few bank boards. I would think his input would be of value based on his experience?
    How does that compare to Union Reps who sit on Superannuation Boards getting paid the same amount?
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    1:52pm
    Frank, I don't think people are denying being rich. It is what a lot of the rich do to become even richer not from their own efforts but by employing accountants and lawyers to gas the system. That not lifting that not even effort. So go home.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    1:52pm
    Frank, I don't think people are denying being rich. It is what a lot of the rich do to become even richer not from their own efforts but by employing accountants and lawyers to gas the system. That not lifting that not even effort. So go home.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    2:25pm
    Perhaps you would argue that the inept CEOs who take millions in salaries for destroying company value and profits, and then demand millions to leave, are also entitled to a luxury lifestyle claiming their ''personal exertion'' creates that entitlement, Frank?

    The bottom line is that very few of the highly paid EARN their money. They may start out earning, but once their income climbs, as Wstaton rightly states, they employ fancy accountants and lawyers and they bluff, lie, cheat and defraud - often costing others their life savings with incompetence or dishonesty.

    Anyone who EARNED a substantial salary would be PROUD to pay their fare share of taxes, understanding how hard it is to earn a comfortable living and the social benefits of equity.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    2:46pm
    And then there's the politicians, bureaucrats and advisers whose incompetence and mistakes cost a large portion of the population their retirement savings, and whose dishonesty imposed huge loss on taxpayers. Should THEY get tax concessions on their millions too? Or should they maybe have to compensate everyone who was damaged by their incompetence?

    I think most aged pensioners would be self-funding if they could claim adequate compensation for all the hurts and loss they have suffered at the hands of inept or negligent politicians, bureaucrats, financial advisers, lawyers, accountants, company CEOs, etc. etc. etc. etc.

    I can think of several instances where a very well-paid bureaucrat's major stuff up cost a now-pensioner tens of thousands - hundreds of thousands in some of those cases: Council engineer who stuffed up a subdivision plan then lied to cover his error cost victim $180,000. Senior army clerk cost victim over $200,000 by stuffing up daughter's medical benefits cover. Now-pensioner suffered incapacity with NO benefits for 30 years because Army doctor failed to record an accident and failed to treat the injuries. Lying Austrade officer cost small investors millions and company directors hundreds of thousands by wiping out a company with his ''mistake''. Now-pensioner was robbed of two year's wages by the State Government (way back in the 60s). Never recovered the loss.
    Should I continue?

    Oh, no, that's right. You support taking houses off pensioners to compensate the government for the pension they had to draw because all these inept overpaid arseholes couldn't do their job!
    student
    20th Feb 2016
    10:07am
    the 'well-to-do', the rich, the elite, whatever you want to call them, they make the laws and are not going to give away their perks.

    I love the way the Government of the day always looks to solve a cash short coming by punishing the most vunerable in society. Those that need the most help shed the most tears and get little if any extra help.

    I'm becoming more cynical in my old age.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    10:35am
    Wrong student.
    Laws are made by Judges, lawyers, politicians and sometimes us.

    As soon as this LNP government was voted in they put an extra tax on high income earners. A budget repair tax was levied on majority LNP voters. Abbott was too good a PM. We will recognise that in years to come.
    Phil1943
    18th Feb 2016
    11:46am
    Obviously the system's not only skewed towards benefiting the better-off at present, but it's also punishing the less well-off by cutting back on pension entitlements and other 'benefits' for seniors.
    That's why the forthcoming tax review is so important. There's enough in the kitty for everybody; the problem's with how the goodies are distributed. If the LNP has the guts it will leave pensioners alone and go after the wealthy with adjustments to the taxation rules.
    Unfortunately, so far all I've heard from the Treasurer sounds like cuts to expenditures (read: pensions) will be the cornerstone of their new fiscal strategy. How can the Libs do anything else when they'd find it all too hard to placate their most important - and wealthy supporters if they reduce their tax benefits?
    Happy cyclist
    18th Feb 2016
    12:03pm
    Phil, its really nice to read someone's opinion stated without sweeping statements denigrating those you don't agree with or don't like. On this site often valid points are lost because people just have to make sweeping, unsubstantiated statements like 'all politicans are corrupt' or whatever which turn me off reading further and I suspect turns off others too.
    Idontforget
    18th Feb 2016
    1:12pm
    Hear, hear Happy Cyclist
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    9:05pm
    Hear hear Happy cyclist.

    18th Feb 2016
    12:25pm
    No surprises here for anyone who has been paying attention. Getup, Labor, and others have been saying for ages that the system is unfairly skewed to the rich and the budget deficit is a result of excessive indulgence of the greedy. But sadly the government's response seems always to be to try to bleed the stones to feed the boated sharks.

    Time for action, Mr Morrison. Time to stop the vile and disgusting attacks on hard working Australian LIFTERS (the REAL ones, I mean), stop destroying the lifestyles of battling retirees and the sick and disabled, and start taxing the people who can afford to pay and who have taken an unfair share of the benefits of prosperity for far too long.

    Nobody with $15 million needs a ''tax concession'', and he should be made to pay back all the tax concessions he received to accrue that amount. Goodness, talking about taking pensioners' houses while handing out to mega-millionaires! Disgusting!
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    12:27pm
    Drewbie I don't know if you realise that high income earners pay substantially more tax than low income earners. Personally I hope that it stays that way. But at the same time I would like to see income taxes reduced for all workers.

    "Australians would hugely benefit were the wealthy to honestly pay income tax at the exact same rate as ordinary, hard working, lower income earners do." - Drewbie.
    Rae
    18th Feb 2016
    12:48pm
    I would like to see the income inequality of the past 40 years sorted out Frank. If you look at the graphs the productivity gains have almost completely gone to the high income earners. The rest of the workers are earning less in real terms than they did in 1975.

    That means all the gains from the computer/communications revolution has gone to a few at the top. The only increase for the wage earner has been the tax rebates given instead of wage rises.
    The government is subsidising employers wage bill through reduced taxes, childcare rebates, home grants etc because most of the increased growth has been sucked up by a few mega wealthy individuals.

    If this income inequality was rebalanced everyone could pay more tax, take home more money and the billionaires would still be billionaires just not trillionaires.
    Eve
    18th Feb 2016
    2:53pm
    What a bizarre thing to say. We've just read about Don Argus and his tax free millions, but Frank, in the most condescending tone possible state that high income earners pay substantially more tax than low income earners. KERRY PACKER HAD IN ONE YEAR, a year he did well in, A DECLARED INCOME OF $38,000. Which bit of that is "substantially more" tax than low income earners?
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    3:25pm
    Rae, I think the questions are......
    Why is Labor opposed to employee share schemes?
    Why do we make life difficult for start ups?

    Ever wondered why the Green Bay Packers home ground of Lambeau Field has sold out every game since 1960, and have at least 115,000 names on the waiting list. The average waiting time is 30 years. It's not a small stadium. 81,000, the third largest in the NFL.
    The 112,000 owners are the local residents. The Packers are a community project.

    There are plenty of examples of the enormous achievements generated by a dedicated group of people with a common purpose.

    We are great but we could be so much better. Knocking down the tall poppies is small thinking.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    3:37pm
    Forgive me Eve, I thought there were more than two rich people in Australia. What could I have been thinking. :)
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:25pm
    Frank, we don't cut down tall poppies in Australia. We let them milk the taxpayer for billions while we cut down the growing poppies who have worked hard for decades to achieve a level of modest comfort, and then have seen it all swept away by investment returns collapsing. We shoot them down, but we keep giving huge benefits to billionaires and massive tax breaks to the filthy rich to get even filthier-rich.

    The rich DO NOT pay more tax than the poor. They artificially reduce their income with every rort in the book so they pay LESS than most Australians. And THAT is the problem here. They don't pay their fair share. They use far more national resources than the poor, but they demand that the lower and middle classes subsidise that use.

    Odd, isn't it, that there has been a very direct correlation worldwide, and very pronounced in Australia, between economic downturn and increasing inequity? The more wealth is focused on a tiny minority at the top, while the bottom 20% fall into poverty and the middle 60% struggle, the more we see the national debt increase and economic problems grow. Maybe it's time the rich stopped their selfishness and agreed to TRY a potential solution. Unlike those who are currently being led to the slaughter, the rich CAN COMFORTABLY AFFORD to contribute more to the national good. Instead of whinging and blaming and screaming for more persecution of battlers, maybe they should contemplate making a contribution to a genuine SOLUTION to our problems?
    Grumpy
    19th Feb 2016
    9:14am
    Frank I don't know whether your comment is misleading as the result of ignorance, or whether it is a deliberately self-serving misleading and deceptive statement.
    Yes the wealthy do pay more tax in absolute $ terms, however the tax they pay is a much smaller proportion of their total income than middle income earners' tax. I have stated these figures frequently in the past but you seem to repeatedly ignore them; in 2013 middle income earners average tax rate was 38% while the high income heavy leaners paid 27% tax (after all their tax deductions).
    However points about Green Bay Packers and employee shareholders is well made. Large companies in Germany are obliged to give unions seats on the board. How might that enhance Australian company performance?
    Adrianus
    19th Feb 2016
    11:24am
    A hundred years ago Grump in order to maximise employee productivity, discretionary effort, while at the same time reducing behaviours such as dumb obedience, employers would use fear of job loss as a motivator. Perhaps some do now? I don't know?

    When we press forward to the present, the productivity goals are still the same but the approach is vastly different.
    These days employers choose to convince us employees that we have ownership in our area of responsibilities. This does not resonate with some of us because we realise that we don't actually have ownership unless we share in the risk. We have no equity otherwise.
    That is to say, if business is good we want to take that home, but if it is not so good we want to have a say in the methods of tackling the challenges.
    The owners of the Packers have skin in the game. It 's what gets them out of bed in the morning!
    You can ponder over the concept in the morning when you have your bacon and eggs.
    Think about how it got onto your plate Grumpy.
    The Chicken was involved but the pig was committed.
    In relation to your German union seats on boards, I don't see a problem if the union person is a worker in the business.
    I often wonder how much better it would be to work at QANTAS with all employees having actual ownership? Instead of the current system of unions and boards using employees for their own political purpose.
    jackie
    18th Feb 2016
    12:31pm
    Governments have created this ever widening gap by providing perks and benefits to the rich only at the expense of the majority. Back in the 70's to be a millionaire was the ultimate. Today the rich are self indulgent, greedy people that can never get and have enough wealth.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:27pm
    You got that right, Jackie. This used to be a great country, but greed has destroyed it.
    Grumpy
    19th Feb 2016
    9:17am
    Let's be precise Jackie; Coalition governments created this environment over nearly 2 (Howard) decades. They knew that once created no government of any colour would quickly roll it back because of hip pocket backlash.

    18th Feb 2016
    12:42pm
    Some $25 billion a year going in massive handouts to bloated fat cats, and this mean government saves a miserable $2.4 billion a year by slugging people who saved for a lifetime to try to be self-sufficient but are now earning half the aged pension because of low investment returns.
    SICK!
    Supernan
    18th Feb 2016
    12:46pm
    Agree with others - this is what we have been all saying for a long time now ! Just get the Gov to understand it & surely they'll listen ! Oh, thats right - they will be wealthy retirees themselves ! So no, they won't listen ! Until large numbers campaign against it !
    Paulodapotter
    18th Feb 2016
    12:50pm
    You don't bite the hand that feeds you Supernan.
    nena
    18th Feb 2016
    12:49pm
    I´m very concerned knowing some incompetent public servants have retired with an astronomic high superannuation. In contrast, I´ve worked very hard but in the wrong jobs, apparently because I retired with only $9000 super but my sense of honesty is fine and I´m happier that some of those parasites.
    Paulodapotter
    18th Feb 2016
    12:51pm
    The world is full of rich idiots as well as poor fools. I guess I'm in there somewhere.
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    3:07pm
    I bet you're not nena.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    6:55pm
    OMG!
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    6:58pm
    Why did you work in the wrong jobs? Choice probably.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:29pm
    Or lack of opportunity, niemakawa. But the arrogant privileged can't seem to get their heads around reality.
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    8:31pm
    Rainey, opportunity abounds in Australia, it is the will of so many that is lacking.
    nena
    18th Feb 2016
    8:31pm
    ...In the wrong job because I was, and still am, silly, niemakawa
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    8:33pm
    Nena, you admit you have been and still are in the wrong job, so that is your own fault, not somebody else's who has made something of themselves.
    nena
    18th Feb 2016
    8:37pm
    Yep, there are lots of opportunities in Australia, any sort of opportunities even stealing…but who is not a thief ignores the opportunity
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    8:43pm
    nena, go down to your local Centrelink "bureau" any day and there you will find many "thieves" stealing from the public purse. The rich are not thieves and deserve what they have achieved. No I am not rich but am glad that we still have some real entrepreneurs who provide so many jobs for us. Be thankful instead of being resentful. If yo have missed the boat you have only yourself to blame.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:50pm
    Niemaka, I've been down to the local Centrelink. I saw a 23-year-old upstart dripping diamonds, flashing fancy university degrees, and lauding it over a client, telling him (a 64 year old cripple) that he could be ''phased back into work over a 3 year period'' if she compelled him to do 3 days a week voluntary work, have counselling, and have physiotherapy at his own expense.

    He was raised abused in an orphanage, forced out to work at 14 with 5 years' schooling, injured in military service (and denied compensation because the army medic didn't treat him or record the accident), and then worked in a job where he had no less than 5 devastating accidents - the last of which ended his ability to work.
    But of course he has only himself to blame for ''missing the boat'', and the upstart lauding it over him is fully entitled to her fat salary, isn't she?

    Your comments are disgusting.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:53pm
    niemaka, if you think there are lots of opportunities in Australia for everyone, you are wearing a blindfold. Yes, there is the opportunity to steal. And that's about the only way many of the disadvantaged could ever hope to rise above their misfortune. But you wouldn't know anything about that. Your arrogance is clearly the result of never having experiences that develop empathy and compassion, much less the ability to see the world as it is.
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    8:55pm
    Rainey, don't be disgusted. You saw one isolated incident, which if true, is abhorrent. Look at the wider picture.
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    8:58pm
    Rainey, empathy and compassion will not help and only exacerbates the problem.
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    9:00pm
    OMG
    Anonymous
    19th Feb 2016
    6:15am
    Yes Mick, OMG! What more can be said to that sick comment?
    Grumpy
    19th Feb 2016
    9:19am
    Nena, money can't buy happiness.............but it sure helps ease the pain!
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    9:14am
    niemakawa, you say "Rainey, don't be disgusted. You saw one isolated incident, which if true, is abhorrent. Look at the wider picture.''

    I've got bad news for you. It's not only true, it's typical. It's not one isolated incident. It's society today. And you confirm it with your statement that ''empathy and compassion will not help and only exacerbates the problem''.

    You obviously live in a privileged world. You haven't seen what life is like for the hundreds of thousands who are born into poverty and real hardship, or who face hideous life challenges. You don't know what it means to be deprived of opportunity, and the guidance and education needed to make good choices in life.

    Good luck to you. I don't live in that world anymore, thank goodness. I got out of it. But I can't forget. And I can't close my eyes to it.

    I repeat: Your comments are disgusting.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    10:09am
    Rainey, you say ......"niemaka, if you think there are lots of opportunities in Australia for everyone, you are wearing a blindfold. Yes, there is the opportunity to steal. And that's about the only way many of the disadvantaged could ever hope to rise above their misfortune. But you wouldn't know anything about that. Your arrogance is clearly the result of never having experiences that develop empathy and compassion, much less the ability to see the world as it is."

    I can see why your kids have lost all hope and aspiration.
    Why not teach them to see opportunity as suggested by niemakawa?
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    1:07pm
    Frank, I taught my kids to see opportunity, and to take advantage of it, which is why they are all university graduates, two successfully self-employed, the other a professional. They have lost hope because of the way this government cuts down workers and savers to avoid taxing the rich.

    My kids were lucky. I gave them opportunity. I was talking about people like my partner and I, who never had it. But again, you privileged tunnel-visioned egotists wouldn't have a clue what life is really like for the severely disadvantaged. You just sit on your high horses and preach and claim to be ''self-made'', when you wouldn't have a clue what that even means. You haven't the faintest idea what it's like to face life challenges that would break even the strongest and most resourceful person. And you clearly don't want to learn.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    2:35pm
    Rainey I'm happy to see your kids have turned their lives around. It has taken all of 4 hours too. That's gotta be some sort of record.
    Good to see!
    They weren't going too well at 9:00am this morning.

    This is what you posted then......

    "My kids have lost hope and aspiration. They can't see any benefit for working for 50 years and paying taxes and living honestly. They are asking ''If you can't retire while still healthy enough to enjoy retirement, and you are cursed in retirement and called a ''leaner'', and you are either a ''welfare recipient'' looked down on and condemned to financial hardship, or a ''millionaire whose not entitled'' and forced to drain all your hard won savings just surviving day to day, what's the point?" - Rainey.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    2:58pm
    I didn't say they had recovered their hope and aspiration, Frank, or that they had changed their view on there being no benefit for working hard and paying taxes for 40 years and living honestly. I said they were lucky to have opportunity and they took advantage of it. But they are now wondering what is the point of all the effort we and they exerted when it's all taken away from anyone who doesn't make very rich status.

    Nobody said they weren't going well, Frank. They are. But they don't see that there's any reasonable reward for all the hard work and sacrifice. Certainly we didn't benefit fairly from 50+ years of slogging our guts out to climb out of hideous disadvantage and give our kids good opportunities. Now we are being told we have no right to expect to leave our kids a small legacy, nor to enjoy a good income in retirement, nor even to self-respect. We didn't make it to ''self-sufficient'' (would have if investment returns had held up - we'd be well off!) so now we are ''welfare recipients'' who are branded ''leaners'', told we should have to mortgage our home to live in retirement, told we have no right to travel overseas, and even told by some that we should have to live on food stamps!

    And our kids are being told they can't retire until 70 - and by the time they get there it might be later. They are likely to have to work until they drop. But we CAN afford to give massive tax concessions to the filthy rich. No problem there!
    mogo51
    18th Feb 2016
    12:51pm
    It is well know that the current system favours the rich. The case study of the BHP executive is an eye opener. He draws down $990k a year (theoretically) and pays no tax - are you kidding me? If he was to pay a reduced rate of 30% tax, ie. $270k leaving him only $630k a year to live on - Poor Chappie no wonder he is concerned.
    But we know why they don't want to do this, most of the pollies are all on the rort.
    Drewbie
    18th Feb 2016
    12:51pm
    our current and any future Federal Government should legislate into Unrepealable Law is a flat income tax (i.e. 20% regardless of income level. Same would apply for combined incomes, "couples" regardless. Allowable annual income tax returns pegged at a max level of 5% of above income streams.

    Example: Joe Bloggs earns $50,000 a year, paying 20% i.t. Net annual income @ $40,000 + 5% tax return on above gross income = $42,500 a yr. High flyer Tony Drango earns $500,000 a year, paying 20% i.t. Net income @ $400,000 + 5% tax return = $425,000 a year.

    I do hope my math is correct and my point is that if the above calculations are right, Joe and Tony over the course of a financial year, keep 85% of their respective Gross Incomes and because in relative terms, neither of them is disadvantaged i.t. % wise, there would be no real incentive to "PAY" someone to further reduce their applicable tax component. Purely because they are keeping sufficient to live, save, invest, etc. Excluding State and Local Government duties and rates of course.

    The same principle could apply to Corporate earnings also. Then Governments would have a far more stable revenue stream than is currently applicable to provide the services we now currently expect & enjoy.
    Paulodapotter
    18th Feb 2016
    12:58pm
    Businesses can offset costs against income. Individual employed taxpayers can't, except for very minor expenses. A business can spend all its profits on business improvements and therefore pay no tax and that's exactly what corporations do. The only tax paid is drawn from their employees wages. This is why it's suggested that the Buffett rule should apply. Would you like to know what the Buffett Rule is? Put this in your URL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffett_Rule
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    9:07pm
    OMG.
    Grumpy
    19th Feb 2016
    9:24am
    Drewbie, wrong, wrong, wrong.
    Jo Bjelke Petersen floated this in, I think, the 80's. GST is a flat tax. Consensus, after analysis identifies that such taxes impact the poorest hardest. Progressive taxes are the only way to go so that each pays according to his ability to pay.
    For the politically correct his should read his/her/its.
    Anonymous
    19th Feb 2016
    5:03pm
    Grumpy, you are right about flat taxes, but the GST isn't quite the same as a flat income tax, because the GST applies to 100% of the poor man's income and only a tiny percentage of the rich man's income. Flat income tax, conversely, applies to 100% of income regardless of wealth. It's still harder on the poor. That's a given. But it might actually be better than the current ''progressive'' tax system that allows so many rorts that the rich end up, often, paying next to nothing. If married with a guaranteed basic income for everyone, it might just be a good solution.
    Grateful
    18th Feb 2016
    12:52pm
    The Coalition was in opposition for 7 years, have been in government for 2 and 1/2 years, nearly 10 years altogether and just 3 months away from their THIRD budget, they are still "having a conversation"!!!!
    All members of parliament should know all those figures stated in the ABC story, yet, the Coalition, whose voters are the major beneficiaries, refuse to tackle that gross inequity but concentrate on "dole bludgers" and the aged and ill of the community??????
    The Coalition simply have NO financial agenda (or nous) or guts.
    Grumpy
    19th Feb 2016
    9:27am
    Grateful, you ingrate. You clearly do not recognise how lucky we are to have the economy managed by the born economic managers who were born to rule!
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    12:57pm
    Don Argus is not the problem he is the solution.
    OK fair enough Argus had a good start going to Anglican Church Grammar. I don't think you can hold that against him. Can you?
    At the age of 18 he joined the NAB and worked his way up the ladder to the top job. He was a tremendous success at NAB and later joined BHP. Under the guidance of Argus both the NAB and BHP substantially increased their market capitalisation. Both are huge corporate taxpayers because of him.
    What is he worth?
    We can only hope that somewhere in Australia there are 18 year olds with similar aspirations. Perhaps somewhere a youngster, who is not on ice, is saying if Don Argus can do it then so can I!!!
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    2:02pm
    And of course everyone else working for these companies did nothing.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    2:59pm
    Nothing wrong with that Frank and as Joe Hockey said get yourself a good job and some people do.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    3:32pm
    Well, I dunno robbo. I'm starting to think the name of the game is get a job, buy a house, stash away a few bucks and go on welfare.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    4:42pm
    Life would be a lot simpler there Frank you would have no worries but I have always been a bit of a risk taker and as they say you win some you lose some. (que sera que sera)
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    5:14pm
    I was referring to the general culture of posters. :)
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:45pm
    Well, Frank, if the culture of some posters is to get a job, buy a house, stash away a few bucks, and go on welfare, maybe it's clear to some us why.

    The ''good life'' Australians used to enjoy as a reward for working hard - guaranteed age pension (NOT welfare, but an entitlement), good health care, a great welfare system that looked after them in sickness and disability and through other tough times - all that's gone. Decent returns on savings are gone. We are being told we must give up all our comforts in retirement, hand our houses to the government, and leave our kids NOTHING, as punishment for working our guts out for decades but not making millions.

    And some here wonder why people don't want to work anymore!

    Why should they? What's to work for when it's ALWAYS the battling lifters who are attacked and forced to work without reward - NEVER the rich leaners!

    I worked hard for 45 years. I wouldn't do it again. Having seen how this government and society treats people who work hard but don't, for whatever reason, get obscenely rich, I can't imagine why ANYONE would bother to work and pay tax unless they are silver spooners or super brilliant and able to reach billionaire status.
    Anonymous
    19th Feb 2016
    6:40am
    Don Argus is the solution, Frank? So everyone in Australia should do as he did and then all would be well, yes? We can't have people who clean toilets and build roads wanting to be treated as human beings and wanting ''welfare'' in retirement.

    Best we discourage anyone from doing low paid work then. Let's abolish cleaners, road workers, electricity workers, building tradesmen, nurses, teachers... can't have any of those bludgers expecting an aged pension on retirement!

    We need 24 million Don Argus's. And then all would be well. No welfare costs! Wouldn't that be great?
    Adrianus
    19th Feb 2016
    7:34am
    Rainey, in the future the crimes will be committed by the youth of today having no hope or aspiration.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    9:05am
    Yes, Frank. That's exactly what we are encouraging. You don't build hope and aspiration by allowing millionaires to claim tax concessions that drive them to billionaire status. That level of success is way out of reach for the majority. You build hope and aspiration by letting the little people build a modest level of wealth and enjoy the rewards of their labour - and by guaranteeing support for the disadvantaged or those facing temporary hardship. And THAT'S what this government is NOT DOING. It's totally destroying hope and aspiration by destroying the rewards of hard work for the majority in order to line the pockets of mega-millionaires. "

    My kids have lost hope and aspiration. They can't see any benefit for working for 50 years and paying taxes and living honestly. They are asking ''If you can't retire while still healthy enough to enjoy retirement, and you are cursed in retirement and called a ''leaner'', and you are either a ''welfare recipient'' looked down on and condemned to financial hardship, or a ''millionaire whose not entitled'' and forced to drain all your hard won savings just surviving day to day, what's the point?

    The mega-millionaires are doing just fine, and will continue to even if we tax them at marginal rates without a single concession or minimizing strategy ever allowed.

    It's the average workers who are being crucified, and that's what's destroying hope and aspiration. And yes, it WILL quite likely drive more crime, and more welfare bludging and fraud. And you don't stop it with this current approach of reducing welfare and threatening and bullying. All that does is increase the size and anger of the underclass. You stop it by taxing the rich fairly and allowing the middle class to thrive. And THAT'S what most of those here you are insulting by labelling ''lefties'' and ''envious'' and ''hateful'' are asking for.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    9:55am
    Rainey I'm sorry to learn that your kids have lost hope and aspiration. I really am.:( They cannot be truly happy without it.
    I don't think the world is as bad as it seems for them. Give them some hope Rainey, don't rely on the government to provide that hope for them.
    I could be wrong, but I don't think increased welfare dependency provides hope and aspiration?
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    3:06pm
    Frank, it's THIS GOVERNMENT that's destroying hope. You can't have it when someone is constantly shouting at you that we can't afford welfare or public health and education. You twist everything and totally misrepresent to try to prove a completely invalid point. I never said increased welfare dependency provides hope and aspiration. I said maintaining reward and incentive maintains hope and aspiration, but that needs to be coupled with the security of knowing that if you fall on hard times through no fault of your own, the system will support you. I have NEVER suggested increased welfare dependency, but that's what we'll have if we keep on the current path. You cannot take away reward and incentive for the working class and middle class and kill off the social structure that supports the disadvantaged, while lining the coffers of the rich, and expect the society to thrive. It's NOT thriving. And as equity has reduced and incentive and reward have reduced, the malaise has worsened.
    The more wealthy is focused in the hands of a small portion of the population, while the majority own less and less, the worse the global economy gets. Should tell us all something, if we aren't too self-absorbed to listen.
    Paulodapotter
    18th Feb 2016
    1:00pm
    Businesses can offset costs against income. Individual employed taxpayers can't, except for very minor expenses. A business can spend all its profits on business improvements and therefore pay no tax and that's exactly what corporations do. The only tax paid is drawn from their employees wages. This is why it's suggested that the Buffett rule should apply. Would you like to know what the Buffett Rule is? Put this in your URL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffett_Rule
    Snowwhite
    18th Feb 2016
    1:00pm
    Of course super tax concessions are skewed towards the super rich and should be reined back. But unfortunately the LNP will never do that as that is most of their supporter base. Morrison's only idea is to attack pensioners and claim they are the main cause of our deficit! Their next best idea was to raise the GST which again would affect low income earners and pensioners the most. This Govt has no idea how to be fair so I know who I will be voting for next election.
    Paulodapotter
    18th Feb 2016
    1:35pm
    As you say, you don't bite the hand that feeds you.
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    2:58pm
    Vote independent.
    marls
    18th Feb 2016
    5:23pm
    vote independent, aust liberty alliance, fortitude, pauline hanson, rise up aust party etc
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    8:56pm
    OMG Paula.
    fordyoot
    18th Feb 2016
    1:13pm
    "Personal Exertion Income" this is pure gibberish. People making up stupid phrases to avoid words like "Work". Another seldom used word is "greed". The country is run by greedy little men obsessed by money.
    Mahatma Gandhi was right when he said " you can satisfy a mans need but you can never satisfy his greed".
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    3:00pm
    So many Australian are so envious of anybody who works hard and make a go of it. They are told they are lucky, well the harder you work the luckier you get as a general rule.
    ex PS
    18th Feb 2016
    4:38pm
    mick, I agree that in most cases the harder you work the luckier you get. But I know a lot of people who have worked hard all their lives and are still stuggling, I also know a few who haven't worked at a decent job all their lives and are doing well, because Daddy and Momy look after them.
    It's a pity people aren't rewarded for their contributions to the community rather than level of education or social standing.
    I will always give credit to those who work hard to get ahead, but I find it hard to respect those who inherit a fortune and look down at honest hard working Australians and don't want to pay their share of tax.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    4:59pm
    That would be hard ex PC. It is estimated that all the volunteering and community work that is done freely would cost over $100 billion a year if it had to be paid for. Who's going to fork out that if it had to be paid for
    Grumpy
    19th Feb 2016
    9:36am
    But if you want to be really lucky be born into a wealthy family so that you have the advantages of the best education (whether you deserve it academically or not), meeting the "right sort of people" whose influence will help your career, and you can manage the family business and have employment whether or not you are a fit or competent person.
    Definitely the harder you work the luckier you get???
    The key social issue in all of this is not equality or social justice, but equal access to opportunity. We are not all equal, however if we have equal access to opportunity events will sortout who deserves the greater rewards (in a fair system).
    Adrianus
    19th Feb 2016
    1:46pm
    Grumpy I agree with your last two sentences.
    We should not be trying to measure fairness on outcomes.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    9:19am
    And we can't have equal opportunity if we cut welfare and public services to give obscene tax concessions to the wealthy. Equal opportunity is only possible if we have a strong social support system, strong incentives and rewards for hard work, and fair contributions by the wealthy to the cost of maintaining that healthy society. That's what this debate is about. THE RICH NEED TO PAY THEIR FARE SHARE so we CAN have equality of opportunity.
    Mygasheater
    18th Feb 2016
    1:25pm
    I am sick to death of dimwitted opinion pieces by those who have no understanding of the burden of responsibility that I and my super rich colleagues have to bear.

    We have to carry this country. We start businesses, manage businesses, that employ hundreds of thousands of people. I make decisions on a daily basis that can effect the future of this country. I am paid to my, to some, ridiculously, high salary, on this basis alone. But I am worth it.

    I employ an army of accountants and lawyers to ensure that I pay little or no tax on my portfolio of investments. I have my multimillion mansion on the harbour to maintain and a nice little holiday shack in Monarco. My fleet of luxury cars require regular maintence by my driver. My wife, hem, ha, is a tad "high maintenance" but she deserves it. After all she is the mother of our 1.7 loverly children. I had to send them to the best schools, in Europe, of course.

    I worked hard all my life, sitting in boardrooms, going to long lunches, constant networking on golf courses around the world, all that foreign travel, staying in 8 star hotels.

    How dare you, how dare you, now at the end of my working life, how dare you, challenge me, moi, me? After all I've done for you and this country. You ungrateful bastards.

    I am ENTITLED.
    Paulodapotter
    18th Feb 2016
    1:37pm
    Love it!
    Happy cyclist
    18th Feb 2016
    2:48pm
    You forgot to mention that anyone who doesn't agree that you deserve all the government handouts you get is a Communist!
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    8:55pm
    OMG,Paula.
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    9:05pm
    Oh how the resentment and envy shines through>
    Grumpy
    19th Feb 2016
    9:41am
    Mygasheater, you clearly did not pay enough for your education; its Monacco not Monarco and lovely not loverly.
    However I have to concede don't seem to have done too badly given you only had a couple of $Bill head start with the family fortune.
    Paulodapotter
    19th Feb 2016
    1:01pm
    Did none of you see the tongue in cheek?
    niemakawa
    19th Feb 2016
    4:56pm
    Grumpy calling the kettle black! It is MONACO. Be careful before criticising others.
    Wstaton
    19th Feb 2016
    5:10pm
    Sometimes when hitting a key it repeats much the same as multiple comments of the same happens
    old-age worker
    18th Feb 2016
    1:58pm
    Wow! Talk about "Light the Blue touch paper and stand back!"
    What a sensitive issue.
    Yep, it is.
    I will say this, I have absolutely NO issue with how much a person has saved for their retirement, as long as it's saved/accumulated fairly.
    Currently it's not.
    Take very low income earners. They pay virtually no tax on their meagre earnings (and most low-income earners work a helluva lot harder than most high income earners), but if they want to be diligent and put some away for superannuation, they are taxed HIGHER than id they just put that money in the bank! How fair is that?
    High income earners can park their "spare" cash in a super fund and pay very little tax (in $$ terms), and so reduce their taxable income down to pay almost no tax.
    Now when the Treasurer come up with the budget in May, you'd better keep your eye very closely on that pea. There's no telling which shell it's going to end up under. (Well, there is - just look under the wealthiest).
    nena
    18th Feb 2016
    2:10pm
    Paulodapotter, I´m know where I am...in the last category you sited...
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    3:02pm
    Me too.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    6:56pm
    OMG!
    Not Senile Yet!
    18th Feb 2016
    2:43pm
    The obscenity is not that it exists...it is the denial of it by the Very Party Puppets who obviously are on the same ay bandwagon!!!!
    But what bugs me more is that none of them would get a cent of tax subsidies if we ALL just stopped voting for the Party Puppets that allow such a system because they also are feeding at the pigs trough of tax evasion and subsidies!!!
    So really they will never change it now will they????
    So my question is this....Why are YOU ALL still voting for Party Puppets????
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    3:03pm
    Vote independent.
    marls
    18th Feb 2016
    5:27pm
    mick
    totally agree, we must vote for independent so they can try and rescue this country from the major parties destruction
    FM
    18th Feb 2016
    3:08pm
    Now everyone who is retired is a Don Argus just as everyone who working is a James Packer. More senior bashing and wedge politics of the most offensive kind, based on wild conjecture, and unfounded assertions.
    This is fostered by both sides of politics through media commentators. It greatly exaggerates the incomes of retirees and the tax benefits they receive on the money they draw down that has been paid in after tax. It is part of a very aggressive campaign to justify taxing retirees so that high income earners, themselves, can get tax cuts. While commentators frequently portray an income of $150,000 as an average income, seniors with an income of $45,000 are described as super wealthy as are people with lump sums of $300,000, the annual income of some MPs and the commentators making the attacks. How much money does John 'leaking tax' Daley make for his continued contribution to this elder bashing. Perhaps he could release annual income information for himself and his 'Institute'. What tax is he and his Institute paying? He has the potential to build massive assets bashing the old and the sick for years to come. It is thoroughly Fascist to constantly single out a group of people insinuating they have great wealth to be got at so that they may be victimized; in this case have taxes imposed on them so that extremely high earning clients can have tax cuts.
    The superannuation system benefits all Australians as retirees with very average superannuation pay for all their own aged care and do not receive any Government support.
    The law protects people of particular race and religion against attacks like this but as yet it appears to offer no legal protection to old people. We need to challenge them immediately when they arise.
    f you can get it. It is thoroughly Fascist to constantly single out a group of people to insinuate they have great wealth to be got at so that they may be victimized in this case have taxes imposed on them so that he and his extremely high earning clients c have tax cuts. I have not doubt his income is greater than that of any of the retirees he is pillorying.
    The law protects people of particular race and religion against attacks like this but as yet it appears to offer no legal protection to old people. I am hoping that you as the Age Discrimination Commissioner can challenge the attacks and propaganda of journalists, lobbyists and the media when they arise and get them to reflect on the enormity of the impact these attacks are having on their elderly victims. It would be good is some legislation existed to protect against ageism as it does against racism and sexism.
    The system benefits all Australians as those with very average superannuation that are here being called the super rich pay for all their own aged care and do not receive any Government support.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    3:57pm
    FM, that is a very good point. It is precisely the point I was trying to make above, but you have stated it so much better.
    Thank you!
    FM
    18th Feb 2016
    3:17pm
    This is just propaganda and wedge politics to soften people up for increasing the tax burden on retirees so that high income earners may have their tax cuts. The taxes will affect tall retirees and hit those on the lowest incomes the hardest just like the cuts voted through last year. Debunk this nonsense quickly.
    FM
    18th Feb 2016
    3:24pm
    This is just propaganda and wedge politics to soften people up for increasing the tax burden on retirees so that high income earners may have their tax cuts. The taxes will affect all retirees and hit those on the lowest incomes the hardest just like the cuts voted through last year. Debunk this nonsense quickly.
    I meant ‘all’ retirees not just the tall ones, sorry for the typo.
    Anonymous
    19th Feb 2016
    5:09pm
    Sadly, you are probably right, FM, because this government seems determined to ensure the battlers of this nation pay to keep it afloat and the rich just keep getting richer.
    Wstaton
    19th Feb 2016
    5:16pm
    It is sad because the vast riches these people obtain is basically because of the the effort the workers give in producing. If they did not produce then they would be nothing.
    Grey Badger
    18th Feb 2016
    3:51pm
    I'm not sure if this is relevant to the subject but one advantage the rich have over me is being able to pay an specialist accountant to needle every possible tax avoidance and investment option available!
    We have a joint income of $70000 and pay about $18000 in tax. Tax wise i'm not the sharpest knife in the draw but if I could afford a decent accountant I'd pay a lot less tax and perhaps have any Super-an invested where it does the most for me.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    4:06pm
    Grey, do accountants cost that much? I would have thought around $4,000 pa. at the most. Good luck honing that edge :)

    18th Feb 2016
    3:56pm
    Well, this is bashing the rich at its best, talk about politics of envy. Firstly I am not one of those rich people, I wait for my pension each fortnight like a lot of others do. I don't begrudge people who have done well and made a pile of money either through the sweat of their brow or the use of their brain. It's people like these who are generally the ones who provide work for others. Politicians of all sides crow about the jobs "they" have created when the only jobs they usually create are within the Public Service which is a drain on taxpayers. They try and tell us that the tax income has increased because of this but forget to mention that the wages firstly come out of the public purse prior to tax being paid.

    I find it interesting that an individual case is analysed and, most certainly, the case is at the extreme of the discussion. Let the balance be shown by telling us the percentage of funds avoiding tax, not the amount because this would place the discussion into the right context. For example, no mention has been made of the actual tax paid, which I would assume is substantial, just the amount avoided (not evaded). The article is slanted to make it appear that no tax was paid at all. I remember Swan trying to denigrate Twiggy Forrest by claiming his company paid no tax when amounts in the $millions had been paid in royalties, payroll tax and other lesser taxes which are all tax deductible items.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    4:52pm
    I like brainwashing.

    First this person was just an example and by all accounts is the tip of the iceberg.
    Second he is getting $900,000PA and pays no tax on it.
    Third people like Packer are saying that they pay very little tax and proffer a taxable income income of $38,000 and this is a billionaire.

    This is not the politics of envy it is politics of fairness.

    Personally I do not care how rich anyone is as long as it is obtained fairly.

    Lastly we continually hear, from the conglomerates as well, that they provide jobs as an excuse not to pay their tax share.

    Maybe the workers should say I produce products that are sold to provide profits so why should I pay tax.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:59pm
    Well said Wstaton. Nice to see someone talking sense.
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    9:11pm
    Elementary my dear Wstaton.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    9:26am
    Oldman, this argument that the rich create the jobs makes me sick. They couldn't get rich without all the effort of the people who fill the jobs. It's not about bashing the rich. It's about asking them to pay their fare share so that we don't destroy society by cutting welfare and services and we don't bash the working and middle class and deny them fair benefit for their effort.

    It's a fact that the rich minimize taxes and most pay far too little. We need to ensure they pay their fair share. That's all this is about. No envy. No hate. Just a sensible demand that tax reform recognize the needs of the nation and the necessity for a reasonable standard of equity so that we can have a healthy society.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    10:21am
    Rainey it may make you sick, I cant argue with that. What I do know is that we would be waiting a long time if we were to rely on the poor to risk venture capital.
    It may be a fact that the rich minimise taxes but it is also a fact that the poor minimise taxes.
    Your arguments are shallow because they are based on hatred for a group in the community. That sounds like bigotry, marginalisation, inequality, plutophobia, unfairness and un Australian.
    I forgot to mention disgusting.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    1:26pm
    Frank, if opportunity were equally distributed, you would find a lot of today's poor would be entrepreneurs and inventors. And my arguments are not based on hatred at all. They are based on an appreciation of the real world, and the fact that equity has been repeatedly proven to foster healthy societies and healthy economies, while increased poverty drives economic downturn, increased crime, increased poor health, and a cycle of depression.

    It's you who is unfair and un Australian. The Australian way has always been to use progressive taxation and a strong welfare system to ensure reasonable equity in the community, to care well for the disadvantaged and to ask the rich to pay their way. We've lost that, to our huge detriment. Now, we hero-worship people who horde obscene amounts of wealth and we indulge them with tax concessions to help them horde more.

    What I want to see is a return to the notion that everyone should pay their way in society, we should bring the battlers up, support the genuinely disadvantaged, reward hard work and enterprise, and limit the obscene hording of wealth so that opportunity isn't too concentrated on an elite group, but is more evenly distributed.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    1:30pm
    The ''bigotry and marginalization'' is by those who insist that the rich should have it all ''because they create the jobs''. Guess what? They need people to work for them. They need people to buy their goods. They need someone (because THEY WON'T) to pay for the resources they need to run their businesses - you know, the roads, communication networks, electricity networks, shipping ports, etc.

    Nobody is asking that the rich be cut down. It's not hatred of the rich that's motivating this discussion. If only they weren't so pathetically greedy, selfish, and arrogant they would see that what is being asked for is moderation and fairness. Tax the rich a little more and maintain the social structure that served us well through the 50s and 60s and 70s, and ensure the working and middle class have adequate incentive and reward to keep building this nation. Ultimately, the rich will be better off as a result.
    carmencita
    18th Feb 2016
    5:36pm
    There is no surprise here. Super fund needs review. It is only good if you are a full time employee and works in same company for a length of time then, you can see the money grow. If you are a casual employee for short term the fund is eroded by administrative charges (profits for super fund companies).
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    5:48pm
    carmencita, go to your bank and get yourself a Retirement Savings Account. "RSA" These accounts were introduced during the Keating government and are suitable for people like you. Not much interest but the lowest fees of any super account.
    Don't take my word, check it out for yourself.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    5:54pm
    And keep away from the funny bank financial advisors carmencita
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    9:16pm
    Never never use a bank "financial adviser" they are policy peddlers for the bank profits not for your benefit.

    Always use an independent financial adviser, they can research the whole market for you and will look upon you as a long term client and will hope to get you to refer them to your friends.
    Bank "advisers" are bad news.
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    6:47pm
    Typical ABC comments. You get what you deserve out of life. Everyone including those receiving Government handouts need to save at least 5 % of their annual income. This should be compulsory and the superannuation paid direct from their benefit into a fund as every worker is obliged to do so. Bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator instead of encouraging the masses to do things for themselves is pure "socialism". That is how all Political Parties operate these days. Do nothing and the so-called "rich" will pay for your lifestyle, no work required!! Well many educated, professional and motivated people are already heading to Countries that reward endeavour rather than penalise them. Australians get of your back sides and earn your kepp.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    7:16pm
    Well I guess that's the point are the richs paying for the lessors lifestyle or are the lessors paying for the rich's lifestyle.

    I personally see concessions that benefit the rich is a subsidization of the riches lifestyle. Don't care that they are rich but I do care if everyone else is subsidizing them. We see everyone barracking the pensioners whose in the main worked hard but sure they don't earn enough to thwart the system but they paid their bash as far as taxes were concerned throughout their working life. They tried but they didn't try to screw the system like some of the rich do and even boasted about it.

    So they made a lot of money then they should pay a percentage as proposed by a previous member.
    Bring in the buffet rule I say.
    Wstaton
    18th Feb 2016
    7:16pm
    Well I guess that's the point are the richs paying for the lessors lifestyle or are the lessors paying for the rich's lifestyle.

    I personally see concessions that benefit the rich is a subsidization of the riches lifestyle. Don't care that they are rich but I do care if everyone else is subsidizing them. We see everyone barracking the pensioners whose in the main worked hard but sure they don't earn enough to thwart the system but they paid their bash as far as taxes were concerned throughout their working life. They tried but they didn't try to screw the system like some of the rich do and even boasted about it.

    So they made a lot of money then they should pay a percentage as proposed by a previous member.
    Bring in the buffet rule I say.
    Anonymous
    18th Feb 2016
    8:16pm
    I'd STILL like to know why that guy (above) got married off course.
    Adrianus
    19th Feb 2016
    11:50am
    I'm now curious about the lease arrangement? And this relationship between the lessor and the lessee? What gives there?
    Mike Butler
    18th Feb 2016
    9:00pm
    In sometimes think this website must be owned by the "workers collective" that is the ABC staff!
    How about that high income couple who made the maximum contributions to their super for 43 years!??? Who were they exactly? Must have been the sons and daughters of multi millionaires to begin with, I would suppose. Unless they inherit their money, most high income people I know started out small and earned their dough the hard way. They were certainly NOT contributing the maximum amount to super in their Twenties and Thirties, that is for sure. They were too busy building their businesses, or spending every available dollar on their young children --- or travelling overseas to earn an MBA from Harvard or somewhere similar to enhance their promotion prospects!
    I am now 70 years of age. I own a successful business that I might sell in the near future. Because I have spent my life building my business and supporting my children, I do not have millions in super. My successful business was always to be my super. If politicians now want to fiddle with my super, I will not be pleased.
    So many of the whingers on this site have "wealth envy"! OK, if you were unlucky enough to be born with an IQ of 75; or you were born with a congenital condition that would impair both your physical and cognitive abilities --- you deserve all the assistance that a compassionate society can offer.
    But if you simply left school at 15 because you couldn't be bothered to attend; if you have been on the dole for half your life; if you got your tattooed girlfriend "up the duff" when you were 18 because you couldn't be bothered with a condom --- don't expect people who have worked hard all their lives to support you!
    Hah! You say! What about the downtrodden bus drivers, nurses, teachers and policemen? Why do they SUFFER under the awful yoke that constitutes the "super for only the rich" brigade?
    The only people from those cohorts who are on the "bones of their backsides" are those who never learned to manage their money!
    Many of my relatives are teachers and nurses. They are smart savvy people, and some of them are a damn side more wealthy than me --- an old unreconstructed capitalist!
    Please! Save us all from this left wing diatribe!
    niemakawa
    18th Feb 2016
    9:02pm
    Can't fault what you have stated. Thanks.
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    9:26pm
    Mike Butler. Fantastic, just about the best post that I've ever seen on here. so many truths. Australia is full of tattooed bogans, male and female who will not work because we are stupid enough to keep them. They all have the latest 'phones etc and walk around in ripped jeans that they've paid a fortune for.
    All my "rich" friends did it the hard way, studying, part time jobs etc.
    roy
    18th Feb 2016
    9:40pm
    Mike Butler for Prime Minister.
    Adrianus
    18th Feb 2016
    10:46pm
    Good onya Mike!
    Anonymous
    19th Feb 2016
    6:58am
    I agree absolutely, Mike. What you say makes very good sense. But there's a problem. Our society isn't able to - or isn't willing to - discriminate between the genuinely disadvantaged and the bludger or those who never learned to manage money. In fact, it indulges the latter and attacks the former, while obscenely over-indulging those who end up wealthy.

    Nobody is saying the rich don't deserve a luxurious lifestyle. Nobody is suggesting bashing them down or attacking them. Nobody is begrudging you the benefit of your lifetime of hard work. What we are saying is that you end up with $15 million and a retirement income of $900,000, you CAN AFFORD TO PAY A FAIR RATE OF TAX. You DO NOT NEED TAX CONCESSIONS.

    The country clearly cannot afford to over-indulge the rich AND look after the needy. Now, maybe that's because too many are lazy or don't manage money well. I quite accept that might be the problem. So build in some better incentives for lazy people to work harder and poor money managers to learn to manage better.

    What we are currently doing is attacking two groups - the genuinely needy (disabled and those who can't find work in a society where there are hundreds of thousands more wanting work than jobs available) and those who worked hard and struggled to save.

    We are happily handing millions to people who have a thousand times more than they could ever spend and whose only loss if their wealth was halved would be loss of the psychological benefit of seeing a bigger number on their ''net wealth'' summary than their neighbour or arch enemy. But we are crucifying the people who built the nation and want to lead the next generation into an age of prosperity supported by the same good work and saving habits that we once encouraged and rewarded.

    STOP punishing the hard workers who managed their money well - you know, the nurses and teachers, and policemen and road workers and cleaners who saved enough to be self-funded if investment returns hadn't collapsed, and who now want to keep the homes they struggled to pay off, and enjoy a comfortable retirement; who believe they ARE ENTITLED to a little benefit from the taxpayer in old age, given the obscene benefits to mega-millionaires drawing tax free pensions of $900,000 a year.

    STOP punishing the sick and disabled and carers and blaming them and aged pensioners for the country's difficulties and start introducing programs that genuinely address the real problems. Work for the dole or compulsory military service for young unemployed. Great idea! Compulsory rehab for drug addicts. Subsidized short-course trade training and quick-complete education courses for smart, well-skilled, experienced older folk who were educationally disadvantaged and don't have the fancy papers or letters after their name needed to find satisfactory employment. More help for entrepreneurs to start businesses and keep them going. More help for inventors. Better health insurance programs and better public health.

    If we stop the obscene tax concessions to the super-rich, we can afford to maintain the social benefits we need for a healthy society, and then we can focus our energies on solving the real problems of poor money management and laziness in constructive, rather than destructive, ways.
    Paulodapotter
    19th Feb 2016
    1:17pm
    gree with you almost totally Rainey. When Mike Butler refers to the "bludgers or squanderers" he, in fact, is talking about a very small percentage of people. Generalisations are a very poor means of forming policies, but politicians often site monority situations and dress them up as the norm. It's very effective in moving the mob onside, but it leads to very poor decisionmaking and policy.

    As soon as it's suggested the well off pay more, some begin to scream "Stop bashing the rich!" However, most of the well off in this country would willingly pay more if it could be shown that the country as a whole would be well off. However, their voices of reason are often drowned out by those who are simply selfish, greedy and paranoic about protecting their golden eggs.

    19th Feb 2016
    8:00am
    I am seeing a lot of emotion here, and a fundamental disconnect in the way people respond to the article. On the one hand, we have battlers aggressively protesting the obscene generosity of superannuation tax concessions, and on the other hand we have people (predominantly the well-off, I suspect) aggressively defending the rich and claiming they earned it, and accusing others of misplaced envy and hatred.

    I don't think whether or not someone earned their wealth is relevant. I, personally, have NEVER found a truly ''self-made man''. In every case I've studied, the rich have had a strong leg-up from somewhere. Nothing wrong with that. But I think it would be nice if people stopped for a minute and considered just how hard it can be for those who suffer genuine disadvantage. The lack of opportunity, or just deprivation of the foundation love and guidance that builds ability to make good choices, can be every bit as crippling as major physical disability.

    The issue here is WHO GETS TAXPAYER DOLLARS. It's not about taking anything away from the rich that they need or even that gives them substantial benefit. Nobody needs $900,000 in retirement, and nobody can productively use $15 million. A few million more will do nothing other than boost an already inflated ego! A few million less won't even be noticed, really, but would do a great deal for society and the economy.

    Our current approach to economic malaise is to bash the disadvantaged. Yes, many of them (possibly the vast majority) are disadvantage through laziness, poor money management, excess indulgence in earlier life, etc. That's a fact. So what's the solution? Give more to the very, very rich and bash the rest? I don't think so! As one who overcame horrific disadvantage, I could tell the government how to deal with apparent laziness (it actually isn't in most cases, if you understand those you are branding correctly) and the spendthrift mentality in a constructive and healthy way, but it would take a change of social attitude. It would require people to stop judging and start showing the empathy and compassion that one arrogant poster here claimed would ''do more harm''. What BS! And it would require people to stop seeing throwing money at problems as the solution and start examining how those disadvantaged who overcame their problems succeeded - looking at the real solutions for lifting people up from hardship or foolishness.

    We need a return to the values that made this country prosperous. I think the solution is to tax the rich fairly and push a strong message that people should be proud to pay their way in society and that it's best for everyone if we maintain a strong social welfare system. It reduces family breakups, ill-health, crime, and unemployment. It strengthens the capacity of parents and teachers and other leaders to encourage enterprise and honesty and integrity and sensible money management.

    Our current approach isn't working. Giving millions in tax concessions to mega millionaires isn't helping the national debt. It isn't driving economic growth. It isn't improving the health of society. So why continue it?

    It's NOT about bashing the rich or trying to pull them down. Neither SHOULD it be about reducing the lifestyle of those who worked hard and made it to a comfortable standard in retirement. We CAN and SHOULD leave the modestly well off well alone.

    But I note that the same people who aggressively defend multi-million dollar tax concessions to the wealthy favoured taking a tiny pension benefit from hard working battlers who almost made it to self-sufficiency in retirement, and would have but for collapsing investment returns,.

    The people who are screaming DON'T TOUCH THE FILTHY RICH. THEY ARE WONDERFUL are the very SAME people who screamed STOP PAYING PENSIONS TO ''MILLIONAIRES'' claiming people who couldn't quite make self-sufficiency, despite a lifetime of hard work, should live on $25,000 a year in retirement and have nothing to leave to their children. They are even the same people who supported taking houses off battlers who need a little help from society in their old age!

    Why is it so laudable to be fabulously successful, and so damning to work extremely hard but not quite make your goal?

    The policy I see some here promote (and the current government pursue) is feed the greedy rich, throw pathetic crumbs to the genuinely disadvantage grudgingly, and slam everyone else and condemn them to hardship as punishment for trying hard but not quite achieving the lauded goal.

    It's NOT about hating the wealthy. It's NOT about wanting to tear the rich down or kill incentives or remove rewards for doing brilliantly and inspiring others (hopefully!).

    It's about creating a society in which hard work and clean living is sensibly encouraged and rewarded, the genuinely disadvantaged are constructively and charitably helped and afforded a decent living standard, and there is a BALANCE that promotes growth and social health.

    Frankly, my kids are questioning why they work. They are university educated, earn moderately good incomes, are paying of (or own) very nice homes, pay substantial taxes, and save to educate their kids well and for their own retirement. They were raised with ethics and integrity. But they see older Australians being attacked, having pensions taken because they saved a little, being threatened with the loss of their homes. They see our public health and education system being dismantled. And then they see tax concessions in the millions to the super-rich, and their response is ''What the hell am I working for? To give millions to mega-millionaires and see retired nurses, policemen, road workers, firemen, cleaners - many of whom sacrificed their health in dangerous and unhealthy jobs - being attacked and denied a comfortable retirement. To see disabled people denied support. To see the sick left destitute. All so we can make mega-millionaires into mega-billionaires by not taxing them.''

    Think about it before you shout ''hate, envy''. Maybe there's good cause for resentment. Sure, most of us could have done a little better. Most of us made some mistakes along the way. But people do. Judging and condemning is far worse than envy, I'm sorry to say. Give me the envious any day ahead of an arrogant, judgmental person who is quick to blame, condemn and demand punishment for everyone they PERCEIVE might be partly responsible for their own difficulties.
    FM
    19th Feb 2016
    10:14am
    Not sure where this nonsense came from. There are modest enough limits to how much money can be contributed to super at a concessional rate in any one year and to the amount of money that can be held in a super account. Contributions to most old funds of the type Mr Argus may be in were made from after tax income. Even though the limits are modest enough it is unlikely that anyone could reach those limits for the whole of their working lives. Regardless of the position people ultimately finish up in, they usually start out on 'beginners' wages. There has to be a presumption of stupidity here. Perhaps the writer hopes the readers are stupid enough to swallow this and he can make a case for extra taxes on retirees to fund tax cuts for high income earners based on total hysteria and misinformation, or....
    Anonymous
    19th Feb 2016
    10:24am
    The facts being presented by both sides of politics and a large number of economic advisory groups don't support your statements at all, FM. There is copious data out there evidencing that superannuation tax concessions are heavily favouring the wealthiest 20% and are costing the country far more than the aged pension.
    That needs to STOP. I agree there are limits, but there are no limits on concessions on earnings in the fund or on concessions on earnings in retirement that generate tax-free pensions.

    I do, however, agree that we should not be increasing taxes on retirees to fund tax cuts for high income earners. What we should be doing is cracking down heavily on ALL high income earners (whether they have big super funds or not) and companies and ensuring that EVERYONE pays their fare share of tax, and we should be restoring the social fabric that held us in good stead for decades - not blaming the less well off for economic problems and demanding they sacrifice basics while the rich wallow in obscene luxury and keep asking for more.
    Wstaton
    19th Feb 2016
    11:02am
    I always thought that there was a limit that could be put into superannuation funds but does that include the self managed funds.

    Is this the way out for the richer of us to bypass this.

    I dunno.
    Paulodapotter
    19th Feb 2016
    1:24pm
    I think everyone agrees that money should not be wasted on tax breaks for those who don't need it. Tax breaks for those who are building businesses are a good thing. I think everyone agrees that negative gearing on multiple dwellings is a waste of tax payers money. It seems everyone agrees that the Buffett rule or something similar should be applied to multinationals that ply their trade in our country. We have yet to see any of these things applied by the present government and I doubt we will. They will not bite the hand that feeds them.
    niemakawa
    19th Feb 2016
    6:05pm
    I agree with you. Many posters here are green with envy and want a slice of the cake that they did not help bake. There are a very very small number of real "needy". Others have wasted their money over a period of time, never considered saving for their retirement. That is their choice of course, but they then cry poor at a crucial time of their lives and expect others to support them. Tough luck, people need to make sensible decisions and start learning how to control their wasteful spending habits.
    Adrianus
    19th Feb 2016
    6:27pm
    Yes Paulo is right. There should be no wasteful spending on those who don't need it.
    I say stop the welfare to those who don't need it!
    CindyLou
    19th Feb 2016
    10:47pm
    Wstation...in response to question about SMSF contributions etc., the limits to contributions are no different to industry etc superannuation funds - as per ATO rules.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    9:32am
    ''Many posters here are green with envy and want a slice of the cake that they did not help bake.''

    Sorry, niemakawa, that's UTTER CRAP. They want a fair slice of the cake THEY DID HELP BAKE and that couldn't have been baked without their contribution. Sure, SOME are struggling because of wasting money or being lazy. But a great many are suffering DESPITE having worked extremely hard and being very frugal. The problem isn't people not making ''sensible decisions'', it's the economy collapsing and investment returns crashing to leave people who SHOULD be very well off struggling, while the rich are taking far more than their fair share through unfair tax concessions.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    10:28am
    Yes, someone else is to blame niemakawa! We no longer accept responsibility for our own actions. This is the new world order.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    2:50pm
    That's right, Frank. The less well off are responsible for propping up the country while the rich use every rort in the book to avoid their responsibility to pay for the resources they use to make their obscene profits. New world order = privileged scream and kick if asked to pay their way; government indulges them because it buys them votes.
    FM
    19th Feb 2016
    9:52pm
    The current contribution cap (2015–16) is limited to $30,000 at the Concessional Tax rate. This includes the employer’s contribution.

    Amounts contributed over $30,000 are added to your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate.

    The Limit rises to $35,000 if turning 50 years old or older in 2015–16.

    Amounts over $35,000 are added to your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax
    Rate.

    Non concessional fully taxed amounts can currently be contributed up to $180,000.
    If you go over that amount your excess contributions will be included in your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate plus an interest charge called the excess concessional contributions (ECC) charge 49%.
    You can bring forward three years’ worth of non-concessional contributions at age 64.
    About ten years ago contribution caps were about $15,000 and lower. A person currently retired would be struggling to accumulate $500,000 from contributions made at a concessional rate if in a position to contribute the maximum amount each year.
    They could top that up their balances with the non concessional cap which they may be able to do if they sold a property or were very high income earners. There was no incentive to do that until people approached retirement as the money in the fund was locked away and fund earnings were not very attractive. Again the non concessional amount that could be contributed was lower in past years at one time $50,000. Twenty years of making concessional and non concessional contributions by those on super high salaries like Mr Argus might bring a super balance up close to 2 million dollars. It would not come to anything like $15,000,000.
    $1,000,000 in a super fund would earn about $30,000 on current rates of return, little more than the pension.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    8:39am
    There have been (not sure if there still are) special provisions that allowed large lump-sum contributions. I know of one person who put $500,000 USD into super and paid $0 tax on it after selling intellectual property. Another I know dropped a huge lump sum in tax free after selling a business.
    Many who dumped in large sums decades ago would have enjoyed very high rates of return over certain periods, all at concessional rates.
    The current limits don't go far enough. There should be a lifetime cap with no exclusions. And incomes over a very generous threshold should be taxed at the marginal rate - both income to the fund in accumulation phase and pension income in retirement, though I stress AFTER A VERY GENEROUS THRESHOLD. The aim should be to ensure the very rich pay their share, NOT to remove incentives and rewards and certainly not to reduce the lifestyles of those on modest incomes who have earned a very comfortable standard of living.
    Happy Jack
    20th Feb 2016
    5:30am
    The poor old LIEberal party is stuffed- yeh, the old girls well and truly stuck between a rock (the hard nosed conservatives) and a hard place ( the tumbles Turntable progressives ) with nowhere to go. Tumbles owes his elevation to the Prime ministership soley because the party realised they were unelectable under the leadership of the mad abbott and being devoid of leadership material amongst thier far right conservative ranks.turned to tumbles in sheer desperation. The stagnate quagmire we are witnessing now results from a conflict of ideologies within the LIEberal party which has led to Tumbles renouncing his most precious ideals and political beliefs. He is a prisoner of the conservaives who put him there to save thier own necks. Well, the chickens have come home to roost. IT WOULD BE FAIR TO ASK- IS HE IN THE RIGHT PARTY?
    Happy Jack
    20th Feb 2016
    8:36am
    FM, you forgot to mention that earning's in the accumualation phase are taxed at 15% whether they are derived from concessional or non concessional contributions. This is were the tax is dodged, eg- someone in the highest tax bracket has earnings in the fund of $100,000 it would be taxed $15,000 compared to $47,000 tax on interest earned if they had banked the income rather than pay it into super. Fair enough, I say, for this tax break for the accumualation of wealth to enjoy a very comfortable retirement, even boardering on the opulent, but to allow it to be used as a means of amassing a huge amount of wealth that the retiree would never spend is a disgrace. For every dollar lost in tax revenue someone on a pension below the poverty line msses out on additional assistance. I SAY, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Let's get fairness into retirement polices.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    9:27am
    Well said, Happy Jack. Nice to see someone telling it like it is, without emotion.
    Happy Jack
    20th Feb 2016
    8:42am
    You are right Framk when you say stop the welfare to those that don't deserve it. Refer to my previous atricle to find out who we can start with.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    8:53am
    Happy those are your words not mine. I say stop the welfare to those who don't NEED it. Big difference. I am too intelligent to be dragged into this class warfare nonsense. Stand on your own four feet and think for yourself Happy Jack.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    9:35am
    Trouble is, Happy Jack and Frank, you CAN'T stop the welfare to those who don't need it without crucifying those who do. Every system that has benefits also has drawbacks. The drawback to a healthy social system is that SOME people will take unfair advantage. We have to live with that to a degree. We can do better identifying the cheats, and we absolutely should try, but we won't save much by attacking welfare without hurting the genuinely needy badly (which is happening now). On the other hand, we have plenty of scope to tax the rich fairly without hurting anyone, and it would help the nation and everyone in it.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    10:25am
    Government waste and increased welfare to those who don't need it fosters tax minimisation strategies.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    1:11pm
    No Frank. Greed fosters tax minimization strategies. Greed and contempt. Seeing plenty of that here.
    Happy Jack
    20th Feb 2016
    11:25am
    Frank, "NEED IT or DESERVE IT" your'e playinng with words, again. I am referring to the those on middle and upper incomes (forget the class crap, your words, not mine) who are on the receiving end of the generosity of the Howard /Costello governments in bestowing tax lurks and lifting the pension means testing thresholds. Now Tumbles Turntable is put in the insidious position of having to take back these lurks and perks which were only ever granted to ensure the re election of th Howard governments. The electorate has already demonstrated that they will not have pensioners bearing the brunt of cut backs whilst middle and upper class income earners expect not to be affected. Just ask your mates the mad abbott and his off sider Joker Joe. You may recall that in his departing parlaughmentary speech Hockey gave this advice- "abolish negative gearing" pity he didn't have the guts to do it when he was treasurer. Now poor old Tumbles is left in the lurch. What a dilemma.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    12:03pm
    I imagine there would be quite a few reducing taxable income in order to maximise welfare. This could be why those on average incomes or lower are the majority of users of negative gearing.
    One side wants to tinker with tax and increase welfare, the other side wants to have a restructure, a complete change for the better.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    1:09pm
    Wrong,Frank. The majority using negative gearing are NOT on average or lower incomes. The majority have a TAXED income of $80,000, which means, by definition, that they are HIGH income earners, because that amount is their income AFTER all the tax minimization rorts.

    The other side doesn't want a complete ''change for the better''. It wants to destroy society to benefit the rich.
    Adrianus
    20th Feb 2016
    2:22pm
    Rainey, facts are facts.

    The average wage is $76,000 close enough to the $80,000 margin.
    How can the average be considered High????

    And NO Rainey, it is not taxed income as you put it is TAXABLE INCOME.

    72.3% of negatively geared investors have an income below $80,000.
    I didn't make this up Rainey. This is from an ATO report. Everyone seems to be aware of this but you??
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    4:53pm
    The figure refers to TAXABLE income, Frank. You seem to be a little lacking in comprehension. That's DECLARED income AFTER all the deductions. So if someone is able to claim $60,000 in deductions for negatively geared property, then declare they receive the ''average'' wage of $80,000, their income is actually $140,000 p.a. Of course it's probably a lot more because they will have other deductions as well.

    Additionally, it is often one partner who owns the negatively geared property, and there's no indication of the other partner's income. Or it may be a family trust or company that claims the losses and monies are distributed to other family members before the taxable income is declared.

    Anyone who reads correctly and doesn't try to rely on distorted claims to justify their invalid argument will understand that the figure the ATO is quoting is TAXABLE income, and therefore DOESN'T INCLUDE the income that is offset by negative gearing and other tax minimization devices.

    According to the latest available ABS data, which is for 2013-14, 72% of investment property assets are owned by, and 52% of investment property debt is owed by, households in the top 20% (ie the richest one-fifth) of the household wealth distribution.

    I seriously doubt that the top 20% of households earn only $80,000 a year, Frank!
    FM
    20th Feb 2016
    11:55am
    Rainey, There is a provision for bringing forward three years of non concessional contributions at 64 which would allow someone to contribute up to $500 000 in that year but would exclude them from making any further contributions for three years. The amount lodged is fully taxed. The person you are referring to appears to have earned the money in the US and would be taxed according to US law. Whether any additional taxes were due in Australia would depend on residency for that year. There were no tax reductions made because the money was contributed to superannuation. Significant amounts of fund earnings are consumed in fees and payments to the fund managers which is a significant reason for the tax concessions. They take money even when funds have major losses as has been the case since 2007. Many people have lost up to 50% of what they had contributed to their super funds. They have only enough left to support them for a few years. Eventually the bulk of retirees will be on the pension unless they die relatively quickly. How is the government going to cope with that? Sometimes we insist on believing in fairy tales which makes it easy for those who want to play wedge politics.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    1:17pm
    The person I refer to DID NOT earn the money in the US, FM. It was earned in Australia and it WAS tax free because it was contributed to superannuation. No less than eight accountants were consulted before one very expensive one found the legislation that allowed it.

    Yes, lots of fund earnings have been eaten up. But that's NOT the reason for tax concessions, because if it were (unless legislators are total idiots) the concessions wouldn't be higher for high income earners and of zero benefit for low income earners. I know people who got bills from their superfund for fees because their employer funded super was too little to cover them. THEY DO NOT get tax concessions on their super contributions. Some actually pay MORE tax than if it didn't go to super.

    It's true most will retire on a pension unless they die quickly, and the recent taper rate change made that situation more likely to eventuate, because it's forcing people to drain their savings prematurely, when a small, temporary benefit might mean that if investment returns recover, they will be fully self-sufficient.

    If we stop giving too much to the very rich and start giving a little more to battlers, we might actually encourage people to work and save more. As it stands, we are destroying the work/save/invest mentality.
    Happy Jack
    20th Feb 2016
    3:21pm
    You are dead right there Rainey- Moaning Morrie whose lips move faster than a blowfly around a horses arse along with the business council and others with vested interests are trying to make out that the gross income of most negative gearer's is 80 thousand. This is a lie from a lying LIEberal government who are trying to hold back the force that are about to overwhelm them. people have had enough and are fully aware that taxable income is net income after all allowances, concessions, rebates, and all the other lurks and perks including negative gearing comes off the gross income. In reality, the gross income from employment or business could be 100 to 200 hundred grand all depending on the investments. and while we are here, how many homes has Frank got geared? he's certainly sticking up for leeches living off the rest of us.
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    5:00pm
    The ABS says 72% of investment property and 52% of investment property debt is owned by the wealthiest 20% of households.

    I seriously doubt that most of the wealthiest 20% in this country are only earning $80K a year!!!!!

    Yes, Happy Jack, it appears Frank is benefiting handsomely from tax concessions that the majority want abolished. He's sure aggressive in defending these unfair concessions and the leeches who benefit from them.

    20th Feb 2016
    4:57pm
    Gotta love this quote! Says it all:

    ''If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers, we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats, we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.''
    Anonymous
    20th Feb 2016
    6:41pm
    another rainy day at the jackass stable
    Happy Jack
    20th Feb 2016
    7:16pm
    Germsjerk69! a little lesson for today- see if you can take it in: The first letter in the first word in a sentence should start with a capital or what's commonly known as upper case. The last letter of a sentence should be followed by a full stop.
    For example: another rainy day at the jackass stable should read; Another rainy day at the jackass stable.
    Perhaps if you did 500 lines of homework it might sink in. But I doubt it.
    Anonymous
    21st Feb 2016
    7:27am
    If he'd ever done 500 lines of homework, he would have a little more common sense and be able to see that the comment was valid, Happy Jack. He would understand that allowing a few to pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish an entire nation is destructive to society, and will eventually result in the downfall of the entire nation - INCLUDING the cash hoarder!
    FM
    20th Feb 2016
    7:45pm
    Hi Rainey, You cannot contribute ANY money to superannuation without paying tax on it. There is a concessional rate on the first $30,000, after that the money contributed has to have all due taxes on it paid. Check that out on a superannuation website or on the tax website or ask any accountant. The money your friend contributed would not have been liable for any further tax whether or not he contributed it to superannuation.
    Anonymous
    21st Feb 2016
    7:36am
    Sorry, FM, that's NOT correct. There were, at the time (and possibly still are) special provisions for particular situations like, for example, sale of a small business where the proceeds were contributed to superannuation to provide retirement benefits.

    Interestingly, it took consultation with 8 accountants to find the special provision that was used, and the accountant who found it charged high rates. The other 7 incorrectly insisted there was no recourse from losing up to 40% of the lump sum payment in tax. Shows how complex and seriously misunderstood our tax laws are.
    Adrianus
    21st Feb 2016
    8:31am
    Rainey I find your claim ridiculous. 7 out of 8 accountants don't know about capital gains tax minimisation by rolling over a particular component within the proceeds of a business sale.
    Are these 7 qualified accountants?
    Anonymous
    21st Feb 2016
    7:34pm
    It's not ridiculous, Frank. It happened. But who knows if they KNEW about it, or if they just had a sinister reason for not wanting to disclose the knowledge. I don't know. But they were certainly qualified.

    That said, I've seen some pretty dumb accountants in my time. One recently was asked to handle a claim for a widow who had been wrongly deprived of 7 years' of Comsuper pension and received it all in a lump sum, but with a huge whack of tax deducted. ATO advised lodging 7 years' back returns would result in a 100% refund, but accountant wrote up ONE return declaring the entire back payment as income for that year and then advised that there was yet more tax owing!

    Another recently managed to add a disabled pensioner's superannuation fund's capital gain to his pension income for the year, declaring that ''it was necessary to get the figures to balance''. Well, it probably was, since he'd managed to artificially inflate the fund's income by $74,000 somehow. Then he ''forgot'' to apply the tax concession on fund earnings for a member in pension phase, creating a $3500 tax bill instead of a $300 tax credit. Took a client 12 hours to correct the accountant's errors.

    Really, Frank, plenty of them are very inept, which is one of the reasons why I get thoroughly tired of these BS ''they earned it'' arguments. Half the population DON'T earn their money, and the other half earn far more than they could ever hope to be paid. Many, if given half an opportunity, would achieve great things, but are stuck in a rut by lack of fancy pieces of paper that CLAIM they are qualified. And a great many actually cost others bucket loads of money with stupid errors, yet manage to hang on to high paid positions. I know of an engineer whose planning error and lies to cover it cost someone $180,000. When the error was exposed, he was promoted!
    Happy Jack
    21st Feb 2016
    11:41am
    FM! it would be nice to know what the concessional tax rate is for that first 30 grand is. Can you enlighten me?.
    I know that the 15% rate on earnings for super in the accumulation phase is a great little lurk and it get's even better in the pension phase when no tax is payable whatsoever. Better than money in the bank, I'd reckon, were if you'd "flogged your guts all those years to amass a nice tidy little sum" a 47% tax would be imposed. Doesn't get any better than 47% as opposed to 0%, I'm sure you'd agree. As spending such a large sum is out of the question there's no better way I can think of to build up the kids inheritance.
    Wstaton
    21st Feb 2016
    12:07pm
    The way I see it is that super is income the same as any other and should be treated as such. Here we are saying pensioners are getting money free but aren,t the superaniants also getting money for free by not paying tax an income in a lot of cases vastly greater than the cost of paying a pension.

    Let's level the playing field. Super income when retired should be tax free up to the amount that is the pension of the day. Anything over that amount should be taxed at the going progressive rate of tax.

    That would fix the problem and Still encourage super savings . This then would still catch any of the super rich rorting the system as the guy with $900k would soon reach the top tax rate. Maybe this would be to easy.
    Rodent
    21st Feb 2016
    4:02pm
    To Frank , and Rainey

    Have you read this link, if no then please do so, if yes why not quote this RBA version
    http://www.afr.com/news/politics/negative-gearing-four-graphs-that-show-it-is-mostly-for-the-rich-20160214-gmu2vu
    Adrianus
    21st Feb 2016
    4:17pm
    Thanks anyway Rodent but I cant afford to subscribe to afr anymore.
    Anonymous
    21st Feb 2016
    7:22pm
    I might if I could read it, Rodent. Since it flicks on for an instant and then asks for payment, I can't.
    Wstaton
    21st Feb 2016
    9:08pm
    Try this guys.

    http://www.scoopnest.com/out/?url=https://t.co/4aj5Wx40vt&id=699036484486049792
    Rodent
    21st Feb 2016
    4:36pm
    Frank

    Sorry I was hoping people may be able to access the article directly , without being a Subscriber to AFR, I can perhaps try google
    Adrianus
    21st Feb 2016
    5:04pm
    Yes thanks Rodent, don't know why I didn't think of that. I have seen this AFR article and Winestock quotes the ATO and RBA like everyone else.
    When Goeff Winestock quotes the RBA as saying, "People in the top 40 percent by gross income hold almost 80 percent of investor housing debt."
    It sounds an impressive argument, but when you consider that a diagram of income levels is like looking at a pyramid. There are very few at the pointy end and a massive number at the base. That "top 40 %" has at it's low end many wage levels below the average wage of just under $80k.
    Someone like Zenophon who has 12 houses and a taxable income way above $180k would be typical at the pointy end.
    Let's not forget that 76% of investors only have the one property.

    I don't know what the answer is but I do know that creating an unfair advantage for those who currently have this type of financial arrangement is wrong.
    The Unions want to allow existing investors to continue while closing out new investors to existing properties.
    If Turnbull is right, and we will only know in hindsight, about prices tumbling then those who are stuck with non performing, hard to sell properties will get burnt. Now they would mostly be the 76% and lower on the food chain. These investors have been running at a loss in the hope for some capital gain which may not be there if Labor grab office and keep their promise.

    Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/politics/negative-gearing-four-graphs-that-show-it-is-mostly-for-the-rich-20160214-gmu2vu#ixzz40mKG0wx5
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

    21st Feb 2016
    6:09pm
    It's okay, folks. Dim-witted LIEberal party have a solution. Leave the concessions for the rich alone but let the low paid forego super completely and take a 9.5% pay rise. Then they can't complain that they aren't getting the same tax benefit on super, because they won't have any super.

    Whoops! What was that about wanting people to save for retirement. Oh, not to worry about that. With an extra 9.5% wages, the low paid can buy a house that the government can then make them reverse mortgage on retirement because by then there will be no pensions - just a loan scheme that leaves battlers with NOTHING to show for a lifetime of hard work.

    At precisely what point will the workers of this country stop, down tools and say ''Up yours bastards. No reward - no work!". It HAS to come soon.
    Happy Jack
    21st Feb 2016
    8:16pm
    Frank, I'm still waiting for your response to my request concerning the concessional tax rate on the first $30,000 contributed to super! do you know or not?
    Adrianus
    21st Feb 2016
    10:08pm
    Sorry Happy. What did you ask me? Point me to your question?
    FM
    21st Feb 2016
    10:53pm
    Yes Rainey, you are talking about capital gains tax. It is possible to roll up to $500,000 from the sale of assets over into superannuation. Much of this is most likely capital and can include some capital gain that will receive a tax exemption.
    If the business has been held for 15 years or more there is a higher threshold on what can be rolled over.
    Happy Jack
    21st Feb 2016
    11:49pm
    Sorry Frank, that question was meant for FM
    Rodent
    22nd Feb 2016
    7:07am
    Rainey, Frank and others

    Sorry all but this is about Negative gearing, CGT, its from the Grattan Institute, and its interesting

    https://grattan.edu.au/news/three-myths-on-negative-gearing-the-housing-industry-wants-you-to-believe/
    Anonymous
    22nd Feb 2016
    8:20am
    Thanks Rodent. Backs up what I've been saying. Negative gearing benefits high income earners primarily. Most lower income earners can't afford to buy investment property. They are struggling just to pay off their own home!

    Now, I am well aware there are exceptions. There's one in my family. They WERE high income earners until a crisis smashed their income, and now they are struggling with a massive mortgage and huge losses on investment property. But they are the exception. Every policy change will hurt some, sadly. Labor is grandfathering to avoid hurting existing property owners. Sad that the LNP didn't show the same respect for people whose retirement plans had already been destroyed by falling investment returns and who are now cut off from any pension despite earning HALF what their pensioner friends collect!
    Anonymous
    22nd Feb 2016
    8:27am
    Well, of course we have to be ''fair'', don't we? We have to save a piddling little bit by cutting pensions to battlers who saved so we can keep giving $50+ billion (by 2016-7) in superannuation tax concessions to high income earners.

    It's all about ''fairness''. It's ''fair'' to give bucket-loads to the rich, a little more to those who saved only a few hundred thousand, no extra to the really needy, and to take $15,000+ away from battlers who committed the cardinal sin of saving a little more than most - but not enough to generate a decent retirement income. And some people here agree with that logic! Mind boggling!
    Happy Jack
    22nd Feb 2016
    9:13am
    Just ,istening to Alan Jones on 2gb trying to defend negative gearing on housing. He uses an analogy where BHP offset, through negative gearing, the costs involved in running one mine against another. Well; that's the mindset behind the rational of these people- " housing in this country should be a means of acquiring wealth". He goes onto to say that "without negative gearing housing would be more expensive because of fewer houses". This ignores the reality that without negative gearing buyers in the market, demand drops and therefore prices drop or at least don't keep rising at rates far in excess of inflation. The argument may make some senss when applied to building of new housing, although I doubt it. If these easy dollar chasers want to make an unearned quick buck let them invest in the likes of BHP or seeing as they, as they claim, are so entrepreneuria, start up their own business. Let's make housing affordable more Australians, not establish a class of landlords.
    Happy Jack
    22nd Feb 2016
    9:13am
    Just ,istening to Alan Jones on 2gb trying to defend negative gearing on housing. He uses an analogy where BHP offset, through negative gearing, the costs involved in running one mine against another. Well; that's the mindset behind the rational of these people- " housing in this country should be a means of acquiring wealth". He goes onto to say that "without negative gearing housing would be more expensive because of fewer houses". This ignores the reality that without negative gearing buyers in the market, demand drops and therefore prices drop or at least don't keep rising at rates far in excess of inflation. The argument may make some senss when applied to building of new housing, although I doubt it. If these easy dollar chasers want to make an unearned quick buck let them invest in the likes of BHP or seeing as they, as they claim, are so entrepreneuria, start up their own business. Let's make housing affordable more Australians, not establish a class of landlords.
    Rodent
    22nd Feb 2016
    3:25pm
    Apologies all

    Just one more GOOD Neg Gearing article to read. Best of all look at the data points
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2016/feb/22/scott-morrisons-response-to-labors-negative-gearing-plan-is-truly-disturbing
    Happy Jack
    24th Feb 2016
    10:35pm
    How many houses do these flasher's have negative geared ? coming out like bleating lambs being castrated defending the indefensible. One need only look at the registrar to find that they are all on the take. Not one of them could give two hoots as to how affordable housing is for young Australians trying to raise a family and save for a deposit yet alone pay off a housing loan. As a matter of fact; the harder it is the better it is as this forces rents up and so compounds the problem. Well! Ozzie's have had enough, along with a guts full this negative gearing. Bill Shorten is on a sure thing on this one that's really ringing a bell with the electorate. The odd thing is; even Tumbles Turnbull seems to be a decent enough person to sound hollow in his defence of this rip off that's destroying the chances of young Australians owing their home. BOB MENZIES WOULD TURN OVER IN HIS GRAVE IF HE COULD SEE WHAT'S GOING ON HERE.
    ex PS
    25th Feb 2016
    11:25am
    Happy Jack, until recently I would have empathised with young people who can't get affordable housing.
    I recently put an affordable house on the market at a fair price for the area that it was in. There was public transport running past the house , ten minute walk to the train station, schools within walking distance a large Shopping Centre less than ten minutes by car down the road and it was a 40 minute drive from the Brisbane city area.
    It was an ex rental so I had repainted the interior and done some renevations to the bathroom.
    After the first month I asked the Agent for feedback as to who was looking at the house. I was told that first home buyers were not looking for Three bedroom brick houses with only one bathroom and no Theatre Room.
    All sympathy for the poor first home buyer trying to get into the market immediatley drained from my mind.
    My wife and I are now living in the house of our dreams, but it is the fourth house that we have mortgaged.
    We worked for our home by buying an unfinished house doing it up and selling it to buy something a little better, we repaeted the process until we could afford what we wanted.
    Know it seems that young people want the dream home first up and feel that it is not fair that they have to settle for anything else and want the government to solve the problem that doesn't really exist for them.
    And by the way we never negative geared our rental because we owned it and our rent was based on the prescribed percentage of the value of the property. The only tax concessions we applied were the constant repairs required because of rough handling by the renters, repairs that were always done as quickly as possible.
    ex PS
    25th Feb 2016
    11:25am
    Happy Jack, until recently I would have empathised with young people who can't get affordable housing.
    I recently put an affordable house on the market at a fair price for the area that it was in. There was public transport running past the house , ten minute walk to the train station, schools within walking distance a large Shopping Centre less than ten minutes by car down the road and it was a 40 minute drive from the Brisbane city area.
    It was an ex rental so I had repainted the interior and done some renevations to the bathroom.
    After the first month I asked the Agent for feedback as to who was looking at the house. I was told that first home buyers were not looking for Three bedroom brick houses with only one bathroom and no Theatre Room.
    All sympathy for the poor first home buyer trying to get into the market immediatley drained from my mind.
    My wife and I are now living in the house of our dreams, but it is the fourth house that we have mortgaged.
    We worked for our home by buying an unfinished house doing it up and selling it to buy something a little better, we repaeted the process until we could afford what we wanted.
    Know it seems that young people want the dream home first up and feel that it is not fair that they have to settle for anything else and want the government to solve the problem that doesn't really exist for them.
    And by the way we never negative geared our rental because we owned it and our rent was based on the prescribed percentage of the value of the property. The only tax concessions we applied were the constant repairs required because of rough handling by the renters, repairs that were always done as quickly as possible.
    Wstaton
    25th Feb 2016
    1:13pm
    Much the same these day you professionals finishing uni and expecting a job at CEO rates