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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

2-May-2014 Retirement Age likely to rise to 70

Friday 2 May 2014 Leave a comment

Today as part of the Federal Budget, the treasurer Joe Hockey announced that for people born after 1965 the retirement age will be raised to 70. This is disappointing on a number of fronts. Mainly as I am born in 1966. Of course being a member of Generation X I had no expectation of anything less – all good things that came before us, free education, secure jobs, free health care, age pensions etc are gradually being whittled away before we get there.

I have no expectation that even when I get to 70 that I will get any aged pension, it will be means tested and anyone over the bare minimum will get nothing.

However even the cushiest jobs, like mine, sitting in an office reading and sending emails, is a big ask for a 70 year old, but anything more manual will be pretty much impossible.

Shame on you Joe Hockey, liberals, Tony Abbott etc. Do I think the other mob will be any better – no not at all. A Pox on all politicians. Can we afford any more wars ? no worries!!!!

Announcement here:

Australians born after 1965 will have to work until they are 70 before they are eligible for the age pension, Treasurer Joe Hockey has announced, as he warned there was “no such thing” as a free visit to a doctor or free welfare.
Mr Hockey confirmed on Friday that while nobody currently on the pension would be hit by a rise in the pension age, the Abbott government would raise the retirement age in coming years.

In what is expected to be his final major speech before handing down his first federal budget on May 13, Mr Hockey said the Coalition would deliver a document that is “not going to be an austerity budget, but it is going to be a prudent budget” which would prepare Australia for the demographic challenges posed by an ageing population.
“What we are going to do is to deliver a fairer system for the aged pension that is going to focus on the sustainability of the system with a reasonable quality of life. The aged pension expenditure today is currently more than we spend on defence,” he said.

“It’s rising to $72 billion rapidly, that’s over 6 per cent growth. One of the reasons why is because we’re ageing … but the pension kicks in currently at 65. When Labor increased it to 67 by 2023 we gave them bipartisan support. When we introduce legislation to increase it to 70 by July 2035, … we expect that there will be bipartisan support. The aged pension needs to be a safety net by 2035, not a cargo net.”

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4-Nov-2013 Talking ’bout a revolution

Monday 4 November 2013 1 comment

I saw an interesting video yesterday from the UK interviewing Russell Brand. It’s only 10mins so well worth watching. He was talking about the need for the current political system to change as it’s just not working ie greater wage inequity, just for starters. I actually read about the interview a few days back: In calling for revolution, this half-messiah has hit a nerve

Brand was challenged by host Jeremy Paxman – you want a revolution to overthrow elected governments, but what sort of government would you replace it with? ”I don’t know,” replied Brand, grinning like a wildcat. ”But I’ll tell you what it shouldn’t do. It shouldn’t destroy the planet, it shouldn’t create massive political disparity, it shouldn’t ignore the needs of the people.”

The burden of proof is not with him, he argued. It is with those with power.

The article ends with:

Be that as it may, I suspect Russell Brand is somehow speaking to the future.

Which of course is dead right: we shouldn’t destroy the planet, we shouldn’t create massive political disparity, we shouldn’t ignore the needs of the people.

I am not really political but sometimes we need to boil it down to it’s essence.

What has this got to do with us here in Australia ? well this was in the papers today and it makes me boil with rage : The lucky country? Try selfish and deluded, too – Cutting $4.5b from our foreign aid budget suggests we’re happy to live in a world of obscene disparities.

We think of ourselves as a generous people and many Australians are. But it’s a form of national psychosis when a rich, secure nation unblinkingly spends more on killing people than helping them.
In Afghanistan, our military spending has outweighed development aid by about seven to one. Now, after a deadly 12-year exercise in military hubris, Australia is withdrawing aid along with our troops. The overall aid budget will fall to 0.33 per cent of gross domestic product and the defence budget will rise to 2 per cent, in an increase 10 times as big as the aid cut.
This is an idea of security that erects defensive walls, Fortress Australia, rather than building bridges that defuse the triggers for conflict and hostility – poverty and extreme inequity. Helping others is not pure altruism if we make friends of people who might otherwise be resentful enemies.
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So how do super-fortunate people like us get so mean-spirited that we resent our money going into aid? When did ”charity” get a bad name?
It seems we can live with a world of obscene disparities, as long as we imagine our lives, careers and successes are all our own work. If others struggle, that’s their fault, their own mistakes, or lack of skills or work ethic.
We are kidding ourselves. I have never seen prosperous Australians work as long and hard as I have seen Africans toil just to survive. People living in rural Africa struggle for everything we take for granted. Fetching water and firewood can involve a long walk every day. Our essential services – running water, sanitation, power and healthcare – are unattainable luxuries.
Villagers get up before dawn and work until dark even when they are ill, which is often. Millions of Africans have to be resourceful (they make fine floors of polished dung), brave and resilient to survive in mud huts housing families with no visible means of support, save for some meagre crops and livestock if they’re lucky.

And so it goes…. all so sad.

Addendums:

6-Oct-2013 Wage Inequality

Sunday 6 October 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t normally talk politics, but I thought I would post a link to this, as it great food for thought and really makes you think “Is this the type of world I want to live in?”

I get the weekly “best of” email from The Elephant Journal and I like the catchphrase “independent media for mindful citizens” and this post was in this week’s one.

Anyway the post is called 7 Fun facts about the US economy :

1. “Of all developed nations, the United States has the most unequal distribution of income, and we’re surging towards even greater inequality.” (washingtonpost.com)

2. Graph: CEO vs worker pay 1940-2004

3. Greater inequality coincides with higher levels of crime, teen pregnancy, mental health issues, drug abuse, health problems, obesity & incarceration, along with lower standards of education, social mobility, life expectancy, community relations and feelings of safety.

4. Executives receive 1/3rd of all pay in the U.S.

5. CEO’s Who Lay Off Workers Get Paid More

6. CEOs earn 343 times more than typical workers

7. 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

You can say it’s about working harder or working smarter or who you know but to me it’s a lot closer to just plain theft.

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9-Aug-2013 Money – Scourge of the rich

Friday 9 August 2013 Leave a comment

There was a great great article in the Guardian a few weeks back that I only just read today. It’s written by George Monbiot one of the smartest journos around today (there is a lot of dross of course).

Why the politics of envy are keenest among the very rich

Snippet here:

Essential public services are cut in order that the wealthy may pay less tax. But even their baubles don’t make them happy.

But this mindless, meaningless accumulation cannot satisfy even its beneficiaries, except perhaps – and temporarily – the man wobbling on the very top of the pile.

The same applies to collective growth. Governments today have no vision but endless economic growth. They are judged not by the number of people in employment – let alone by the number of people in satisfying, pleasurable jobs – and not by the happiness of the population or the protection of the natural world. Job-free, world-eating growth is fine, as long as it’s growth. There are no ends any more, just means.

In their interesting but curiously incomplete book, How Much is Enough?, Robert and Edward Skidelsky note that “Capitalism rests precisely on this endless expansion of wants. That is why, for all its success, it remains so unloved. It has given us wealth beyond measure, but has taken away the chief benefit of wealth: the consciousness of having enough … The vanishing of all intrinsic ends leaves us with only two options: to be ahead or to be behind. Positional struggle is our fate.